The Maybach super luxury saloon has arrived in South Africa. It has four wheels and doors, an engine and a steering wheel - but it hardly fits the definition of a car - as most of us know it, anyway.The Maybach super luxury saloon has arrived in South Africa. It has four wheels and doors, an engine and a steering wheel - but it hardly fits the definition of a car - as most of us know it, anyway.

DaimlerChrysler describes the Maybach as an automotive masterpiece that heralds a new dimension in exclusivity, luxury, comfort and cutting-edge technology. We don't contest that.

The Maybach may be a car in the strictest definition, thus falling under's field of interest, but you can't buy the vehicle at a showroom. For those would could afford the 5,7-metre Maybach 57 at R3,4 million or 6,2-litre flagship 62 at R4 million, money should be no object. "Shall I buy a chopper, a holiday pad in Camps Bay, or a Maybach?", that's the kind of decision a potential Maybach buyer would have to make... not whether the car is affordable.

Five Maybachs are built at DaimlerChrysler's Centre of Excellence in Sindelfingen, Germany, each day. It is believed that the global automotive market can sustain demand for 8 000 super-luxury saloons each year... Maybachs are anything but mass-produced and buyers have a clear profile: Well-heeled, ultra-successful, individualistic and status-conscious.

In South Africa - and the rest of the countries where Maybachs will be available - a 24-hours a day customer service function is included as standard for all Maybach customers. DaimlerChrysler SA's dedicated Maybach sales and service division personal liaison manager Roger Tobler is solely responsible to take care of the customer - from original query on Maybach right through to managing the servicing requirements for the customer's vehicle. This includes managing the delivery of the customer's Maybach - as per his choice - either in South Africa, or at the specialised Maybach Centre of Excellence in Stuttgart, Germany.

By contrast with ordinary car owners, Maybach buyers will never need to drive their vehicles to service garages. And should a 57 or 62 break down, DaimlerChrysler will send one of 13 service specialists around the globe to fly to the stricken car. If the specialist cannot fix the problem on the spot, he or she will organise that the vehicle is put on a flatbed and transported to Sandown Village Close in Johannesburg, where the vehicle will be repaired.

Peter Graf von Kageneck, DaimlerChrysler AG's senior sales manager for Maybach, said the brand's main markets would be Germany, the UK, the United Arab Emirates and Asia. "Maybach has the capacity to build 1 000 units per annum, but we intend to supply enough made-to-order cars to satisfy demand in whichever market it arises," he said.

Dan Moeletsi, the divisional manager of DaimlerChrysler South Africa's (DCSA) car group, said the company estimated it would sell 10 units a year.

"I don't think it will take a long time before South Africa is also regarded as one of the preferred markets for Maybach," he said. "The local price of the Maybach is aligned to the international pricing of the vehicle market but we feel privileged that there are sufficient exports front the East London plan to use to subside local prices".

The acquisition of a Maybach requires an initial deposit of R500 000 and delivery takes between six and 12 months.

The seemingly-endless list of Maybach options gives customers over two million ways of equipping their car to their personal taste. Here are the specs for South Africa's latest super luxury saloon.

The vehicle's interior is the epitome of ergonomic design. It is constructed from high quality materials - among them more than 100 exquisitely-crafted and hand-fitted items in fine wood integrated in a sea of leather trim. This, in conjunction with a silent ride (by virtue of sound-damping padding throughout the vehicle) and four-zone climate control systems, should result in a cosseted ride.

Occupants will be treated to a 600 W sound system with Dolby surround sound at every seat, ambient lighting and - exclusive to the Maybach 62 - aircraft-style fully-reclining seats.

Travellers' every entertainment and communication needs are catered for in the Maybach. There's a DVD player, TV receiver, a refrigerated compartment and cordless 'phone with two handsets.

Furthermore, high-quality accessory items such as a custom-made luggage set, sterling silver champagne goblets, a humidor for cigar aficionados, a golf bag, floor mats of the finest velour and a fluffy travel rug, have been specifically developed for the Maybach.

Maybach customers have a choice of six nappa leather colours and three types of fine wood. A range of 17 paint finishes is available for the exterior, and they can be combined into two-tone colour schemes.

Aluminium, wood and electro-chromatic glass are used for the partition between the front and rear seats on the Maybach 62 (if the option is specified). The lower section is a laminated wood-aluminium construction, while the electrically retractable upper section is of laminated glass.

This glass possesses the same special technical characteristics as the panoramic roof of the Maybach 62: electrotransparency. As an intermediate layer, the glass has a liquid crystal membrane of electrically conductive plastic whose crystals arrange themselves in such a way that the glass is transparent when subjected to an electrical voltage. When the voltage is switched off the liquid crystals lose their ordered structure and the glass becomes opaque.

This technology is also used employed in the sliding liner for the optionally available panoramic roof in the Maybach 62. This is lined with an electro-luminescent membrane (EL membrane) which is switched on at the touch of a button when closed and emits a pleasant, diffused light over its entire surface. A potentiometer in the rear centre console enables rear passengers in the Maybach 62 to regulate the illumination of the EL membrane and the ambient lighting.

Standard electronic systems fitted in the Maybach include: electrohydraulic braking system, sensotronic brake control, the electronically controlled air suspension system Airmatic Dual Control, Linguatronic voice control, and Comand APS control system.

The Maybach's "Type 12" twin-turbo 5,5-litre V12 engine reportedly delivers more power and torque than any other standard-production saloon car engine in the world. It develops peak power of 405 kW and maximum torque of 900 N.m at 2 300 r/min.

The Maybach 57 is claimed to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 5,2 seconds, sprint from 60 to 120 km/h in 6,2 seconds and achieve an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h.

But the powerful saloon has a Sensotronic brake control (SBC) system that can cope with the awesome power of the Mercedes-Benz engine. The braking system features two central control units, two high-pressure reservoirs and two hydraulic units. In other words, Maybachs are equipped with a total of eight braking circuits and internally-ventilated front disc brakes, each with two calipers.

In the event of an accident, a total of ten airbags - two adaptive 'bags with two-stage gas generators for the front occupants, four sidebags, and two large windowbags on each side of the interior.

The automatic comfort-fit three-point seat belts, high-performance belt tensioners and belt force limiters are integrated into the seats and can therefore develop their full protective action in any position.

Original article from Car