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Maybach is a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler

  • Mercedes-Benz Maybach

In the 1920s and 1930s, Mercedes-Benz and Maybach were the leading luxury car brands in Europe. Maybach - established by Wilhelm Maybach, who had designed the first Mercedes car in 1901 - stood for the ultimate in exclusivity and elegance. Now Mercedes brings back the marque this fall in Europe and in the spring to the United States. Nearly every detail of the ultra luxury sedans, available as the Maybach 57 and the longer Maybach 62, will be "commissioned" by the prospective owner, so no two will be alike. Mercedes says 2 million permutations are possible. Both models will be outfitted with a 550-horsepower, 5.5-liter, 12-cylinder engine equipped with twin turbochargers.

Gadgets and innovations: Ten airbags are standard. Options include custom-made luggage and golf bags, champagne goblets of sterling silver, a humidor, heated steering wheel and fluffy rugs for the floors. The rear seats recline like those in an airplane's business-class cabin. Front and rear seats are ventilated to cool and warm and have individual climate controls. The panoramic glass roof goes dark when low voltage is applied. The glass partition between driver and passenger comes with an intercom. Ultrasonic sensors in front and back help the driver park. Keyless-Go automatically unlocks the door and trunk as the driver approaches.

Telematics: "Linguatronic" voice control operates the audio, communication and navigation systems. COMAND APS performs numerous functions, from operating the phone, which can be cordless with two handsets, to accessing the Internet. TeleAid provides help in emergencies with the push of a button. DVD and CD changers, MP3 player and cassette players can be installed. Every seat gets 600-watt Dolby surround sound. A refrigerated compartment accommodates beverages and snacks.

Base price range: About $300,000.

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