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Maybach 57 Saloon engines, drive and performance

2003 - 2012 (change model)
Performance rating: 5 out of 55.0

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

The Maybach 57 was launched with a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V12 engine producing 550bhp and huge amounts of pulling power. Top speed is limited to 155mph, as it often is on the most powerful saloons on sale, but the 57 is still capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds. The way in which it delivers this power is remarkable. To the occupants, progress is always smooth and whisper quiet.

Maybach introduced the 57S during 2006 which uses a 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 engine, hand built by AMG. It offers a maximum of 612bhp, reaching 62mph from rest in five seconds. Unlike the standard 57 the top speed of the S is unrestricted making the car capable of 171mph flat out. Both engines use a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic transmission and have supremely effective brakes.

In fact, it is surprising how quickly the 57 can be brought to a halt considering it weighs more than 2.7 tonnes.

Given the requirements of Maybach customers and the fact that the 57 is one of the largest cars on the road, it is a fine car to travel in, whether driving or as a passenger. A sophisticated air suspension system ensures a supremely comfortable ride at all times, while an adaptive damping system helps the car retain composure if faced with a particularly challenging stretch of road or a sudden emergency manoeuvre.

The Maybach is also more nimble than you might expect on the road. It’s easy to drive whether in heavy traffic or swallowing motorway miles. It never feels as big as it is (5.7 metres long and 2.7 tonnes) when you’re behind the wheel, with nicely weighted steering allowing the driver to guide the car very accurately. The S model rides on suspension 15mm lower than the standard 57 and has larger wheels as standard (20 inch versus 19 inch), but sacrifices a degree of comfort (although it’s still very comfortable by any measurement) for more agile handling.