The auto industry’s epochs don’t shift like gears so much as blend like sump oil. Manufacturers are both burnishing their green credentials and laying out plans for the electric future while also rushing out some of the last and greatest products of the combustion era—such as this, the Mercedes-Maybach S680.
Given the existence of the V-8–powered Maybach S580, it is fair to say that nobody truly needs the V-12–powered S680. But Mercedes obviously thinks there are enough ultra-rich buyers who actively want more cylinders, more power, and a bigger number on the trunklid; hence, the mighty engine has made the transition to the new W223 generation of the S-class. Bentley and Rolls-Royce both still offer V-12s in this space, so why shouldn’t Mercedes?
The mighty twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12 has been carried over directly from the previous-generation Maybach S650. Peak power and torque—621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet—are unchanged, but like its V-8 sibling the S680 now has standard 4Matic all-wheel drive to help deliver that to the road without drama (the last V-12 S-class was rear-drive-only). Unlike the S580, the S680 doesn’t have any 48-volt hybrid assistance, and although Mercedes’s official 4.4-second zero-to-60-mph claim is two-tenths quicker than the number the company claims for the S580, any attempt to verify that figure is likely to earn the driver a stern rebuke from the back seat, or a prod from a gold-tipped cane. For the full story, check out this article from Car and Driver.