German tuner turns the Mercedes-AMG C63 S convertible into a 650hp hair dryer

For some, the 503-horsepower Mercedes-AMG C63 S Cabriolet is just too tame. German tuner Brabus apparently agrees, and has launched a more hardcore evolution of Mercedes’ smallest drop-top that cranks the performance and style dials up to 11 — if not higher. It’s called the Brabus 650.

Brabus squeezed 650hp and 604 pound-feet of torque out of the stock C63’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine. It obtained the extra power by developing bigger turbos and reprogramming the electronic control unit (ECU). It also rebuilt the eight-cylinder entirely with new, stronger components to make sure it doesn’t self-destruct as the tachometer needle flirts with the redline.

The V8 hurls its power at the rear wheels through AMG’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It can be left in drive, or shifted manually using aluminum paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. Regardless of which mode you choose, the Brabus 650 performs the benchmark 0-to-60 sprint in 3.7 seconds, and it goes on to a top speed of nearly 200 mph. Lower the top, mash the gas pedal, and your occupants’ well-groomed hair won’t stand a chance against this convertible’s acceleration prowess.

The Brabus treatment wouldn’t be complete without an array of visual tweaks that make the 650 more aerodynamic while giving it a strong, muscular appearance. Working in a wind tunnel, designers crated an entirely new body kit that includes a lower front bumper with a splitter made out of carbon fiber, specific side skirts, and a massive air diffuser integrated into the rear bumper. Brabus-specific alloys add a finishing touch to the custom look.

The 650 that will be displayed next week at the Geneva Auto Show features blue accents in the cabin. Brabus specializes in building one-off models, and it encourages enthusiasts to customize their car during the production process.

Pricing information hasn’t been disclosed yet. However, “if you need to ask, you probably can’t afford it” is the expression that comes to mind here.

Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.

The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.