Geneva 2013: Brabus 800 Roadster boasts 217 mph top speed

Brabus has a reputation for taking Mercedes-Benz cars to the extreme. This German tuner’s resume includes a 789 horsepower car called the Rocket, so we expected big things from Brabus’ take on the Mercedes SL. It’s called the 800 Roadster, and it made its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

As the name implies, the 800 Roadster has 800 hp, along with a staggering 1,047 pound-feet of torque. That’s a huge increase over the most powerful stock SL, the SL65 AMG, which has 621 hp and 738 lb-ft.

To extract that much power, Brabus took the SL65’s 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12 and added its own turbochargers, exhaust system, and revised engine electronics. The driver can even adjust the sound level of the exhaust from the steering wheel, turning the volume down when preserving people’s hearing takes precedent over sporty driving.

The result is a luxury convertible that can do 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 kph) in 3.7 seconds, and reach an electronically-limited top speed of 217 mph. That’s about the same top speed as a Ferrari Enzo.

To keep the 800 Roadster on the ground at that speed, Brabus gave it a few aerodynamic enhancements, including a front spoiler and rear diffuser. There’s also a functional hood scoop that feeds air to four air-to-water intercoolers, which keep the turbos from melting.

The visual changes also help mitigate the SL’s aesthetic flaws. The stock car isn’t exactly ugly, but it’s not as pretty or coherent as a sporty roadster should be. At least with those extra vents and that bulging hood, Brabus has converted the SL into an unquestionably mean bruiser; no one will confuse this car with the daintier SLs of the past.

Brabus isn’t talking about the price, but Three-Pointed Star fans will probably have to buy a stock SL65 AMG, at a cost of $212,240. That puts this tuned Benz well into Ferrari and Lamborghini territory, but it looks like it will have the performance to match its shocking sticker.