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Maybach adds scent and bling

For the first time wealthy owners of the updated German limousine can request a high-quality perfume flask for their cars. At the touch of a button the flask sprays a fragrance of the owner's choice around the cabin.

The perfume dispenser is one of several lavish new touches. Buyers can also specify hand-braided piping on the seats with insets of Swarovski crystals, wireless internet access and a 19-inch high-resolution colour television for rear passengers. Egocentric owners can even have their name embossed into the rear glass privacy screen.

Despite only a handful being sold here, Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman, Peter Fadeyev, says both the short-wheelbase 57 and longer wheelbase 62 and S versions are still available.

"We have a dedicated Maybach department to deal with customers who want the car," he says. Because of the unlimited range of paint, upholstery and trim options, customers are guided through the fitout process on a one-to-one basis.

Globally the super luxury flagship of the Daimler range has never enjoyed the same success off the Rolls-Royce Phantom. The Phantom has outsold the German car around the world by a significant margin. Even the "baby" Ghost, at $695,000, already has more than 30 committed Australian buyers.

In an effort to move the Maybach further away from the premium long-wheelbase S-Class sedan, Mercedes has finessed it with new wheels, paint schemes and other cosmetic touches. The grille is bigger and now cuts into the bumper to give the car more presence while LED daytime running lights have been added under the bumper.

Power is up 13kW to 463kW/1000Nm for the V12 in the 57 S and 62 S, but the standard 57 and 62 make do with the twin-turbocharged 410kW/900Nm 5.5-litre twin-turbo Mercedes-Benz V12. However, the Euro 5 compliant 12-cylinder engine has been tweaked for slightly better economy and lower emissions.

Fadeyev says few customers cross-shop against a top-end 6.0-litre S-Class 65 AMG, which costs $482,900. "They really are two completely different cars with different customers," he says. "And the Maybach is double the price."

According to VFACTS sales figures, since it was launched locally in March 2004, just 10 Maybachs have been sold. If the perfume bottle does not get them over the line Maybach buyers also get the security of a four-year/unlimited warranty that includes all scheduled services.