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:
All posts tagged Supercharged
Oh, how I do love the comparos! Today I’ve worked up a third tuner comparison, because frankly this interesting trio was just a bit too good to pass up – as were the other BMWs! But unlike the factory sourced Dinan and Alpina modded cars from earlier, this comparison focuses on some unusual Porsches. Supercharging isn’t the typical choice for the flat-6, but the bolt-on horsepower results are undeniable, bringing the normal flat-6 quickly up to Turbo levels of power. I have three generations compiled here, all popular in their own right but for different reasons. Which is the winner?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 on eBay
For many years, my trips to Lime Rock Park in the Coupe GT for Patroon Chapter BMWCCA driver’s events were accompanied by a similar soul; there was a ’84 Volkswagen Jetta GLi that seemed to always be joining me. On paper, the two were probably quite similar in terms of all-out speed; the Jetta had less power, but was also quite a bit lighter than the Coupe. But in fast corners, the better balance of the GT and equal-length driveshafts meant it was a bit easier to carry speed and get power down. Over the years, we both modified our cars in turn. I went to a Ground Control coilover suspension and steadily upgraded the engine and he followed suit. Squint a bit, and in the first generation Jetta you can see the similarities to the Audi GT. Both were Giugiaro designs as was the original Golf/Rabbit; but the Jetta went slightly upscale compared to the Golf. Ironically, in recent years that role has reversed – top of the range Golfs are even more expensive than mid-range Passats. But in the early 1980s, Volkswagen made the U.S. market A1 Jetta have slightly better interiors and, aside from the obvious trunk, a different grill with 4 rectangular sealed-beam headlights led the way – very similar to the U.S. spec Audi GT. They were available in 2 or 4-door configuration with a range of motors which matched the Rabbit; trim levels were base “L”, upscale “GL” and performance oriented “GLi”. Today, Jettas are far less common to come across than the more popular Rabbit variants, especially when they’re in the condition of this Inari Silver example:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Volkswagen Jetta Coupe on eBay
The supercar market has always been a bit perplexing to me; get past the glam and the glitz of these showstopping performance machines, and they generally are seldom used toys that depreciate quickly. You don’t hear about someone having saved money their entire life and walking down to a McLaren dealership to buy a P1, for example. That means once they’re no longer grabbing headlines, the well-heeled owners move on to the newest, biggest and best thing to impress their friends. Back up a decade and there was a massive showdown in 2003 between the Porsche Carrera GT and the Mercedes-Benz McLaren. With nearly equal power output, price and performance, one would have presumed that in today’s market they’d share equal value. Both were and are very special cars, and similar production numbers made it to the United States. But today a good Carrera GT will set you back half a million dollars, while you can grab the McLaren for less than $200,000 today: