It was on a balmy day that I found myself lightly napping after canapes on the foredeck.
Somewhere in the Med, my yacht gently rocked underneath me, when the sat-phone rudely interrupted my slumber with its shrill chiming.
Pleasantly though, it was none other than Alborz himself from CarAdvice. After the obligatory “how did you get this number”, I asked what in the world he wanted. After some rigorous back and forth, I agreed to help him out with a backseat review of the 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 saloon.
Thus, some time later I found myself, along with my personal assistant Ms Cheswick, arriving back in the glacial Sydney conditions aboard my customised Gulfstream G650ER private jet.
And there on the tarmac awaiting our much-vaunted arrival was the stunning “designo mocha black metallic” Maybach rolling on massive solid polished chrome wheels with security approved run flat tyres.
A regal land yacht at almost 18 feet long it is nothing if not immediately imposing.
Myself and Ms Cheswick immediately settled into the perforated rear recliners, which are not only heated and cooled, but also have head rests lined in goose down, according to Mercedes-Maybach (they felt like puppy fur to me). Furthermore, they possessed a wonderful six program massage function, including my favourite “hot stone”. Oddly, though, ‘the help’ also received front massage chairs – surely at an unnecessary cost and weight penalty.
Bypassing the commoner airport formalities our driver (the famous journalist – Mr Matthew Campbell) spirited us away through a private exit towards my exclusive eastern suburbs estate.
Reclining our seatbacks and raising the foot rests, we were able to almost fully lie down and enjoy the view of the peons scurrying to work through the darkly-tinted windows (featuring wonderful automatic sunshades) and the separate rear sunroof (quite distinct from a regular saloon’s miserly front sunroof).
To further keep our eyes entertained there were twin flat-screen televisions mounted on the rear of the front seats. I was able to have Ms Cheswick quickly tune my screen to the latest Tour de France highlights using one of the two individual remote controls which can also, incidentally, change many of the car’s settings on the main front screen.
To Mercedes’ shame though the picture dropped out when we entered a tunnel. As punishment I ordered Ms Cheswick to remotely adjust the driver’s seat to scorching hot with a stone massage! Several vulgar words from Mr Campbell, brought a great chuckle from me and Ms Cheswick congratulated me on my humorous joke.
Casting my eyes around the cabin, there was superlatively soft Nappa leather literally covering every surface (including the ceiling – ha!). Ms Cheswick noted it was hand-fitted and showed impeccable workmanship, most likely of Italian master craftsman origin.
On the floor my feet sunk into the deep plush pile sheepskin carpeting which is exquisite to the touch and no doubt sourced from Merino hoggets.
Not forgetting the other senses, one immediately notices the aroma in the air. Turning to Ms Cheswick I enquired as to whether I could smell agarwood? Her demure smile back quickly confirmed I was right, as usual. Atomised into the air at regular intervals, the agarwood scent is native to Southeast Asia – and when the bottle runs out you can add whatever custom fragrance you like.
I have suggested to Mercedes perhaps they should bottle the smell of hundred dollar bills that have been dipped in the salty tears of Chinese factory workers. I am yet to hear back.
The twin rear recliners are indeed reminiscent of something found in the world’s finest private jets, like my Gulfstream. Entombed in the soft, heated leather, Ms Cheswick extended my aluminium tray table so I could sample some of the chilled Gout de Diamants champagne from the rear refrigerator.
The rear seat also allowed me to remotely adjust the front seats forward – perfect for reclining almost fully flat at the cost of the front seat serfs being somewhat crushed, all part of the job description though, for those organ banks. There are also heated side panels which add the same soothing benefits as heated seats to one’s exposed arms and elbows.
Within the frontal dash area sat a pair of 12.3-inch high resolution screens which showed a vast array of information including the speedo and stock prices (sorry Audi, Mercedes was first) to a map of the poor areas of the city to avoid, lest we be molested by unsavoury types in ill-fitting suits.
Adding to this were various species of exotic wood adorning the cabin (hopefully liberated from endangered old-growth forests) to give a wonderfully exquisite ambience. Of distaste, though, was the IWC Ingenieur timepiece on the dash – a cheap inclusion compared to the Bentley Bentayga’s more expensive specimen.
Making up for this error was the audio system. A Burmester 3D sound system provided thousands of amps to deliver a truly concert hall like experience reminiscent of the Grosser Musikvereinssaal in Vienna.
Rotating tweeters and more speakers than Western suburbs mortgages rounded out the package that also came standard with a pair of wireless headsets for us rear VIPs.
Safety-wise we enjoyed thermal imaging (read, night vision) which was displayed via the central screens. If a wayward pedestrian is detected, a searing beam of light will be automatically flashed at the peasant to warn them to get off your road lest they meet their end in a shallow grave.
Magic body control scanned the road ahead for surface variations and adjusted the hydraulics to isolate us from any nasty potholes the lazy proletarians had failed to fix along Old South Head Road.
As for the boring mechanical engine stuff, all I can tell you is that at my command Mr Campbell launched us onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge and stretched out the bi-turbo, forged pistoned, 6.0-litre V12 and quickly eviscerated the lowly minions trying to keep up for a gander – incidentally, this included a silly white Tesla thingy which was no doubt desperately searching for a free recharge station for its stingy owner.
And thus ended a thoroughly exhausting day of work as an automotive journalist.
As Ms Cheswick led me up the (unnecessarily steep, I must say) stairs of the Gulfstream, I bid farewell to the CarAdvice team who – judging by their glum expressions and poor posture – were still in shock at having rubbed shoulders with such elite.
Overall, I enjoyed my precious time with the Mercedes-Maybach S600, a thoroughly convincing luxury office worthy of anything a VIP could throw at it.
Click the Photos tab above for more images by Sam Venn
Our thanks to jetsetter and regular CarAdvice reader Harrington for finding the time to help us with a review that only a being of his refinement and poise could possibly do justice on.