These are some of the fastest luxury cars on the planet.
Back in the 1980s, Mercedes-Benz wasn't associated with the idea of a fast car. It was all about comfort and refinement, but a German man named Bodo Buschmann wanted his Mercedes to have more refinement, and to go very, very fast. Mostly, he wanted more power, and when he realized that custom and tuning houses couldn't do what he wanted, he decided to tread his own path. Brabus GmbH was originally registered in 1977, the name a portmanteau of Buschmann's and his partner Klaus Brackmann's surnames. Brackmann was only involved as German law required two people to start a company, and he promptly sold his shares to Buschmann for a token amount of money.
While Brabus will work on a customer's car or sell a completed vehicle with interior upgrades and cosmetic modification, the company is mainly about powerful engines. That dedication to speed has turned Brabus into a company that people from all over the world seek out when they want something special. And Brabus has delivered some truly extreme and exciting vehicles in its 40+ year history.
In the 1980s, the BMW M3 was king of the sport sedan. It was agile and quick and put German sedans on the map as sporty cars. Mercedes response was the more famous Evolution and Evolution II versions of the Mercedes 190 E, both using a tuned version of the original 2.5-liter engine. AMG had its own approach to making the Mercedes 190 E more powerful with its 190 E 3.2 AMG version. Brabus took the numbers higher with a 3.6-liter engine and then put the 190 E on a diet. The weight loss combined with 270 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque made for something extremely quick for the time. A sprint from 0-62 mph took only 6.3 seconds, and a 3.6 S Lightweight could hit 173 mph.
Brabus' habit of taking a Mercedes-Benz E-Class and poking it with a V12 started with the W124 generation. The W210 was a more luxurious mid-size sedan, but even with a V8 under the hood, it didn't have the punch Brabus was looking for. So, in shoehorned a V12 from a Mercedes SL, but not before it was bored out to 7.3 liters. The end result was an iron fist in a velvet glove. The Brabus E V12 made 590 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque and a top speed of 206 mph that took it into the Guinness Book Of World Records as the fastest sedan on the planet. That also made it three mph faster than a Lamborghini Diablo.
The 1990s saw the rise of the SUV, and the first generation of the M-Class could be optioned with a hefty 5.4-liter V8 under the hood. Brabus pulled that out and put in a V12 with a new crankshaft and forged pistons instead, creating a 590-hp monster with 569.4 lb-ft of torque on tap. When it hit a 162 mph top speed, the Brabus M V12 followed the Brabus E V12 into the Gluiness Book of Records as the fastest SUV on the road.
The Mercedes G63 AMG 6x6 is an insane work of pointless fun with its three axles and 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V8 making 536 hp and 576 lb-ft of torque. Brabus told AMG to hold its beer, and gave it a pair of new turbos, got their finest engineering nerds working on the engine management system, fitting an enormous exhaust system, and unleashing 700 hp and 708 lb-ft to all six wheels because, presumably, they could. We don't really care why; we just love that it exists. A couple of details we love is that it has gold material wrapped around the engine intakes to keep them cool, and carbon-fiber bodywork to make it lighter.
The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was jointly developed between Mercedes and McLaren and is a piece of modern automotive mastery. It featured cutting edge technology like active aerodynamics, carbon-ceramic brakes operated through a brake-by-wire system, AMG's Speedshift R transmission, and a hand-built supercharged all-aluminum alloy V8 making 617 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque. It has been known to hit 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and 100 mph in 7.5 seconds.
Brabus gave it a special self-locking differential, new aerodynamic parts to improved directional stability, multi-piece Brabus Monoblock VI 20-inch light-alloy wheels, upgraded suspension, a Brabus interior, and then got to work on the engine. Brabus treated the SLR to performance-improving fuel cooling, custom camshafts, an open exhaust system, and ultimately delivered 660 hp to anyone with a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and truckload of cash.
For those thinking that the lunacy of a 6.2-liter V8 powered Mercedes-AMG C63 just wouldn't excite them enough, Brabus did the decent thing and swapped out the V8 for a twin-turbo V12 of similar size. That gave the owner 720 hp to play with as well as redesigned front carbon fiber apron, an aluminum hood with ventilation slots, a three-piece carbon fiber rear spoiler, and a carbon fiber rear apron with an integrated diffuser. The modifications didn't end with the engine and bodywork, and also featured height-adjustable Brabus coil-over suspension with ten selectable settings each, and a whole new brake system that included 12-piston aluminum fixed front calipers. The ballistic Bullit is capable of hitting 224 mph and then trying to push your eyeballs out on the way back to zero.
If you wanted an E-Class back in 2009 and thought it didn't look evil enough, then you were in luck if you also wanted 800 hp to play with. You also needed to write a check for $875,000, but, in return, you got to tell people you drove a Brabus Black Baron that burned through tires with the 811 lb-ft torque supplied by the twin-turbo 6.3-liter V12. Incredibly, the torque was electronically limited from the 1,047 lb-ft it actually made and presumably in the interest of not twisting the axle off the car.
The Black Baron was also limited to 217 mph from an estimated 230 mph and had an all-new aero kit to improve aerodynamics, engine cooling, and brake cooling. It also featured fully adjustable sports suspension, new stabilizers, a high-performance braking system, and black 19-inch alloy wheels. We're just not sure about those wheel covers, although nobody is going to mistake it for a first-generation Honda Insight.
The Maybach badge represents a new layer of luxury over the pinnacle of German automotive progress that is the Mercedes S-Class. With a Brabus badge, it represents all of that plus the ability to hit 62 mph in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 220 mph. Brabus can't seem to look at a V12 without making some adjustments, and, in this case, the company took the Mercedes engine already in the Maybach S650 L and uprated it to make 630 hp and a bracing 1,106 ft-lb of torque. Brabus also went to work on the bodywork and interior to make sure the 900 is the epitome of luxury and power.
Brabus understands that your G-Wagen doesn't have to have six wheels to be crazy. This particular piece of inspired lunacy has all the ruggedness of the last-generation G-Wagen while housing an uprated 6.3-liter V12 making an insane 900 hp. If you prefer the look of the new generation G-Wagen but lament Mercedes' decision to drop the V12 from the lineup, Brabus also put the 900 hp engine with 1106 lb-ft of torque in that for a limited run. For this one, the bodywork is modified to take a set of 23-inch forged wheels, and it features a Brabus-tuned dynamic suspension and high-performance braking system.
If you're hankering to drive the world's fastest four-seater convertible car, then, again, Brabus has you covered. The Brabus Rocket 900 Cabrio takes the Mercedes S65's elegance and increases the V12 twin-turbo engine's displacement from 6.0 liters to 6.2. Brabus waves its magic wand, and the engine makes the 900 hp as well as 1,106 lb-ft of electronically limited torque. Add some aerodynamic-enhancements, 21-inch hi-tech forged wheels, and an immaculately finished Brabus fine-leather interior, and you have one of the wildest four-seater open-topped cars on the planet.