I don’t think many people would consider Brabus to be a particularly conservative tuner. However, something interesting has occurred since AMG was brought in-house by Mercedes-Benz; Brabus has rather turned into what AMG was in the 1980s. Just like AMG used to offer, Brabus turns up the Benz models to the next level with power increases, suspension and brake modifications and plenty of special details to help set their cars apart. And while at times they may have been garish compared to some of the more sedate AMG cars were, they’ve even become attractive – with just enough flare to make their modifications stand apart without being outrageous. Of course, there’s one major difference; AMG started with stock Mercedes-Benz models, while Brabus is standing on the shoulders of the already turned-up AMG models. The result is supercar performance from an unexpected package, such as this R230 SL55 K8:
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Last week around this time, I wrote up a 850 horsepower Brabus-modified E63 Estate. In the realm of nutty cars, it would be certainly barred from coming near any schools for fear of anaphylaxis of the entire student body. It was also the best part of a third of a million dollars, more money than most of America will ever dream of having at one time and even in New England, an amount that would get you a nice home. But in that post, our reader Craig posted a link to a much more affordable option; a W124 300TE Estate modified by Brabus for sale in Germany. Does it scratch the itch or do you need an EpiPen?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 300TE Brabus on eBay.de
We’re pretty much all big fans of fast wagons at German Cars For Sale Blog, but over the past few years the number of offerings has steadily dried up. We’ve never received the hot versions of the M5 Touring or RS6 Avant, for example, and steadily even the quick versions of the Audi and Volkswagen wagons have left these shores too. That leaves fast wagon fans to look towards only two places in the last few years; Cadillac, oddly, with the CTS-V wagon and the last German holdout, Mercedes-Benz. It’s somewhat odd that Mercedes-Benz has upped the nuttiness in its large E-class wagon too, since it never really took part in the original Wagon Wars between its countrymen. True, there were some limited number AMG conversions done in the late 80s/early 90s, but for the most part Mercedes-Benz had stayed away until recently. Then, a few years ago, it started offering AMG-enhanced versions of the E-Class Estate; first in 55, then later 63 form. If you can get by the strange numbering system that doesn’t correspond to the actual engine under the hood, that leaves you with one of the fastest wagons made out of the box. Walk down to your local Mercedes-Benz dealer and you can order up one of these W212 Estates with a staggering 577 horsepower in “S” form. That was a true supercar number not very long ago, but it comes wrapped in the guise of a sensible wagon with all-wheel drive and a slick 7-speed automatic transmission. Of course, it’s heavy…so it only does 0-60 runs in 3.6 seconds. That means you won’t be able to keep up with your neighbor’s new BMW M6 Gran Coupe, which does the run in 3.1 seconds. Time to hit the Brabus gym, then…
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2014 Brabus 850 on Brabus.com
I know that we don’t spend much time on newer Mercedes-Benz products. Well, truth told we don’t spend much time on any newer cars. There are a few reasons; for one, they’re more readily available. I mean, pop on eBay right now and you can have your choice of color, transmission, year, wheel selection and packages of any newer Porsche, BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz. So it takes something special for them to stand out a bit for us to take notice. Unfortunately, in my mind most newer Mercedes-Benz models stick out for all of the wrong reasons. Have you ever seen one of those commercials for a local ‘Octoberfest’ celebration? Predictably, they have some poor interpretation of an Oom-pah band in traditional clothing playing a semi-Germanic tune. It always seems a bit forced, much like humor coming from a native German. To me, the newer Mercedes-Benz products are like those commercials. “Ja, of course vee are German!” they seem to shout – while to me, the still retain vestiges of the merger with Chrysler. They’re a bit ostentatious, and while I know they’re motivated by some serious Nimitz-class firepower it just doesn’t really make them appealing to me.
It wasn’t always this way. Go back a generation or two and the cars were still much more refined. I wouldn’t describe them all as the most attractive cars that were on the market, but they retained the understated approach that made Mercedes-Benz famous. In fact, you had to bring your Merc to a tuner to make it ostentatious back in the 1990s. One of the best at making over-the-top Mercedes back then was Brabus. So what do you get when you take an already over-the-top CLS63 AMG and let bonkers Brabus breath on it today?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Brabus B63 on eBay
For today’s Wednesday Wheels I have some more affordable options and some of my favorite aftermarket wheels. I’ve been neglecting Brabus for Mercedes-Benz, but they make some great looking wheels that are just subtle enough to look slightly different than stock but more aggressive. It’s an understated look that can really dress the car up. I love the BBS Mahle wheels in the right offset on early BMWs, even if they are only 14″ wheels. Try getting good tires for those today! The Speedline MIM wheels are some of my favorites and rare to see, and I just love how those Empi wheels look on early VWs. Another rare set is the Fittipaldi/OZ 3-piece wheels, though they may be better suited to a track car. All of these are cool to see for one reason or another – what’s your favorite?