Being a European auto tuner is an odd thing. It takes a certain amount of chutzpa to say, "What does someone like Mercedes know about auto design? I'll show them how to really do it." Yet, there are a number of tuning firms out there, and BRABUS has been at it longer than most. The German company just took a run at Mercedes' C–Class wagon and seems to have slathered on more of everything.
The Mercedes C–Class wagon is an interesting starting point for BRABUS. The tuner usually goes for the larger offerings of the three-pointed star. BRABUS has a long history of taking a monkey wrench to the bigger, and already powerful rides offered by Mercedes.
It got its hands on the already potent Mercedes S63, getting 850 ponies out of the engine and making it look like something Emperor Palpatine would drive. The tuner massaged a G Wagen into something it termed BRABUS iBusiness, which resulted in an SUV with an 800 hp 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine. The company even had a go at a Mercedes Sprinter delivery van and turned it into something dubbed "the BRABUS Business Lounge."
So when it turns its attentions to a compact wagon better suited to picking up the kids and getting groceries, what's the result? More power, more torque, bigger wheels and tires, all sorts of sinister trim bits, interior bits-and-bobs, and black – in fact, black is everywhere on this thing. It looks like what Vlad the Impaler would drive to the office.
Yes, there are also all sorts of chassis tuning, and brake upgrades, and we'll get to those in a few moments, but the throbbing heart of the matter is this beast's engine.
Unlike previous efforts, which usually see BRABUS boring, stroking and blowing engines to insane displacements and power outputs, the company's take on the C-Class wagon saw it going with a less impactful and rather Japanese domestic market (JDM) tuner response: it monkeys with the ECU, and these computer mods work across both gasoline and diesel engines.
The performance kit for the gasoline models of the C-Class is a plug-and-play tuning module called BRABUS PowerXtra B25.2. The installation takes less than an hour (says BRABUS) and when you're done, the modified engine mapping ups the rated output by 25 kW (34 hp), while peak torque grows by 50 Nm (37 lb-ft). The new performance specs come out to 180 kW (245 hp) of power and a new peak torque figure of 400 Nm (295 lb-ft). This results in a 6.5 second jaunt from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) and a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).
Performance kits are also available for the other, smaller four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline models. The kit for the Merc C 180 gets you an extra 15 kW / 21 hp and 50 Nm (37 lb-ft) more torque, and Mercedes C 200 kit for the four-cylinder turbocharged engine adds 30 kW / 41 hp and 30 Nm (22 lb-ft) of torque with the BRABUS PowerXtra B20.2 performance kit.
Diesel engines are also seen to by the fine folks at BRABUS and the same plug-and-play scheme is at play for the oil-burners. The Mercedes C 220 BlueTEC-powered car gets a boost in power output by 26 kW (35 hp), while peak torque gets bumped by 50 Nm (37 lb-ft). This gives the driver a 7.1 second 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time and a top speed of 240 km/h (149 mph).
The C 250 BlueTEC model wagon gets its common-rail turbo diesel engine power upped from the standard 150 kW (204 hp) to 173 kW (235 hp) and peak torque from 500 Nm to 550 Nm (368 to 405 lb-ft). This increase in power and grunt drops the C 250 BlueTEC Wagon's sprint time from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) to a very respectable 6.4 seconds. The top speed is a likewise respectable 250 km/h (155 mph).
And yes, while one can still think of diesel engines as being filthy and dirty, BRABUS hastens to point out that "thanks to compliance with strict EURO VI emission standards, it can all be done with an absolutely clean environmental conscience."
It's also interesting to note that these tuning kits were designed to reliably prevent any decrease in the engine's service life. The performance-boosting benefits of remapping the engine only activate once all parameters, such as engine temperature, are within acceptable operating limits.
Now, about those non-engine mods. First off, there's exterior body styling work. There's an upgraded BRABUS front spoiler with a central spoiler blade and outer sections shaped like flaps. There is also a diffuser-look rear bumper insert, which looks cool, but has no real aero benefits.
The Merc/BRABUS wagon rides on Monoblock wheels, available in diameters of 18, 19 or 20 inches. The car in the photos runs on BRABUS Monoblock F cross-spoke wheels of sizes 8.5Jx20 at the front and 9.5Jx20 on the rear axle. Huge, for those of you that don't speak wheel. The wheels were painted black, of course, and feature titanium-colored pinstripes. Said wheels are skinned with high-performance 225/35 ZR 20 and 255/30 ZR 20 tires. BRABUS gives the buyer their choice of Continental, Pirelli or Yokohama tires.
The huge wheel/tire package is kept in place with a BRABUS sports suspension developed jointly with Bilstein, calibrated to use with these sporty low-profile tires. The sport springs were adapted to the production shocks, and drop the ride height of the C-Class by about 30 mm (1.2 in). BRABUS also offers a full coilover suspension with adjustable ride height that can be set to the customer's preferences. The well-heeled buyer can also mess with the shocks too, as they feature 10-stage adjustable compression and rebound rates.
BRABUS has also seen fit to offer mods for the factory air ride suspension. It offers a control module is for C-Class models equipped with the AIRMATIC air suspension to enable lowering the ride height of the vehicle.
The German tuner also offers a stainless-steel quad sports exhaust system. This is optimized for power, with BRABUS saying, "they also produce a sporty but never obtrusive exhaust note."
Inside, there are a host of optional enhancements on offer for the Mercedes C-Class Wagon. These include lots of cake decorating choices, such as aluminum pedals, speedometers with scales up to 340 km/h (211 mph) and high-quality velour floor mats with BRABUS logos. The company will even do up the entire insides with fine leather interiors crafted from particularly soft and breathable leather and Alcantara.
And finally, we come to what could possibly be the most comforting thing BRABUS has to offer: a warranty. BRABUS performance kits are backed by a three-year or 100,000 km/62,000 mile warranty.