Maybach 57S

With 604 horsepower and a 0-to-60-mph time of 5 seconds, some Maybach 57S owners may prefer to drive the car themselves. Never mind the economy: Maybach is still making money. The 5.7-meter-long Maybach 57 and the 6.2-meter-long Maybach 62 remain—despite their bumper-to-bumper handcraftedness—serious cash cows for Germany’s Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. Derived from the previous-generation Mercedes S-class sedan, but priced some 400 percent higher, the standard 543-hp sedans (introduced for the 2004 model year) and the 604-hp “S” models (which joined the range for 2006) enjoyed some of their best sales months in summer 2009, even as the global economy softened. And yet, with Volkswagen-owned Bentley and BMW-owned Rolls-Royce pressing forward with one new model after another, Maybach has been feeling the pressure of late.

Pros: Aristocratic, swift, and airy.

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