While the word 'tuner' maybe has unfortunate connotations in 2018, certain companies rise above the stereotype. Brabus has to be one of those, thanks to a long standing reputation for high quality four-wheeled lunacy with a three-pointed star on the nose.
Furthermore, despite the passing of CEO and founder Bodo Buschmann, we can expect the work of Brabus to continue in a similar vein for the foreseeable future. Because, well, if the recipe isn't broke, why change it? Whatever AMG has done for the past few decades, Brabus has taken it on to make more powerful, more luxurious Mercedes products - and who wouldn't be tempted by one of those?
While Brabus is typically known for wild saloons such as the Hammer and the Rocket, it has turned its hand to almost anything over the years, including everything from Smart cars to G-Wagens. Convertibles, too, including putting a 6.0-litre V8 in the original SLK back during the late 1990s.
The SL has been a long standing Brabus test bed - remember the bonkers 7.3-litre, V12 R129s? - and that continues with today's Showpiece, the SL800. Using the SL65 as a base - which makes 630hp already, let's not forget - Brabus fitted the V12 with bigger turbos, tweaked internals, a retuned ECU and a freer flowing exhaust. The result, as you may have already guessed, is eight hundred metric horsepower, accompanied by a ludicrous 881lb ft.
According to this advert, that makes this big cruiser capable of 0-124mph in less than 10 seconds, as well as a limited(!) top speed of 217mph. Bear in mind that's with the inherent traction issues associated with two-wheel drive and 881lb ft; once rolling there's surely not much quicker than a Brabus SL. Which has always kind of been the point, hasn't it?
What makes this particular SL800 special, however, is its status as the only right-hand drive version said to be in existence. So there are no excuses that need to be made for using it in the UK. The previous owners seem to have found one, though, because despite being correct-hand drive for the UK, this 2013 car is still on delivery mileage. Perhaps the power was too much? Or too little...
Where Brabus and do AMG differ is in terms of depreciation. A five-year old SL65, regardless of mileage, will have plummeted in value. (In fact, if you want a giggle, see how much all SL65s tend to depreciate). This Brabus, surely thanks in part to its unique status, still commands £300k, which can't be far off the new price.
Worth it? Well, these things are often pretty subjective, of course, but it is worth noting that AMG's own deranged derivative of SL65 - the Black Series - can still command £100k more than this Brabus. Not only is it far more common, it's also less powerful - and when speed matters, that's no good. Even less powerful is an SLS Roadster, which will probably deliver a sharper drive for similar cash but absolutely will not do 217mph. So what use is that? Truth be told there's nothing quite like a Brabus product, especially an SL, and that will either be its greatest appeal or biggest turn off to you.
As the automotive world moves to a more closely controlled, more virtuous and more sensible future, though, don't be surprised to find the appeal of a bonkers Brabus increase somewhat...
See the original ad here.