Mercedes-Benz is launching worldwide trials of the Maybach this month.
The super-luxury car was unveiled as a design study at the Tokyo auto show three years ago. Now the first of about 20 running prototypes has been built.
The Maybach is 5800mm long, 600mm longer than the Mercedes S600. When it enters production it will be powered by a twin-turbo V-12 engine and use an air suspension system.
The Maybach is named after Wilhelm Maybach, a close friend of Gottlieb Daimler, who helped develop the first Daimler cars. Maybach's son Karl built large, luxury cars bearing the Maybach name.
The new Maybach will go on sale in 2003.