The absolute flagship makes a discreet entry.
The Mercedes-AMG S65 might be dead, but one-percentres mustn't fret as its V12 will live on in the ultra-posh Maybach version. The Bentley W12-rivalling saloon was originally announced last year in the lead-up to the world premiere of the normal Benz S-Class, and following a teaser last month, the twelve-cylinder luxury cocoon is finally here.
Oddly enough, the car is making a rather quiet appearance on Daimler's media site as the adjacent official images are not accompanied by a press release. The extra-long luxobarge adopts the same stylish two-tone paint and an abundance of chrome as the V8 model unveiled in November 2020, but with more elegant multi-spoke wheels.
Gallery: 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S680
Look closer and you will notice a couple of subtle changes compared to the standard Maybach S-Class. "V12" badges adorn the front fenders and there's an "S680" logo on the boot lid. Some will be surprised to hear that model designation has been used before as the Maybach S650 model was sold in China with the S680 badge following the previous generation's facelift in 2017.
One of the images shows the V12's engine bay, and while technical specifications are not available for now, we're expecting the horsepower number to start with a "6." As a reminder, the previous £176,315 Maybach S650 offered a monstrous 621 bhp and 738 pound-feet (1,000 Newton-metres) of torque from its twin-turbo 6.0-litre engine.
It is believed the new V12-powered S-Class will adopt a 4Matic all-wheel-drive system for the first time. We should find out all the details soon considering the S680 has already been teased and it can be found on Daimler's website if you know where to look. It's going to join a recently launched "entry-level" version in China where the Maybach S-Class is offered with an inline-six engine to minimise the high taxes associated with large engines.
Even though the AMG S65 is dead, Mercedes is planning a substitute if recent reports are to be believed. The AMG S63e is coming out first with an electrified V8 pushing out roughly 700 bhp, while the S73e is rumoured to level up to around 800 bhp. Both are expected to be plug-in hybrids and offer an unspecified electric range, but nothing is official at this point.