February 19, 2009

Brabus builds a brazen, ballistic G-Wagen

The Gelandewagen has a long history as a world-conquering off-roader. Now in its 30th year of production, the two ton Benz-built bruiser has conquered the Sahara, straddled the Alps and set dozens of records for going places lesser trucks could not.

But now Brabus has written another record for the G-Wagen: the most powerful production off-roader ever built.

In the Brabus-tuned G V12S, 690 horsepower and 973 pound-feet of torque will provide a 0-to-60 trip that will stay door-to-door with a Ferrari F430. And if that isn't sufficiently self-indulgent, the Brabus-tuned G will thunder onward to a limited top speed of 150 miles per hour. If the G's 295/45 R 21 tires could tolerate the abuse, the G V12 has enough fury to hit a terminal velocity of 170 miles per hour. Not bad for a truck with the aerodynamics of a bank vault.

All this lunacy comes courtesy of the tuner's tried-and-true 6.3-liter twin turbo V-12. Itself a bored and stroked version of the 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-12 found under the hood of the S600, Brabus has shoehorned this leviathan motor into the CLS and C-class sedans, producing ludicrously expensive and lust-worthy supercars in the process.

For its starring role in the G-Wagen, the motor receives ported cylinder heads, larger turbos and a full custom exhaust, along with extensive modifications to the transmission and four-wheel-drive system. Upgraded brakes and 21-inch alloys wearing 295/45 R21 tires at all four corners supply the requisite whoa on demand.

But despite all the lust-worthy stats and opulence, it's hard to shake the feeling that the timing's been botched. The world is running out of the lead-footed bourgeoisie who can afford to drop 400,000 euros on a balls-out SUV. And in an era of politically-mandated hand-wringing over how to tame the environmental menace that is the gas-guzzler, the standard issue G-Wagen may itself be living on borrowed time.

But as apex predators go, none come quite as fierce as this one.

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