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November 16, 2016

2018 Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet: S-Classier Convertible

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Just when you thought the S-class droptop couldn’t get any fancier (or pricier)

The 2002 resurrection of the long-forgotten Maybach brand to compete with Rolls-Royce and Bentley was a major flop. Nonetheless, Daimler revived Maybach for a second time two years ago, albeit on a lesser scale, with a slightly elongated version of the S600. That new Maybach proved to be a success, so last year Daimler launched a second Maybach sedan based on the S550. Now the company is expanding this initiative with a derivative of the S-class cabriolet dubbed the Mercedes-Maybach S650.

The Mercedes-Maybach S650 cabriolet dethrones the Mercedes-AMG S65 cabriolet at the top of the S-class convertible range, although the two are mechanically similar. The new car is powered by the same AMG-engineered 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12, code-named M275. Rated at 621 horsepower, the AMG V-12 is the apex predator among Daimler engines; it will hurl the open-topped Maybach to 60 mph in a claimed 4.0 seconds. Top speed is governed at 155 mph, although some Maybach owners undoubtedly will seek to have it electronically raised to the AMG S65’s claimed 186-mph limit.

Like the S65, the Maybach S650 cabriolet comes with rear-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic transmission; we suspect that the nine-speed gearbox and the all-wheel-drive system currently in production in other Benzes wouldn’t be able to withstand the M275’s 738-lb-ft assault.

Setting the Maybach S650 cabriolet apart from its lesser siblings is a generous chrome treatment. The twin-blade grille and the lower front fascia come with high-gloss lipstick, and the Swarovski crystal headlights, optional elsewhere in the lineup, are standard here. We love the disc wheels, which are punctuated by 20 holes; interestingly, Mercedes has covered the lug nuts—which are visible on Maybach sedans with the same wheels—with simulated central-locking caps.
Three exterior color treatments are available: red with a black top, white with a blue top, and blue with a beige top, each paired with its own two-tone interior. Maybach logos are legion inside and out, there’s a “1 of 300” chrome plaque on the center cupholder, and the upholstery stitching—a combination of “waterfall” and diamond-quilting patterns—are specific to this model.

Pricing hasn’t been released, although it’s sure to come in north of the S65 cabriolet’s $250,525 starting point. But not only does the S650 Maybach offer an extra measure of exclusivity—only 75 of those 300 Maybach cabriolets are earmarked for the U.S. market—but Mercedes also throws in a four-piece set of color-matched luggage, a diamond-quilted car cover with the Maybach logo, a Maybach-logo key ring, and a certificate signed by Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche himself. You can’t put a price on extras like those.

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