Words courtesy of Karsten Weiss, photos by Vincent
With the Maybach badge re-established as the top trim-line of the Mercedes S-Class in its superb limousine in 2015, Mercedes added a Maybach S650 cabriolet at the end of 2016 to go on sale in spring 2017. It’s flashier design and increased horse-power would soon be carried over into the limousine’s early facelift (MOPF). The exclusive convertible is/was produced in limited numbers of 300 vehicles costing $300,000 each. This week Norev released its dealer edition of the top end open Merc in the red in which the vehicle was launched.
As a difference to the “ordinary” S-class convertible the Maybach has Swarovski-headlights, chromed front grille mesh inserted with a “Maybach” script to the star´s right, a brand new chrome front splitter, a discreet Maybach badge on either side just between doors and front wheels, chrome applications along its side, a “Maybach” script on the boot, another Maybach badge on the parcel-shelf, more “Maybach” scripts in the cabin on the steering wheel as well as on the centre consoles front and rear and forged rims (not badged Maybach, but with the Mercedes star) exclusively sold with this cabriolet.
As an extra, each vehicle comes with an exclusive set of bags made from the same leather as the interior. Oh, and if anyone has still missed the fact that it is an exclusive car, they remind the occupants on the centre console that this “1 of 300”. And … it is all there on Norev’s model!
The red paint job is on par with top end model manufacturers and absolutely flawless and most of the exclusive Maybach features are not only present but well executed: The front chrome splitter frame is shiny and well-attached without any gaps to the rest of the front. The double horizontal bar and star across the grille and in the rear bumper are shiny chromed plastic, too, and the door handle-top-covers, Maybach badges and scripts on the exterior are all shiny photo-etched pieces. The credible concave rims are shiny plastic, too, but details like the star are not as well executed as on Almost Real´s limo. With all this shiny chrome, the applications along the convertible’s side, which ought to be of the same appearance, stand out because they are merely painted on in a less shiny silver. That is a little disappointing.
I have to give Norev credit for the headlights, though, as the lamps are reasonably detailed, the glittery Swarovski-effect has been achieved and, most of all, there are no visible signs of how the lights are clipped onto the body as on other Norevs. Well done!
The rear lights are a little more detailed in their red sections than the Almost Real taillights. However, depending on the angle, the lights’ white sections on the boot lid look misaligned with the rest of the lights left and right of the boot. The red reflectors above the chromed double-exhausts have their mounting-pins all-too-visible (as on most Norevs) as a small dark dot.
Opening hood and trunk is a little disappointing: Under the hood, you have an all-covered-up V12 that ought to be the same as in Almost Real´s limo, but it´s just not as good as theirs. The hood has tight panel gaps that leave your fingernails no chance to open it without pressing the release-button underneath the model’s front, but then it opens hinged on mere doglegs, struts nowhere to be seen. But what did I expect, it’s a Norev, no Almost Real. The front grille looked like it could be break-through real mesh, but is only a chrome-pattern-printed plate without any elevations or details like front cameras. In the boot, low and behold, you do find the exclusive bag-set. However, being the worst part of the model, it does not look remotely like leather, more like a set of hard sides, really. Maybe I will give some self-adhesive eco-leather customization. Until then, let’s slam the trunk close.
The open-to-the-elements cabin immediately visible on display is better, fully carpeted and has the correct “Maybach” treadplates on its thresholds. In fact, Norev has done a good job on the seats’ quilted pattern, better than AUTOart’s Maybach-Mercedes IMO. Only the AIRSCARF outlets in the headrests look a bit strange. The seatbelts are fabric with photo-etched buckles on all for seats, the red paint on the locks seems to have bled further than intended, though. Norev have replicated the “flowing lines” effect on the trim around the cabin and the effect is more credible than the CLS´s veneer pattern. The shiny smoothness of piano varnish is of course not achieved. On the centre armrest, the embossed Maybach badge is missing.
Everything silver in the cabin is done by matte silver colour. That is credible for some parts, but others like the Burmester speaker covers would be better if they were like on the Almost Real. On the other hand, AUTOart defaulted on that too and it is admirable how some of the paint-prints yet successfully depict speaker details, with the exception of the large one on the doors. On the semi-circle of silvery buttons around where the gear-lever would be on other cars and the command-thingy is replicated credibly here, Norev seems to have been unable to apply two colours: The frontal ones have the warning triangle for the hazards and other black dots, but no silver underneath. Similar dabs were applied to some the pre-moulded door-buttons, although the intuitive seat-settings prove the potential. Do I start to become picky?
To come to a conclusion, you may have noticed how I have used the recent Almost Real release as a benchmark here, as it is a Maybach, too, and therefore offering itself to a comparison. Furthermore, Almost Real seems to be the winner in achieving top-notch quality and offering excellent value for money in the 360-degree-access diecast category.
So for a fair conclusion, we have to ask: What does the Maybach S 650 Cabriolet cost? Now, on the first weekend, a few retailers who had been able to prematurely offer this model successfully sold all of their stock for a hefty 160 EUR, while the Mercedes dealer will sell it at a recommended price of 140 with some of them accepting offers on eBay at a minimum of 125. So, given the distance between this model and the Almost Real both in terms of price and quality, I would regard 160 as overpriced by far, 140 still a bit on the expensive side and 125 as acceptable if you insist on getting it in the car´s launch colour. If you can patiently wait until January 2019 and would want to add it to your collection in a light Cote d’Azure Blue, you will only have to pay 95 EUR for the “ordinary” Norev version. And that’s definitely a fair price. But the closer to 200, the more I’d want to see Almost Real quality. Enjoy the pics and decide for yourselves!