So what makes a car worth 310,000?
For DaimlerChrysler's new flagship brand Maybach, the car itself is secondary to the exclusivity and personal service that comes with it.
The first Maybachs went on sale last week at some of the 18 global Maybach centers that will open this year. There are 50 specially-trained sales personnel, but the heart of the dealer network will be 18 personal liaison managers who have been training for 15 months.
'We will focus on a very personal treatment of potential Maybach customers,' said one manager who preferred to remain unnamed.
'Very personal treatment' means a liaison manager who will make individual arrangements for events ranging from family outings to a Formula One race to a Paris fashion show for Maybach owners. Want to test drive before buying?
'These cars are so exclusive and our customers have such individual demands that we prefer to fly them in to Sindelfingen,' the Maybach Manufaktur plant near Stuttgart, the manager said.
Exclusivity means protecting customers' privacy. Visitors to the center, even prospective buyers, won't be allowed to sit in Maybachs that may be in for servicing. 'We don't want people telling neighbors that they sat in a certain personality's car,' the manager said. 'Respecting our customers' privacy is our top priority.'
Maybach will have most of its dedicated centers in Europe. Four will be in Germany, in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne. In England, it's London and Manchester. In France, it's Paris and either Cannes or Nice. There will be a center each in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong and the Middle East. In the USA, two centers will be in California and Montvale, New Jersey, but 25 US Mercedes-Benz dealers will also sell Maybachs.
DaimlerChrysler expects sales of 1,333 Maybachs a year.
Few centers will have a demonstrator, relying instead on a full-size configurator that customers can enter to pick colors and trim.
The car itself is imposing, available in two lengths: 5720mm or 6120mm. Its 5.5-liter bi-turbo V-12 engine is the most powerful production car engine on the market, with 550hp and 900Nm of torque.
The most expensive option, at 13,195, is a full-length roof system. It comes with an electro-transparent section and a solar panel that powers an air conditioning unit to pre-cool the car.
Each Maybach has a four-year warranty and service and repairs are free for four years.