"They actually built it." That was my first thought when I saw what the devil's workshop German tuner Brabus had wrought upon the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. My second thought was, "what the hell did they do to the E-Class?"
I've driven the current generation E and it's a superb vehicle. What Brabus did is to swap the engine with the V12 from the Mercedes S600 sedan, bore it to 6.3-liters of displacement, add a fully adjustable sport suspension, upgrade the brakes, and go bonkers with the body kit.
You can't call it a body kit anymore. Body kits are pieces of plastic and (supposedly) carbon fiber that attach to your car after you drive through Banawe and leave money behind. Then you drive off feeling like your penis is bigger. What Brabus did with the E-Class's body is like the stuff that comes out of Victor Frankenstein's laboratory.
Brabus has a name for this monstrosity--The Black Baron.
Like me, you might be wondering what those things where-the-rear-wheels-should-be are. Brabus simply calls them wheel covers (as if they can be found in typical Lancers and Civics), and they're needed because The Black Baron has a 400kph speedometer. And it's not just for show.
The upgraded powerplant now generates 800hp and 1,420Nm of torque (electronically limited to 1,100Nm of torque), and that means it can propel The Black Baron from 0 to 100kph in 3.7 seconds, 0-200kph in 9.9 seconds, all the way to a top speed of 350kph with the electronic limiter, and a little more than 370ph without the limiter.
Only ten will be built, and each will cost £600,000 or around P47 million, before taxes. So expect that price to double if one of them reaches Philippine soil. Which leads to the question, who in their right mind will shell out that much for an automobile? It's not that no one can, there are people who live among us who can dole out that amount and it won't even make a dent in their bank account. But what's the sense in shelling out enough money equivalent to a Ferrari 599, a Porsche 911 Turbo, a Lexus LS460L, a Mercedes-Benz S500, a BMW M3, a Mercedes-Benz C63, an Audi R8, an Audi Q7 and a couple of million loose change?
I don't think Brabus has the words "reason" and "practicality" in its vocabulary. Especially not when you build a car that can beat a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren from 0-100kph, and still seat four people in the comfort of black leather and Alcantara trim.
Brabus costumers exist in a different financial universe, where it's harder to think of what they can't afford, rather than what they can. And for those few who are mental enough to decide they want this special Brabus E-Class in their garage, they're one of the few people in the world who can say "Oh I think I'll use The Black Baron today."
Screen capture image from Brabus.com.