Maybach - The World Premiere | Part Five

Mercedes Benz Maybach 62 Engine Bay


Chassis - Everything under control
  • SBC™: high-pressure braking system with dual control unit
  • Air suspension: AIRMATIC DC configured for unique levels of comfort
  • Axles: double wishbones at the front, multi-link principle at the rear
  • Braking system: two front brake callipers for exemplary performance
  • Tyres: automatic tyre pressure monitoring on the move

Safety, comfort, handling - three aspects that were writ large during the design and development of the suspension system for the Maybach. To achieve these aims the luxury brand uses trailblazing innovations introduced by its sister-brand Mercedes Benz, thereby also setting standards in the high-end luxury motor car segment where suspension technology is concerned:

  • Safety: In addition to large brake discs at both front and rear the new Maybach is equipped with the electrohydraulic braking system Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC™). The engineers in Sindelfingen have developed this technology further for the Maybach and configured it to meet the need for enhanced braking performance. Together with ESP, ASR, ABS and Brake Assist the Maybach therefore features the most advanced and efficient dynamic control systems.
  • Comfort: The electronically controlled air suspension system AIRMATIC DC (Dual Control) enables the luxury car to achieve a new dimension in ride comfort.
  • Handling: The Maybach proves that a large, high-prestige motor car can also be outstandingly agile and dynamic. This is in large measure due to AIRMATIC DC with its automatic, situation-related adaptation of spring and shock absorber stiffness and the sophisticated design of the axles.

AIRMATIC DC: a combination of air suspension and adaptive damping

The suffix "DC" stands for "Dual Control" and refers to the dual function of AIRMATIC: the system combines an actively controllable air suspension with the Adaptive Damping System (ADS II), thereby influencing both springing and damping in equal measure. ADS II regulates the shock absorber force depending on the road surface, driving style and vehicle load, while rubber bellows filled with compressed air at the axles ensure comfortable springing in the luxury motor car. The system in the Maybach operates at a pressure of six to ten bar.

AIRMATIC DC controls the air volume in the rubber spring bellows depending on the driving situation. On rapid bends or under similarly high dynamic loads, for example, the air suspension briefly deactivates part of the air volume it contains and thereby stiffens the spring action to reduce body roll and pitching. During normal driving the entire air volume remains active, providing soft springing and maximum comfort.

This situation-related activation and deactivation of what is termed the comfort air volume and the automatic adjustment of shock absorber stiffness are the result of a practically instantaneous calculation process (algorithm) during which the micro-processor compares current sensor data for the steering angle, linear and lateral acceleration and vehicle attitude with specified values stored in a memory.

The Adaptive Damping System (ADS II) supports these control processes with the so-called Skyhook algorithm. This allows the damping forces at each wheel to be regulated within less than 0.05 seconds so that the forces acting on the vehicle body from the wheel movements are noticeably reduced. During a braking manoeuvre, for example, the system increases suspension compression at the front axle and rebound at the rear axle, reducing the tendency of the body to dive.

To make this lightning-fast intervention possible, the shock absorbers of the Maybach are equipped with electrically operated solenoid valves which separately influence the compression and rebound of each wheel according to the situation and its requirements.

In addition the driver is able to adjust the spring rate and damping himself at the touch of a button. There is a choice between a comfort-focused basic setting (switch position 0) and two positions with tauter spring and damper settings. In switch positions 1 and 2 AIRMATIC DC lowers the vehicle body by 15 millimetres - usually automatically when the speed reaches 87 mph - to reduce wind resistance and improve handling stability. Below 44 mph the body is raised to its normal level again.

In addition to the air springs with their newly-developed, particularly thin-walled and harshness-optimised rubber bellows, the ADS II shock absorbers and the control unit, AIRMATIC DC includes various components which are mainly responsible for a rapid build-up of pressure and reliable pressure storage:

  • The pressure supply unit consists of an electrically powered compressor with a regenerative drier and a valve unit.
  • The distribution block features the pressure reservoir charge valve, a central pressure sensor and the connectors for the pneumatic lines.
  • The two reservoirs maintain a charge pressure of up to 16 bar which the system uses when at rest or at low speed to ensure a rapid and noiseless self-levelling effect.
  • Two sensors on the front axle and one on the rear axle monitor the level of the vehicle body. In addition the AIRMATIC control unit receives signals from three acceleration sensors on the bodywork and a steering angle sensor.

Front suspension: double wishbones and an efficiently isolated subframe

In view of the outstanding performance and weight of the Maybach the choice by the development engineers naturally fell on a double wishbone front suspension. This design meets all the requirements for this unique luxury motor car while providing a low level of road roar and tyre vibration. It consists of forged steel and aluminium components, the lower wishbone being of forged steel and the upper of aluminium.

Wheel location is via two control arms on each side: the upper wishbone is directly connected to the body via large rubber mountings, while the lower wishbone supporting the air suspension spring strut is attached to a large sheet steel subframe, also via rubber mountings, which is in turn isolated from the body by four hydraulically dampened bearings. This technology makes a major contribution to the high vibration comfort of the Maybach.

Steering: a system with many comfort benefits

In the case of the steering the engineers likewise opted for the system that offers the most comfort benefits with the front axle load and steering forces of the Maybach, namely recirculating-ball steering.

This operates with speed-sensitive power assistance and has an electronically controlled regulating valve to reduce the steering effort from approx. five Newton metres on fast roads to only approx 2.5 Newton metres when parking or manoeuvring at low speeds. The design features an inner and outer jacket tube which can be moved relative to each other via a spindle, enabling the steering wheel to be individually adjusted for reach from the normal position by up to 21 millimetres to the front and up to 35 millimetres to the rear.

The driver need only operate a lever adjacent to the steering column and an electric motor carries out his wishes. The same applies to the height adjustment by up to 35 millimetres upwards and a maximum of 13 millimetres downwards. This adjustment is carried out by a further electric motor, a gear and two lifting spindles -- a high level of technical sophistication for maximum individual comfort.

The rim of the steering wheel (diameter 384 millimetres) is covered in fine leather and wood and is of diecast aluminium.

Maybach 62: key suspension data

Wheelbase 3827 mm
Front track width 1675 mm
Rear track width 1695 mm
Turning circle 14.80 m
Wheel size 8 J x 19
Tyre size 275/50 R 19

SBC: electrohydraulic braking system with eight circuits

The introduction of Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC™) by Mercedes Benz in 2001 began the company's entry into the world of so-called "by wire" systems, which no longer transmit the driver's commands mechanically or hydraulically, but electronically by cable. Maybach has benefited from the technological lead of its sister-brand and equips its high-end luxury motor car with a further development of the SBC™ system.

By contrast with the Mercedes Benz SL and E-Class, which are likewise equipped with SBC, the system in the Maybach has two central control units, two high-pressure reservoirs, two hydraulic units and therefore a total of eight brake circuits. In this way the engineers have done justice to the higher hydraulic volume requirement of the larger braking system in the Maybach.

The two powerful microprocessors interact constantly and control all braking processes. When the driver depresses the brake pedal, sensors register the pressure and speed of pedal operation and transfer this information to the control units to initiate an almost instantaneous and highly dynamic brake management process. At the same time the SBC™ microprocessors are also receiving sensor signals relating to the current driving situation from other electronic assistance systems, and are therefore able to adapt the braking command precisely to the actual conditions for optimal deceleration and handling stability. During the process SBC™ individually calculates the brake force for each wheel.

The brake fluid in the two high-pressure reservoirs is under a constant, high pressure of 140 to 160 bar, which guarantees the extremely short response times of this innovative braking system. The microprocessors regulate this pressure to suit the requirements, and also control the electric pump connected to the reservoir. The eight pressure modulators in the hydraulic units transfer the braking pressure to the wheels, with two responsible for each wheel. In this way the commands from the electronic control units can be precisely implemented at each wheel.

The extremely dynamic build-up of pressure and precise monitoring of driver and vehicle behaviour by means of a sophisticated sensor system are the greatest advantages of this unique braking system and significantly improve handling safety. During emergency braking, for example: SBC™ even recognises a rapid movement of the driver's foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal as an indication of an emergency situation and responds automatically. With the help of the high-pressure reservoir the system increases the pressure in the brake lines and immediately brings the brake linings into light contact with the brake discs, ensuring that they are able to exert their full pressure at once when the brake pedal is operated.

SBC™ also improves handling safety in other respects, as the system works together with other control systems in the Maybach via a databus:

When skidding is imminent SBC™ supports the Electronic Stability Program ESP and ensures extremely rapid, finely metered braking impulses which reliably and comfortably stabilise the vehicle.

When braking on bends the variable brake force distribution actively influences the oversteer and understeer characteristics if the car: SBC™ enables the brake pressure to be metered in such a way that it is automatically increased at the outer wheels, transferring greater brake forces as a result of larger tyre contact forces. At the same time the brake forces at the inner wheels are reduced in favour of the lateral stabilising forces which are important for directional stability. The result is more stable braking behaviour with optimal deceleration values.

In wet conditions Sensotronic Brake Control removes the film of water from the brake discs by briefly applying the brake linings at regular intervals, thereby ensuring that the system can operate with full efficiency at all times. This automatic brake-drying function is activated when the windscreen wipers have been in operation for a certain time. The finely metered braking impulses are not noticeable to the driver.

Mechanically isolating the SBC™ brake pedal from the remaining braking system together with proportional pressure control improves comfort when braking - especially during heavy deceleration or when the anti-lock braking system is activated. The pulsing usually felt in the brake pedal during ABS intervention no longer occurs.

The Soft-Stop function is another comfort-enhancing feature of the braking system. This enables the vehicle to be brought to a particularly gentle stop, e.g. in city traffic with frequent traffic lights. This is made possible by finely metered pressure control, as SBC™ reduces the brake servo pressure shortly before the vehicle comes to a halt and thereby prevents the characteristic jerk frequently felt when braking to a stop. The Soft-Stop function is always active - the system only gives priority to rapid deceleration during emergency braking or during slow manoeuvres.

Braking system: ready for any challenge with six brake callipers

An exceptionally powerful and imposing luxury motor car requires an equally exceptional braking system. SBC™ is a highlight which makes the new Maybach something special in this area, and this system is complemented with large, internally ventilated front disc brakes, each of which features two brake callipers. This means that a remarkable 248 square centimetres of brake lining surface are available to decelerate this high-end luxury car safely and reliably.

Maybach 62: key braking system data

Front axle Rear axle
Type 2 four-piston fixed callipers Four-piston fixed calliper
Piston diameter 36/42 mm 36/42 mm
Lining surface 4 x 62 sq. cm 2 x 62 sq. cm
Disc diameter 376 mm 355 mm
Disc thickness 34 mm 32 mm

The rear axle is equipped with four-piston, fixed-calliper brakes with a total lining surface of 124 square centimetres. The front and rear brake discs are of cast iron, the callipers of diecast aluminium.

Rear suspension: redesigned multi-link independent suspension

The well-proven multi-link independent rear suspension used in Mercedes models also ensure precise wheel location and a high level of rear suspension comfort in the Maybach. Almost all the components of this sophisticated five-link system have however been newly developed for the Maybach.

The radius rods and camber arms as well as the track rods are of forged steel, while the spring links are of sheet steel. The axle carriers are two tubular steel sections connected

by two cross-members (sheet steel) and isolated from the vehicle body by hydraulically dampened bearings. The control arms have their mounting points on the sides of the axle carriers and likewise feature large rubber bearings.

Wheels and tyres: a majestic 19 inches

19-inch tyres accentuate the imposing appearance of the Maybach luxury automobile, which is equipped with attractive, cast light-alloy wheels as standard. The wheel size is 8 J x 19 ET 67, while tyres are of size 275/50 R 19. On request the wheels can be fitted with a run-flat feature in the form of a steel supporting ring which allows a defective tyre to continue running. The innovative tyre sealing kit TIREFIT is standard equipment in the Maybach - a fully-fledged spare wheel is available at no extra cost as an alternative.

An electronic control system which constantly monitors the tyre pressures is also provided as standard. This function is performed by sensors in the four tyre valves which measure both the inflation pressure and inside temperature of each tyre. These data are usually transmitted to special antennae in the wheel arches by radio once every minute, then transferred to a microprocessor by cable. This evaluates the signals from the four transmitters according to their different identification codes and is therefore able to provide the driver with specific information concerning the air pressure in each tyre. The values appear in the central display in the instrument cluster. In the event of a sudden and rapid pressure loss in any of the tyres an appropriate signal is immediately sent to alert the driver in good time.

Electronics - Music and more
  • Network: five databus systems with 77 linked control units
  • Assistants: high-performance electronics for handling safety and comfort
  • Entertainment: DVD player, CD changer and TV receiver in the rear
  • Sound system: 600 Watt system with surround sound at every seat
  • Communication: telephone system with two wireless handsets

Up to 77 electronic control units work together on board the Maybach 62 and exchange their information via five high-performance databus networks. This high-tech system provides a large number of functions which relieve the driver of stress and improve safety, comfort, entertainment and communication.

Where the so-called assistance systems are concerned, Maybach substantially benefits from the high technological expertise of its sister-brand Mercedes Benz. The high-end luxury car features the same technology as the top models bearing the Mercedes star. This includes:

  • The parking aid PARKTRONIC is standard equipment in the Maybach. When manoeuvring or parking, ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers register the distance to any physical obstacles. The driver is informed by a display and acoustic signals.
  • The proximity control system DISTRONIC uses a radar sensor located behind the front bumper to monitor the traffic ahead of the Maybach. Vehicles in front reflect these radar signals and enable a microprocessor to calculate the distance and relative speeds of both vehicles. The driver of the Maybach selects a desired speed and DISTRONIC automatically throttles the engine or if necessary applies the brakes to maintain the correct distance from the preceding vehicle. If the distance between the two vehicles increases, the system accelerates the Maybach back up to the selected speed.
  • The LINGUATRONIC voice control system operates the audio, communication and navigation systems in the Maybach. It is activated by a stalk on the steering column. A few words from the driver are sufficient to make the radio search for or store a new station in the memory automatically, skip to the next track on a CD or program the navigation system with the required destination. Only the sound volume cannot be adjusted by voice control; this can be done quickly and simply using the rotary control switch on the COMAND unit or the illuminated keys on the steering wheel.
  • The electronic "door opener" KEYLESS-GO automatically unlocks the doors and boot lid as soon as the driver approaches the car. The electronic ignition key of the Maybach receives signals from induction aerials which are located in the doors, in the centre console, beneath the parcel shelf and in the rear bumper. The key then sends out an identification code by radio which is verified by an onboard electronic control unit in the Maybach. If this code corresponds to the value stored in the memory the driver can enter the vehicle immediately or open the boot lid. Starting the engine is also easier and more convenient with KEYLESS-GO: pressing a button on the shift lever of the automatic transmission causes the powerful twelve-cylinder engine to spring into life.

Rear section: fully-equipped for the perfect audio or viewing experience

Passengers in the Maybach by no means have to do without high-quality entertainment, up-to-date information and perfect telecommunications while travelling. The DVD player, radio with VHF/medium wave and the TV receiver provided as standard enable them to arrange their own entertainment programme and also connect external units such as a camcorder, MP3 player or video games.

The various units are controlled via an infra-red remote control system using clearly arranged menus which appear in the two colour monitors located in the backrests of the front seats. These advanced, flat screens with TFT technology (9.5-inch screens) are also used to view DVD films and TV programmes. The DVD player and CD changer for six CDs are accommodated in the centre console between the rear seats. The TV tuner for the rear section is able to receive TV programmes under any system (PAL, SECAM, NTSC).

Sound system: Dolby surround sound on every seat

The Maybach also has advanced, high-tech entertainment electronics in the form of the newly developed Bose sound system. This converts the interior of the luxury limousine into a mobile concert hall and cossets each one of the four occupants with digital Dolby surround sound effects. What is more, during its sophisticated sound control of the seven high-performance amplifiers the system also takes the current level of travel noise into consideration to ensure consistent sound enjoyment. A microphone monitors the interior of the Maybach and detects any sound fluctuations, which are immediately taken into account by the sound processor. The sound system has a total output of 600 Watts and has 21 high-performance loudspeakers.

Telecommunications: mobile and fixed-installation telephone with two handsets

Two telephones located beneath the padded armrest in the rear centre console of the Maybach are available to the rear passengers: a mobile phone and the cordless handset of a fixed-installation telephone system. The latter system also has a second handset located in a special compartment in the dashboard. Both telephones are linked to the central transmission and reception unit of the car telephone via "Bluetooth" radio technology, therefore cable connections are entirely dispensed with in the interior.

COMAND: navigation, entertainment and communication in one unit

For the driver and front passenger the standard COMAND APS system in the centre console is the central operating and display unit for numerous functions. The features of the extremely versatile electronic unit include a large colour display (6.5 inches) in TFT technology, a DVD player and, in conjunction with fixed-installation car telephone, all mobile communication functions: Short Message Service (write, edit, send), WAP, email and Internet-based online services.

The driver and front passenger are able to select the different systems by pressing a button next to the colour display. They are operated using the controls on the right side of the unit, where the functions can be activated by pressing the integral "OK" key. The driver is also able to input instructions to the COMAND system using the illuminated keys on the four-spoke steering wheel: sound volume, receiving incoming calls, ending calls, telephone directory, station search and track search in CD mode. The corresponding information is then displayed both on the COMAND screen and in the central display in the instrument cluster, where it is always in the driver's field of vision.

Other features and capabilities of the COMAND system include:

  • Car radio (VHF, MW, LW) with twin VHF tuner operation and aerial diversity;
  • Memory positions for ten stations per wavelength;
  • Connectors for an external CD-changer, MP3 player and cassette player;
  • Fixed sound settings for classical music, speech and pop music.

The DVD player will play both audio CDs and video DVDs, so the front occupants are also able to watch films on the colour screen - though not while on the move. Up to a road speed of approx. eight km/h it is also possible to receive TV pictures on the COMAND screen.

Navigation: dynamic route guidance based on up-to-date traffic information

COMAND APS features a navigation computer with an integral DVD player. The data stored on the DVD include the entire European road network as well as additional information such as the locations of filling stations, railway stations, airports, hotels or restaurants. The driver is able to choose between three route modes: dynamic route guidance, fastest route or shortest route.

In dynamic route guidance mode the system also takes into account up-to-date information about the traffic and road conditions which is broadcast via the Traffic Message Channel (TMC) of the Radio Data System (RDS). These reports are free of charge and currently available to drivers in Germany and the Netherlands. The system is presently being prepared for use in other European countries.

Online services: WAP service, email and the Internet while on the move

The fixed telephone installed in the Maybach provides the technical basis for various telematic, information and mobility services. It can also be used by the rear seat passengers to e.g.

  • ...send or receive messages by the Short Message Service (SMS) within Europe and the USA;
  • the Internet by WAP service anywhere in Europe and send or receive emails;
  • ...connect to the Internet-based "Mercedes Benz Portal" to access various personal services. This service is available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Passengers are able to use these online services on both colour monitors in the rear section of the Maybach.

In conjunction with the optional business package which Maybach is able to provide by individual arrangement with the customer the electronics engineers in Sindelfingen can also connect a high-performance notebook computer to the telephone system. In addition to fax reception this makes even more extensive Internet communication facilities available.


Modern telematics assist the owner when maintaining the Maybach: shortly before the next service is due the car telephone in the Maybach automatically sends all the required information relating to the vehicle's condition and any necessary maintenance work to the Customer Assistance Centre, which in turn advises the relevant Personal Liaison Manager who will arrange all the necessary further steps with the customer.

Maybach 62 Engine
No. of cylinders/arrangement 12/V, 3 valves per cylinder
Displacement cc 5513
Bore x stroke mm 82.0 x 87.0
Rated output kW/hp 405/550 at 5250 rpm
Rated torque Nm 900 at 2300-3000 rpm
Compression ratio 9.0:1
Mixture formation Microprocessor-controlled petrol injection with hot film air mass measurement (HFM); alternating current twin-spark ignition; twin turbochargers
Power transfer
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Ratios Final drive

1st gear

2nd gear

3rd gear

4th gear

5th gear







Front axle Double wishbone suspension, AIRMATIC DC fully supporting air suspension system with level control, anti-dive, torsion bar
Rear axle Multi-link independent suspension, AIRMATIC DC fully supporting air suspension system with level control, anti-squat and anti-dive, torsion bar stabiliser
Braking system Electrohydraulic braking system Sensotronic Brake Control, internally ventilated front and rear disc brakes, drum-type rear parking brake, ABS, Brake Assist, ESP
Steering Power-assisted recirculating-ball steering, steering damper
Wheels 8 J x 19
Wheelbase mm 3827
Track width front/rear mm 1675/1695
Overall length mm 6165
Overall width mm 1980
Overall height mm 1573
Turning circle m 14.8
Boot capacity max.* l 605
Payload acc. to EC kg 525 (acc. to DIN: 600 kg)
Gross vehicle weight kg 3380
Tank capacity/of which reserve l 110/14
< Published 2 July 2002 Melanie Carter

The information contained this Mercedes Benz Maybach news article may have changed since publication on the 2 July 2002. Our car specifications, reviews, and prices may only apply to the UK market. You may wish to check with the manufacturer or your local Mercedes Benz dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce our car news in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2018