Dubai is the land of the mega-wealthy and purveyors of exceptional machinery often stage world debuts there for their latest uber-exclusive toys whenever there's a car, boat or air show. This week the Dubai International Motor Show gets underway and the pick of the toys-for-very-rich-boys will be the world's fastest street-legal SUV. The BRABUS GLK V12 is powered by a 740 bhp twin turbo twelve-cylinder engine, has a top speed of 200mph (322kmh) and the base model starts at US$580,000. Be careful with the options though, or you'll give the bank manager a heart attack.
The 552 kW GLK recently (October 19th, 2009) set a new speed record for street-legal SUVs on the Italian Nardo high-speed test track. It's a Mercedes Benz base vehicle and the new BRABUS SV12 R Biturbo 750 engine was implanted in the small engine bay of the GLK with meticulous precision. The engineers and technicians drew upon their experience and know-how gathered from the development and production of the special BRABUS BULLIT model, based on the latest Mercedes C-Class.
The engine is based on the latest Mercedes 600 twelve-cylinder engine and was completely re-engineered in the BRABUS engine department. Displacement is increased from 5.5 to 6.3 liters with the help of a longer throw crankshaft, a larger cylinder bore, higher compression pistons and lighter, more muscular conrods. There's also a special twin turbo system with two larger turbochargers and more efficient intercoolers, free-flow metal catalysts and a stainless-steel high-performance exhaust system tailored to fit the remodeled GLK body.
The engine is completely worked over in every respect, with the three-valve heads precision-machined and fitted with lumpier camshafts. The end result is obviously spectacular, and produces a mind-numbing peak torque figure of 1,350 Nm (995 lb-ft) at 2,100 rpm, but Brabus has electronically limited it to 1,100 Nm (811 lb-ft) to avoid catastrophic failure of the tires, or perhaps to prevent the car from spinning our planet backwards every time it takes off. That enormous torque is fed to the rear wheels via a reinforced five-speed automatic transmission and a BRABUS limited-slip differential with a locking rate of 40 percent.
You only need to look at an SUV, with all that frontal area and flat surfaces to know the five-door has the aerodynamic qualities of a brick, but with subtle smoothing and brutal torque, the performance figures are simply amazing. It'll top 100kmh (62 mph) in 4.2 seconds and 200kmh (124mph) in 12.8 seconds.
Custom-programmed engine electronics ensure an optimal symbiosis of power yield, running smoothness and especially eco-friendly exhaust emissions. Special mapping and OnBoard Diagnostics II result in clean emissions that meet the strict requirements of the Euro IV standard. The BRABUS GLK V12 is also equipped with the latest driving dynamics systems such as ABS, ASR and ESP.
The front apron of the BRABUS WIDESTAR version was developed in the wind tunnel. Its large air dams provide radiators and front brakes with ample cooling air. In combination with a carbon-fiber spoiler lip the front apron also minimizes aerodynamic lift on the front axle which is a prerequisite for directional stability beyond 300kmh (186mph), which is almost certainly where this baby is going in Dubai.
Favorable aerodynamic properties were also a top priority for the design of the BRABUS WIDESTAR fender flares on front and rear axle. They add five centimeters (two inches) to the width of the GLK. Custom-tailored rocker panels create a smooth transition between front and rear flares. The rocker panels feature LED lights in their undersides that are activated via the keyless remote or by pulling on a door handle. These lights illuminate the ground next to the SUV for safe entering and exiting the vehicle in the dark.
In the rear the BRABUS roof spoiler reduces aerodynamic lift and thus makes an important contribution to the excellent directional stability of the world's fastest SUV. The rear appearance of the BRABUS GLK V12 is further characterized by the BRABUS rear apron with its centrally located reflector. Custom-tailored cutouts on the right and left side provide the perfect backdrop for the four characteristically shaped tailpipes of the BRABUS stainless-steel sport exhaust system.
The larger wheel houses of the record car provide space for BRABUS Monoblock wheels up to king-size wheels with a diameter of 22 inches. The size 10Jx22 wheels come in five different designs: GLK V12 customers can choose from the new BRABUS Monoblock G five-spoke forged wheels, three-piece Monoblock VI alloy wheels and one-piece Monoblock E, Q and S wheels. High-performance tires from BRABUS technology partners Pirelli and YOKOHAMA can be mounted up to size 285/25 ZR 22.
The BRABUS coilover sport suspension was developed specifically for the twelve-cylinder SUV. It is height-adjustable on front and rear axle and features ten selectable settings each for bound and rebound.
To handle the extreme performance the brakes were upgraded as well and trimmed for maximum stopping power and endurance. The BRABUS high-performance brakes system features 12-piston aluminum fixed calipers and vented and grooved steel discs measuring 380 x 37 millimeters (15 x 1.5 inches) on the front axle. The rear axle stops on six-piston aluminum fixed calipers and vented and grooved 360 x 28 millimeter (14.2 x 1.1 inches) discs.
The interior of the GLK V12 was also refined to reflect the exclusive character of this unique SUV: The GLK V12 comes with a BRABUS fully leather interior that can be further refined with Alcantara elements if desired. The interior appointments are rounded out with an ergonomically shaped sport steering wheel, a speedometer with 330-kmh (205-mph) scale and stainless-steel scuff plates with illuminated BRABUS WIDESTAR logo.
Further exclusive interior highlights are wood trim sets or carbon-fiber trim panels for dashboard, doors and center console in any color imaginable. Custom-tailored consoles for the backs of the GLK front seats provide the perfect multimedia experience. They each feature an integrated seven-inch LCD screen and a DVD player.