From 2002 to 2012, Maybach served as Daimler’s answer to Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Then the brand disappeared, and many of us thought it would be the end of the story. But in November 2014, Ola Källenius announced its return – as a sub-brand and positioned somewhat lower than before, within reach of the regular S-Class.

Against all skeptics, Mercedes-Maybach became an impressive success – mostly in China and the US. The series production model bears a strong resemblance to the long-wheelbase E-Class, sold in China and India, suggesting that the Maybach brand was kind of an afterthought.

Since its launch, Daimler has introduced an incredible Pebble Beach concept car, a limited-edition S-Class Cabriolet and a crazy G-Wagen under the Mercedes-Maybach moniker. Now it’s time for a new and unique face. Launched on the long S-Class at the Geneva auto show, it will come to market from April onwards. Remarkably, and unlike the defunct Maybach 57 and 62, it keeps a Mercedes-Benz star atop the radiator.

It gets Maybach-specific wheels, too, and there will be a two-one paint job – similar to the offerings by the VW Group’s Benley and BMW’s Rolls-Royce. Dark colours will be available with an additional, hand-applied layer of clear paint. Inside, new colour combinations set the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class apart from its lesser siblings.

The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class comes as the S 560, powered by a 4.0-liter V-8, and as the S 650, fitted with the AMG S 65’s 6.0-liter V-12. China is likely to keep a six-cylinder entry-level version.

Down the road, we expect to see an expansion of the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand. Look for a highly impressive concept car this year – and a derivative of the next-gen Mercedes-Benz GLS after 2019.

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