Skip to main content

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…
The reviews are in for Furiosa, and critics say it’s a ‘visceral triumph’
Is Furiosa worth seeing in theaters?
Anya Taylor-Joy in Furiosa.

Almost a decade after director George Miller last ventured into the wasteland with Mad Max: Fury Road, the director is back with Furiosa. An explicit prequel to Fury Road, Furiosa stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the titular character, who was played by Charlize Theron in Fury Road. While plot details are still somewhat scarce, we know that the movie is set 15 years before the events of Fury Road, and that it co-stars Chris Hemsworth as a warlord named Dementus.

The movie is set to hit theaters on May 24, and in advance of its release, we're starting to get a sense of its critical response. While formal reviews have not yet been published, social media responses are now live, and they're overwhelmingly positive.
Let's dive deep into the social media reaction to Furiosa
FURIOSA : A MAD MAX SAGA | OFFICIAL TRAILER #1

Read more
Will Justified: City Primeval season 2 happen?
Everything we know so far about Justified: City Primeval season 2
Timothy Olyphant in Justified: City Primeval.

Last year, Timothy Olyphant reprised his role as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens in Justified: City Primeval, one of the best shows on FX and Hulu in 2023. The eight-episode miniseries was a follow-up to Justified, which ran for six seasons on FX from 2010 to 2015. While Justified was based on Elmore Leonard's Fire in the Hole, City Primeval was based on a separate story by Leonard that didn't originally feature Raylan. It was reworked for television as a Justified sequel with Raylan as the main character.

Following the conclusion of the miniseries, fans have been asking about Justified: City Primeval season 2, especially since the ending leaves the door wide open for a major reunion from Justified. But don't get too excited just yet. We're sharing everything we know about Justified: City Primeval season 2, and it's not all good news. But the early word is at least encouraging.
Has Justified: City Primeval been renewed for season 2?

Read more
Everything we know about the Peaky Blinders movie
Peaky Blinders Hats

(From left) Joe Cole, Cillian Murphy, and Paul Anderson in "Peaky Blinders." Courtesy of Netflix / Netflix

Now that Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy is also an Oscar winner, it's safe to say that the show's profile has never been higher. The show's run ended in 2022 after six seasons, telling the story of a crime family that emerges after World War I in Birmingham, England, and it's one of the best shows on Netflix. Murphy starred as Tommy Shelby, the leader of the family, and was joined by an ensemble cast that included Paul Anderson,  Helen McCrory, Finn Cole, Sophie Rundle, Tom Hardy and Anya Taylor-Joy, among many others.

Read more