Mercedes-Maybach S600, £167,000
Engine: 6.0-litre V12 petrol unit producing 523bhp and 612lb/ft
Seven-speed automatic driving all the rear wheels
Performance: Top speed 155mph, 0-62mph in 5.0 seconds
Economy: 24.1mpg combined
Emissions: 274g/km 
of CO2

THE Maybach name is back, and this time it means business. The old standalone Maybach was flawed from the very beginning, built as it was on a platform old enough to have been shared with the Ark. But what you see here isn’t a Maybach: it’s a Mercedes-Maybach.

It’s the new flagship Mercedes S-Class, built under a double-barrelled name that could, if consumer demand is there, mirror the Mercedes-AMG badge with multiple models atop various ranges. AMG cars are built for high-end luxury and giggles, but the Mercedes-Maybach is all about comfort and exceptional indulgence.

Looks and image It’s a long old thing, adding another 20cm between the wheels compared to the long-wheelbase S-Class. So no, it’s not short of legroom. The roof line is higher and stays that way for longer, the rear doors are a different length and there are small ‘double-M’ badges on the C-pillars.

The Force is strong with the finest S-Class, and always has been. Apparently customers wanted more exclusivity and even more of the stuff that makes the S-Class such a stalwart at the top of its class, so Mercedes has combined the famous badge with another one to form the new standard-bearer. Where the old Maybach had image problems, its spiritual successor has big-time pedigree – albeit in a less showy way.

Space and practicality Nit-pickers will note that part of the boot is taken up by the fridge unit, but being able to keep your champagne chilled is clearly far more important. To drink it there are two silver-plated champagne flutes in a fold-down tray between the two rear seats – but only if you specify the £7,200 First Class rear seat setup.

There’s enough legroom to allow your St Bernards to curl up at your feet, and they’ll be comforted by the standard luxury lamb’s wool floor mats that replicate an expensive living room feel. You’re actually meant to take your shoes off to appreciate it (and it’s totally worth it).

Behind the wheel To be frank, few owners will actually drive it themselves, but if they did they’d be astonished at how relentlessly fast it is thanks to a 530-horsepower V12 engine. Refinement and comfort in any seat is amazing, with the softest leathers and seats that, in the rear, can give you six different types of back or shoulder massage. Six! And don’t forget seven colours of ambient lighting, of course.

Heating, cooling and up to 43.5 degrees of backrest tilt are also rather nice, but it’s the leg rest that steals the show. Hold a button down and the front passenger seat moves forwards, the leg rest rises and you eventually find yourself as comfy as if you were in your own reclining armchair at home. Probably comfier. All the toys you’d expect on the King Among S-Classes are standard. Go forth and meddle.

Value for money When you look at what you get, £167,000 is a steal. Bear with me on this. The big double-M is built as well as a Bentley but has more technology and is arguably even better to drive. The only thing it lacks is the statement-making looks of a Rolls-Royce, but not everyone wants those.

Who would buy one?

Media moguls, Mafia kingpins, ultra-exclusive chauffeurs and more will all want to get their hands on a Mercedes-Maybach, although only 100 or so will sell in the UK every year. Any S-Class is a brilliant luxury car, but the new maestro is a bit special. Below-the-radar on the outside but above all but the loftiest of expectations, this is the sober thinker’s Rolls-Royce Ghost.

This car summed up in a single word: Impressive.

If this car was a…: vineyard it would be one of the Champagne region’s finest: magnificent to behold and full of rich bounties.