A new record has just been set.
Minivans are not exactly the first cars that come to mind when you think of something fast, but there have been some properly quick family vans in the past. One that really stands out is the Mercedes-Benz R-Class, which came in R63 AMG flavor too. It was a car that was absolutely hideous and hasn't really gotten any better with time, but it did have the 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 from a Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 under the hood. With 503 horsepower and a top speed of 155 mph, it was crazy, but now there's an even more insane version that has been modified to be the fastest minivan in the world.
Optima Batteries - no relation to the Kia Optima - has taken the R63 AMG to another level. Weistec Engineering was brought on board with the project to help make it faster. To do this, the company strapped its Stage 2 M156 supercharger to the van with impressive results. The family car now produces a whopping 700 horsepower, thus approaching the power figures of the first Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. With racing driver Tanner Foust at the wheel, the modified R63 was able to cross the standing mile at a speed of 165.5 mph, thus making it the fastest minivan on the planet.
The successful record attempt took place on August 7 as part of a marketing campaign for the battery company but what we're really interested in is that the minivan is not only street-legal but still has its full interior. In addition, it's not so dirty as to be unable to pass a California smog test. Hopefully, this won't be the last time that we see the modified minivan in action, as we're quite curious to see if the R63 can go even faster given more space. Let's hope that other companies view this as a challenge - we'd love to see more fast vans.