As symbols of motoring excess go, few can come close to the Mercedes S63 AMG Cabriolet. It's a drop top, sure, but one engineered to keep you cocooned in a world free of buffeting, so you can enjoy the elements without ever being disturbed by them. And there's plenty of power, enough to rocket you to 100 km/h in less than 4 seconds.
Sometimes, factory-spec power and engineering isn't enough, though. Brabus is always willing to step into that void, in this case delivering the world's fastest four-seat convertible: the 850 6.0 Biturbo Cabrio.
The changes start under the hood, where engineers in Bottrop have boosted the S63's twin-turbo V8 from 5,461 cc to 5,912 cc with a forged crankshaft and longer stroke, an increased cylinder bore and forged pistons to match. The motor's cylinder heads have been re-machined to handle the extra grunt, too.
Working in tandem with the extra displacement is a throughly reworked turbo system, using two new turbochargers with bigger compressors and modified exhaust manifolds. These are complemented by 75 mm (2.95 in) down pipes and a stainless-steel exhaust system, with butterfly valves to keep the car quiet in coming home mode, but still give it a throaty roar in full flight.
To make sure there's plenty of fresh air getting into the engine, there's a carbon fiber intake module and two new air filters, fed by a broad air intake integrated into the bonnet. You'll also notice there's gold heat shielding over the intake and charge-air pipes on the turbocharger, a touch that calls the legendary McLaren F1's engine bay to mind.
The net result of these sweeping changes is speed, and lots of it. Having dispatched the 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint in 3.5 seconds, the all-wheel drive Brabus will smash through 200 km/h (124 mph) in just 9.4 seconds. Top speed is 350 km/h (217 mph), although that figure isn't necessarily the car's ultimate maximum – it's limited to preserve the tires.
At that sort of speed, you need some serious downforce to stop your luxury convertible becoming a 625 kW (850 hp) luxury airplane. Although small, Brabus says its carbon fiber chin extension and bootlid spoiler help keep you on the ground, as does the rear diffuser.
On the outside, it's business as usual for Brabus, which means lots of black paint and big wheels. In this case, the wheels are 21-inch forged alloys, 228 mm (9 inches) wide at the front and 267 mm (10.5 inches) wide at the rear. They're wrapped in the 255/35 front tires and 295/30 rear tires tasked with transmitting 1,150 Nm (848 lb.ft) to the road. The whole package sits 15 mm (0.59 in) lower than before, which might have a negative impact on the standard car's wafty ride quality, but does add to its tougher look.
Inside, there's plenty of aluminum and carbon fiber trim, while the speedo has been revised to run all the way to 400 km/h (248 mph). Thus far, there's no word on pricing, or on what taking the S63 Cabriolet to its 350 km/h v-max would do to your haircut.
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