- The V-12 version of the latest Maybach S-class is here. It’s now called the S680.
- Like the previous S650, it has a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12 engine with 621 horsepower.
- The S680 will go on sale in 2022 and should cost over $200,000 to start.
The auto industry’s epochs don’t shift like gears so much as blend like sump oil. Manufacturers are both burnishing their green credentials and laying out plans for the electric future while also rushing out some of the last and greatest products of the combustion era—such as this, the Mercedes-Maybach S680.
Given the existence of the V-8–powered Maybach S580, it is fair to say that nobody truly needs the V-12–powered S680. But Mercedes obviously thinks there are enough ultra-rich buyers who actively want more cylinders, more power, and a bigger number on the trunklid; hence, the mighty engine has made the transition to the new W223 generation of the S-class. Bentley and Rolls-Royce both still offer V-12s in this space, so why shouldn’t Mercedes?
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The mighty twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12 has been carried over directly from the previous-generation Maybach S650. Peak power and torque—621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet—are unchanged, but like its V-8 sibling the S680 now has standard 4Matic all-wheel drive to help deliver that to the road without drama (the last V-12 S-class was rear-drive-only). Unlike the S580, the S680 doesn’t have any 48-volt hybrid assistance, and although Mercedes’s official 4.4-second zero-to-60-mph claim is two-tenths quicker than the number the company claims for the S580, any attempt to verify that figure is likely to earn the driver a stern rebuke from the back seat, or a prod from a gold-tipped cane.
Like the V-8 model, the S680 gets standard rear-wheel steering to improve agility and reduce the turning circle, with the rear axle able to add up to either 4.5 degrees or 10 degrees. (Having experienced the 10-degree system on a non-Maybach S-class in Germany, we can confirm it makes the car feel much smaller and more maneuverable at low speeds.)
Buyers will be able to specify a two-tone paint finish to distinguish the S680 from the common S-class, with 10 contrasting color finishes available. Other distinctions include the unique grille and stainless steel trim covering the lower intake, side sills, and rear bumper. The overall effect seems designed to help billionaires make millionaires jealous.
The cabin is correspondingly special. Ultra-soft nappa leather is found throughout, including for the dashboard, the headliner, and even the sun visors. The rear compartment owes more to private jets than regular sedans, with reclining seats with leg rests. Pretty much everything that can be moved is power operated, and the panoramic sliding sunroof and rear sunshades can be deployed by simply waving a hand in the right way. Any surface that can be heated, cooled, or used to give massages can also deliver those functions. Buyers with lazy chauffeurs can even specify electrically operated rear doors, which can be opened or closed from the driver’s seat. And yes to the most important question: it is possible to specify silver-plated champagne flutes and a fridge.
The Mercedes-Maybach S680 will go on sale in the first half of 2022 and will almost certainly be the last new car launched by Mercedes to use a V-12 engine. We will have to wait to discover how much of a supplement it will carry over the S580, but we can safely presume the base price will be over $200,000.