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Friday, May 6, 2011

Brabus Takes Downsized Mercedes-Benz V-8s and Upsizes Their Power

Brabus, the Mercedes-Benz tuning company that has long specialized in granting Benzes more power than anyone thought imaginable, is in serious trouble. It’s under fire from a new competitor: not Lorinser, not Renntech, and not Kleeman. No, the threat to Brabus in the insane-horsepower-for-Benzes battle comes from Mercedes-Benz itself. The new twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V-8, being deployed throughout the Mercedes-Benz range in models like the CL550, and eventually the S550 and E550, makes 429 hp. A new twin-turbo V-8 from AMG displaces 5.5 liters, and in cars like the S63 and CLS63, will product a whopping 536 hp. What’s Brabus to do but offer still more power for these cars?

How Does 610 hp Sound?

Brabus’s ECU boost and supplementary intercooler result in a whopping 610 hp from the S63 and CL63's 5.5-liter V-8, a 74 hp bump over stock. Torque swells accordingly, ballooning from 590 lb-ft to 737 lb-ft. Mercedes does have its own method for boosting the power of this engine: A $7300 AMG Performance package for its 5.5-liter AMG models increases power by 27 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque, but these numbers still fall short of what’s offered by the Brabus enhancements. For what it’s worth, Brabus warrantees its mods for 3 years or 62,000 miles.

For drivers of humble 550-badged Mercs—like the CLS550, CL550, and upcoming refreshed S550—with the company’s new 4.7-liter, 429-hp engine, Brabus has a pair of options to up the ante a bit. The first kit consists of an ECU upgrade that nets drivers an additional 53 hp and 59 lb-ft, bringing the totals to 482 hp and 575 lb-ft. Add Brabus’s supplementary intercooler and the totals jump to 512 hp and 604 lb-ft. Of course, shoppers eager to bring the look of their Benz up to spec with their speed can also dip into Brabus’s catalog to outfit their rides with everything from wheels to body kits to carbon-fiber accessories.

You’ll Have to Shell out for the Power

The upgrades to the 4.7-liter cars will set you back 4900 euros for the 482 hp kit, and 5900 euros for the 512 hp kit. At current exchange rates, that’s $7185 and $8652, respectively—though when these are available in the U.S., they could cost something different altogether. No pricing was announced for the 5.5-liter AMG engine upgrades. The old mantra is that there’s no replacement for displacement. Mercedes-Benz’s new twin-turbo 4.7- and 5.5.-liter engines go far to disprove this—but the power mongers at Brabus push it further still.

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