The U.S. version sports a 523-hp, V-12 engine. Its suspension system automatically adjusts to changes in road or driving conditions detected by forward-looking stereo cameras. Nearly all interior surfaces are encased in hand-stitched leather. The rear is equipped with the equivalent of first-class airline seats. They are individually adjustable and have a hot-stone massage setting. Naturally, the car is available with a chauffeur package.
"We believe there are a number of people interested in such cars," said Hermann Storp, director of global S-class development. "In the U.S., in China, in Russia, there is a market for this."
Cannon said the Maybach is intended to give upper-crust customers a vehicle that will keep them in the Mercedes brand. They don't have to go to Bentley or Rolls-Royce, he said.
"If we don't give them another level of exclusivity and craftsmanship and luxury, then we lose them," he said.
The new Maybach is unrelated to the superluxury car make that Mercedes parent Daimler launched under that name in 2002, then discontinued in 2012 after disappointing sales.
Storp said Mercedes is confident that the new car will be a financial success because it will be produced on the same production line as other S-class models.
The previous Maybach was produced in a dedicated assembly hall, which increased the sales volume needed to cover Daimler's capital investments. But in its years on the market, sales totaled only about 3,200 cars.
For the new Maybach line, Mercedes is under much less pressure to hit volume targets, Storp said. "If the market asks for 100 [Maybachs], we will make 100," he said. "If demand is 1,000, we will make that." c