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The Brabus 800 Roadster: born from weather machines

When it comes to Mercedes-Benz performance, there’s a definitive power ladder. At the base, we have the standard run of the mill models with enough power to give most anyone a giggle. Then we step up to AMG, which are built for playboys and investment bankers. Above that, we find the AMG Black series, which have essentially built to hurt rich old men. Then somewhere on another planet – Mars, let’s say – is Brabus.

For the uninitiated, Brabus is an aftermarket Mercedes-Benz tuner deeply in love with V12s and twin-turbochargers. Can you really blame them? Fun fact: Brabus was originally founded in 1928 as a manufacturer of weather modification machines. But after the great depression, it switched over to cars as the number of maniacal millionaires dropped off dramatically. Or at least, that’s what I’ve heard.

Presently, Brabus has a large stable of performance machines. In fact, it has upgraded virtually every Mercedes offering, including the E-Class, the Smart ForTwo, and the Sprinter van. Now, however, Brabus has taken one of my favorite cars, the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG, and made it all silly with power.

The standard SL65 AMG is powered by an anemic V12 that only produces 621 horsepower – I mean, why bother? Thankfully, Brabus has upped the ante and now the Frankensteined hardtop convertible – thanks to twin turbochargers – makes 800 horsepower and 1,047 pound-feet of torque.

Engineers had to electronically limit the torque, though, to 811 pound-feet as to keep the engine from tearing the transmission limb from limb, which is silly. That’s like buying a tiger as a pet but keeping it on Quaaludes so that it doesn’t eat your children.

What does Brabus call this convertible torque monster? The Brabus 800 Roadster, of course, and it’s good for a 0-60 run in 3.7 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 217. This, you might be surprised to learn, makes it the most powerful roadster on the planet.

Designers didn’t just add some turbos and call it a day, no. They also added a front spoiler and rear diffuser as well as a hood scoop that wafts air over the air-to-water intercoolers that keep the turbos from popping. As for aesthetics, Brabus bolted on some 20-inch Brabus Monoblock R forged wheels and lowered the suspension by an inch.

On the interior, Brabus offers a slew of options, including, Mastik leather, Alcantara, wood, and carbon fiber, as if the stock SL AMG weren’t a nice enough place to be already.

What will the 800 Roadster run you? Brabus won’t say. The stock SL AMG, though, clocks in at a cool $212,240. So you can bet your bottom dollar that the 800 Roadster will push above the $250,000 mark. If you ask me, though, it’s a virtual steal at that price and a far cry cheaper than the aforementioned Brabus weather machines.

Nick Jaynes
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nick Jaynes is the automotive editor of The Manual. When Nick isn't behind the wheel on the open road, he can be found…
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