Mercedes's belated and borderline cynical attempt to compete with new ultra-luxury all-new cars by Rolls Royce and Bentley began in 2002 and finally crashed last year. Based on a stretched S-class platform but significantly gaudier, Maybachs always seemed most suitable for ferrying Middle East oil sheiks. Owners were encouraged to ride in the rear -- the better to enjoy airline-style reclining seats, vibrating cushions, and beverage coolers -- and leave the driving to someone else. It didn't help that the Maybach name chosen by Mercedes was familiar only to a few automotive historians. It's estimated a mere 38 Maybachs were sold in the U.S. in 2011 and another 50 in 2012 as the brand closed down.
Some of these new cars are already scheduled for earlier-than-usual facelifts. The rest of them are already overdue.