What If... Mercedes Diluted the Maybach Brand with a Less Pricey Mercedes-Maybach C-Class?

Mercedes-Maybach C-Class rendering 10 photos
Photo: Joao Kleber Amaral for autoevolution
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Usually, when you try to sell something that goes against your brand image, that product is not going to do very well. Of course, when it comes to automobiles, it’s all in the marketing strategy, because if you plan it just right, you could sell just about anything.
A Porsche SUV? Check. A Porsche compact SUV? Check. A Lamborghini SUV? Check. Rolls-Royce SUV? Check. Also, Ferrari’s SUV is coming along and, well, you get the picture. Nothing is sacred anymore and if it can happen to the likes of Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce, it can certainly happen to Maybach, or Mercedes-Maybach, as they like to call themselves now.

It used to be that a Maybach was a standalone S-Class derivative that looked considerably posher than its more popular sibling. I’m talking about the iconic 57 and 62-series models. Then came the likes of the Mercedes-Maybach S 600, the S 500, S 600 Pullman, S 550, S 650, S 650 Cabriolet, G 650 Landaulet and most recently, the GLS 600 - among others.

Don’t worry, the German carmaker isn’t on its way to making a Maybach variant of the A-Class, but according to Mercedes themselves, we might just get an “entry-level” luxury model, which they’ve already teased back in May during their “Economics of Desire” presentation.

This upcoming model appears to have a sleek silhouette, a long hood, short trunk lid and sharp horizontal graphics for the LED headlights. It looked more like a Lexus than a Mercedes-Maybach car, but whatever, it’s still too early to draw any conclusions.

What we can do is revisit what makes Maybach such a great entity and then consider how the automotive landscape would react to a hypothetical Mercedes-Maybach C-Class model, because that would pretty much be the definition of entry-level, as far as this sub-brand is concerned.

Mercedes\-Maybach C\-Class rendering
Photo: Joao Kleber Amaral for autoevolution
Now, those who think Maybach only ever existed as a Mercedes-Benz derivative, rest assured that’s not the case. In fact, the company was founded way back in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach, working alongside his son, Karl Maybach.

At first, all they did was build engines for Zeppelins and rail cars, with their first ever prototype introduced a good 10 years later, in 1919. While they didn’t exit the marine and aircraft business altogether (Maybach still made engines for airships during World War I, and then tank engines in WW2...for the losing side), they did go on to manufacture a wide range of luxurious passenger vehicles.

By the time Daimler-Benz purchased the company, it was already 1960 and Maybach’s days of building standalone models were over. They went on to make special edition Mercedes models for a while, but nothing as spectacular as the Maybach 57 and Maybach 62, both of which went into production in the early 2000s.

One can’t help but wonder what the designers of the 57 and 62 would think about a C-Class-based Mercedes-Maybach car. On one hand, it makes absolutely no sense, but on the other hand, it might appeal to people who can’t afford any of the flagship cars, but still want something with a posh badge – you know, in case having a regular Mercedes model just doesn’t float your boat.

Mercedes\-Maybach C\-Class rendering
Photo: Joao Kleber Amaral for autoevolution
In a way, we’ve already seen something very similar in China, where Mercedes will happily sell you a long-wheelbase variant of the latest C-Class, which in a way looks like a small Maybach.

Still, we’d rather you feast your eyes on our exclusive rendering of the Mercedes-Maybach C-Class, featuring Maybach-derived styling cues such as a stylish grille, new wheels, a two-tone exterior and of course, Maybach branding. It even projects a Maybach logo on the ground, instead of the Mercedes-Benz star.

How successful such a car might be depends entirely on how much it would cost. For example, a 2022 C 300 sedan is priced from $43,550 in the United States, and if you make it as posh as possible, you could easily double that MSRP, especially if you also add a Maybach-worthy power unit, which, let’s face it, you’d have to.
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About the author: Sergiu Tudose
Sergiu Tudose profile photo

Sergiu got to experience both American and European car "scenes" at an early age (his father drove a Ford Fiesta XR2 supermini in the 80s). After spending over 15 years at local and international auto publications, he's starting to appreciate comfort behind the wheel more than raw power and acceleration.
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