GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT—Round Hill Road is Greenwich’s most exclusive thoroughfare. The cheapest properties for sale there are almost $3 million, but big spenders take note that for $39 million they can be the Lord or Lady of Round Hill Manor, which sits on 40 acres with panoramic views of Long Island Sound. Nine bedroom, plus—car enthusiasts take note—a five-car garage with two apartments above it.
You know how people talk about arriving at their college reunion in a fancy ride? Show’s they made it? That’s what it felt like motoring down Round Hill Road in a 2018 Maybach S560 4MATIC, an $180,545 over-the-top luxury car. My friend Frank, a fellow scribe, was driving, but for the occasion he was Jeeves, with instructions to take us to Greenwich Avenue for the shopping.
There’s actually a Tesla store on Greenwich Avenue, but mostly it’s very high-end couture, with the parking spaces filled with Lambos, high-end Mercedes-Benzes and Audis, and nannymobile SUVs and minivans.
It seemed fitting that we started our ride at the World Trade Center near Wall Street, because we were mimicking the drive America’s captains of industry take every day. Imagine the deals made in the back of a Maybach!
When Mercedes brought the Maybach to the U.S. in 2002, it arrived via ocean liner and was lifted in a glass case onto Wall Street. Given that reality, I interviewed New York tycoon Donald Trump about the car. “I buy 75 limousines over three years for my various hotels, and I’d certainly be willing to look at the Maybach,” he told me, adding that it isn’t DVD players or wood accents that the high-end players want—it’s legroom. “People really like a stretch,” he said.
Maybach isn’t a separate division anymore (that ended in 2012); this is a 2018 S-Class Mercedes, with the three-pointed star firmly in place. The S-Class doesn’t look dramatically different, but it had more than 6,500 upgrades, of which the M176 engine is just one. The new four-liter motor produces the same power and torque as the outgoing 4.7-liter biturbo. It also has cylinder deactivation, which shuts off four of the eight cylinders and improves fuel economy 10 percent.
Also new is “triple-torch” headlights, new upholstery, dual 12.3-inch displays under a single bonded glass cover, new bumpers and taillights. Our test car has the 463-horsepower four-liter twin-turbo V-8, but buyers who opt for the S650 ($98,000, plus $995 destination) get the top-gun V-12.
Ain’t life something? There’s always somebody above you! I could be driving down Round Hill Road in my S560 Maybach and an S650 could go by. To paraphrase the comedian Eric Bogosian, you’d be pissed off, right? This first-world problem is the subject of the new Ben Stiller movie, Brad’s Status.
It’s hard to imagine more opulence than is furnished by this S560 Maybach. Back-seat passengers have everything but a partition and an intercom to give Jeeves his instructions. The seats recline, and offer a choice of massage options. Close to hand is a remote for the rear screen, so a DVD or web surfing is a few clicks away. There are even a pair of Maybach-embossed pillows.
Worried about safety? The Maybach has adaptive braking, electronic stability control, a pre-safe predictive occupant-protection system, active blind-spot assist, active lane keeping, active steering assist….routebasedspeedadaptionevasivesteeringassistsurroundviewadaptivehigh-beamsintelligentLEDlightsystemnightviewassistcrosstrafficfunction and more! Some of these systems kind of blurred together in the telling, but I love the idea of evasive steering assist. Introduced on the E-Class last year, it’s there if a pedestrian steps out in front of your car. If you start to turn the wheel to avoid him or her, it kicks in and turns as much as needed to keep the poor sap out of harm’s way.
On the Burmeister High-End 3D Surround-Sound system, we could listen to the new Macklemore album, Gemini, in which our hip-hop hero and his guest rappers entice their Greenwich girls with, “We can do all kinds of things in this Maybach.” What happened to inviting them up to see the etchings?
Nor is the S650 V-12 the last word in Maybach exclusivity. If $300,000 is burning a hole in your pocket, there’s the S650 convertible that the company showed off at the Los Angeles show late last year. Only 75 of these were earmarked for America, out of 300 built. Custom luggage fills the trunk.
Only hip-hop stars, Kuwaiti sheikhs and Chinese tech billionaires get Maybach convertibles. (China, where drivers like to be chauffeured, is the biggest market for Maybach, which explains the ashtrays for rear passengers.)
So what’s a Maybach like to drive? It’s so quiet that even flooring the gas pedal doesn’t produce anything audible. There’s just a surge of creamy power. The Maybach handles very nicely for such a big, heavy, long-wheelbase car, but if Jeeves is driving behind-the-wheel performance probably isn’t paramount. Nor is the fuel economy, but it’s a surprising 19 combined.
The heads-up display is useful on the road. The front seats aren’t like the rear sofas, but they’re pretty darned nice—and the heated massage is to die for. I got out refreshed.
Mercedes has produced four million S-Class cars globally since 1972, when the model was launched. But obviously Benz limos go back further. The so-called 300 “Adenauer” (named after Germany’s post-war chancellor, who had six of them) debuted in 1951. Ella Fitzgerald had the extra-exclusive convertible.
There’s a new selection of AMG models, of course, and the performance cars are going gangbusters, with AMG sales up more than 50 percent year to date. Mercedes’ U.S. president, Dietmar Exler, points out that one in every three $100,000+ cars sold in the U.S. is a Mercedes. Not only that, but 20 percent of all S-Classes are sold in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and, of course, Connecticut). The second-biggest market for Maybachs is the U.S.
So working on Wall Street and living on Round Hill Road? The Maybach absolutely knows the way. Here's some video of the car on Round Hill Road: