From in-house legends to aftermarket monsters.
The Mercedes-Benz Brand is one synonymous with class, luxury, and timeless elegance, but also with hoonery, tire smoke, and loud, thundering V8 and V12 engines. For many, it’s the perfect base from which to build a serious monster. With that in mind, we decided to find the coolest and craziest projects based on Mercedes-Benz vehicles – everything from in-house creations to crazy Brabus tuners – celebrating the potential within the Mercedes brand.
As far as Merc-based projects go, this one is pretty badass. The regular Mercedes-AMG G63 6x6 is no toy to start with; it’s a military-purpose engineered behemoth with 6-wheel-drive, numerous locking differentials, low range transfer case, and a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 cranking out 536 hp. But when Brabus – famous for developing monstrous Mercs – get its hands on the G63 6x6, the wick is turned way, way up, rigging new turbos with a new engine tune to work 700 hp from the 5.5-liter displacement. It’s enough to take the 4-ton monster from 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds, while having no negative effects on its off-road ability.
Built to rival Aston martin’s Valkyrie, and using its own Formula 1 expertise, the forthcoming Mercedes-AMG (Project) One is an immense undertaking. Making use of a hybrid drivetrain, including a road-legalized version of the 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 from the W07 Formula 1 car, power outputs are expected to reach a maximum of 1,231 hp channeled to all four corners. A planned production run of 275 units is expected between 2020 and 2021, but now, two years before production even begins, they’re already sold out for a price of $2.72-million each. This is one time that an in-house development well and truly exceeds any madness an outsider could create.
The Mercedes-AMG GT has been a wonderful rival to the Porsche 911, but if you really want to take on the 911, you need a GT3-slayer. The AMG GT R Pro takes the already impressive GT R, and while retaining the 577 horsepower tune of its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, works on all things aerodynamic and handling-wise to make the snarling sports car go quicker around a racetrack. It’s already 7 seconds quicker around the Nurburgring than the standard AMG GT R, and it’s thanks to weight reduction, stiffer suspension, and more aero efficiency – all learned from the brand’s GT3 and GT4 racing exploits.
Before the AMG GT, the SLS AMG was the gullwing-equipped super-GT halo for the German marque. But right at the very top of the SLS hierarchy sat the Black Series, replete with a 622-hp tune on the 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine. It featured a fixed wing, weight reduction, better aero, and enhanced suspension compared to the standard SLS, and could cover the 0-60 mph sprint in quicker than 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 196 mph. Despite being older and heavier than the AMG GT R – owing to its GT nature – it’d still give the new kid a tough time on the street. It was also particularly rare, with only 132 of them brought into the United States. Consider this one a future classic.
The S-Class is one of Mercedes' longest standing model ranges – the epitome of class, luxury, and refinement that the brand has modeled itself around. Even the AMG models are merely quicker versions of utmost opulence. Well, the Brabus Rocket 900 throws caution to the wind, winding up a Mercedes-Maybach S650 to new extremes. Brabus takes the standard 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12, bores it out to 6. -liters, then fits a new exhaust manifold, new turbochargers, a special crankshaft, and forged pistons, with the resultant power output leaping from 530 hp to 888 death-defying horsepower. All the luxury is still there, only now the journey is over before you get to enjoy any of it.
Mercedes-Benz officially acquired AMG in 1999, but shortly before that, the pair worked on an FIA GT1 racecar together – the CLK GTR. Cheekily developed using a rival McLaren F1 GTR for developmental purposes, the CLK GTR never quite reached its full on-track potential. But in 1999 when the FIA GT1 classes were canceled, AMG followed through on homologation promises and built 26 road-legal specimens of the CLK GTR, including six roadsters. They featured a mid-mounted 6.9-liter V12 developing 612 hp and 572 lb-ft, a 6-speed sequential transmission, and carbon fiber bodywork, and they’re seen as the predecessor to the upcoming Mercedes-AMG Project One.
Remember that bygone era when luxury vehicles were the size of yachts? Well, it seems Mercedes yearns for those days, and the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet concept is proof. The gorgeously styled soft-top cabriolet is the epitome of luxury, with a design characterized by the long, swooping form and cab-back stance of classic machines, with the concept measuring 18.7 ft. Its designed to be electric too, with 740 hp on offer and an electric range of more than 200 miles. While we wait to see if the concept becomes reality, its a reminder that Mercedes knows luxury better than anyone!
When German tuner Hamann Motorsport decided to create a wide-bodied monstrosity based on the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S, this was the result. The 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 under the coupe-SUV’s hood was tuned to a hellraising 680 hp, up 95 from the standard car, while torque rises by 103 lb-ft to 664 lb-ft.
Flared arches, new bodywork, a carbon fiber hood, and new exhausts all complete the package, giving the GLC63 S Coupe the menacing visuals to accompany the upgraded performance stats. And if you were wondering just how fast the Hamann GLE 63 S can go, it’ll top out at 186 mph.
Next year marks three decades since Carlsson began its foray into the aftermarket world, specializing in “the refinement of Mercedes-Benz” – as if Mercedes needs outside refinement. Carlsson’s work isn’t all that bad though, and in the case of the CC63S, the already accomplished C63 S was transformed into a machine befitting of the tag ‘Thunder Saloon.'
Starting outside, Carlsson created a carbon-fiber aerodynamic body kit and added a sports exhaust before turning its attention to the engine bay, where the 500-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 was turned into a fire-breathing 625-hp monster. Unlike the AMG E63 S that makes do with all-wheel drive, the CC63S remains rear-wheel driven, so the 0-62 mph time of just 3.8 seconds is only hampered by the fight between the laws of physics can command limits of adhesion.
One of the rarest and largest displacement AMGs ever built is last on our list. Only 85 of them were produced, from 1997 to 2001, and the Mercedes-Benz SL73 AMG was equipped with a 7.3-liter V12 engine that developed 518 hp and 553 lb-ft. It carried the SL73 to 186 mph after a 0-60 mph sprint of 4.8 seconds – rapid for its time. Although provided by AMG and Mercedes, you had to buy an SL600 first, and then hand the car to AMG for the upgrade. The upgraded engine famously lived on for many years as the driving force behind the much-loved Pagani Zonda.