One is German the other is German owned both have a focus on providing ultra luxury but one is a stretched Mercedes S Class the other is just pure British class at its very best.
Side by side both the Bentley Flying Spur and the Mercedes S Class Maybach look strikingly similar, the Flying Spur was the second Bentley to be manufactured since the VW group took control of the company in 1999. Its essentially a 4 door version of the Continental GT and carries over exactly the same running gear.
The first generation Flying Spur was introduced in 2006 and by February 2014 a second more prettier 2nd generation was revealed. It uses the same twin-turbo 6.0-litre W12 found in the Continental GT, for has an output of 616 horsepower, 590 pound-feet of torque and zero-to-sixty-mph time of 4.3 seconds.
In 2015 Mercedes will bring back the Maybach or rather a re-badge S Class which clearly has a re-designed rear quarter. It will be powered by a 523-horsepower, 612-pound-foot, twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter V12.
Indeed the S Class Maybach looks very British, it looks like the Bentley Flying Spur to our untrained eyes when lined up side-by-side. Its that Maybach rear quarter design that is causing the confusion.
We all know the Germans loath the British, yet the Maybach Mercedes borrows a very British understated style and even goes so far as to use very understated language when it comes to discussing performance figures. “Its sufficient” is what Stuttgart is saying, all very British.
What confuses us is not the deliberate act of accidentally pushing the idea of an S Class Maybach being quintessentially British but the very name. Mercedes S Class Maybach, it just doesn’t sound as good as Bentley Flying Spur and its worth buying the four door Bentley for the name alone.
You see “Mercedes S Class Maybach” just doesn’t roll “orf” the tongue as well as “Bentley Flying Spur”. There is another issue, very few people bought the Maybach when it was re-launched in 1997.
Only 44 units were sold in 2011 and this led Mercedes to call a time on the Maybach by 2012. So why did Mercedes do this? The Bentley and the revival of Rolls Royce were mostly to blame. You could also throw in “return on investment” and the 2008 banking crisis. Yet we know during this period the rich got richer and didn’t stop buying luxury cars.
The Maybach is being re-revived in brand name only, but there is another problem. As nice as the new S Class is the Maybach edition still can not match the Bentley Flying Spur not just for the name but also because Germans can’t do Britishness very well. Except repeatedly beat us at Fussball a game we invented.