it was converted (again at huge expense) into one of those 'driver resort' type places, with a track designed by Hermann Tilke. Thankfully in this instance with some help from Walter Rohrl.
Plenty has been said about the 'end of days' vibe after last week's statement of intent by the government to ban sales of internal combustion powered cars by 2040. But with my first visit to Bilster Berg coinciding with the news I did start to wonder if the site's costly rebirth might turn out to be as short-lived as its original purpose. Which would be a shame. Because it's a bloody brilliant track to drive, even in a Smart ForTwo.
Yes, that was my vehicle for my first and long-awaited visit to Bilster Berg, venue for a bit of a bash to celebrate 15 years of the partnership with Brabus. This would seem to have been a successful venture for both parties, giving Brabus access to an area of the market its monstrous tuned Mercedes would never usually tread. And Smart the kudos of association with a premium brand to give the range a little boost, both in performance and exclusivity. It's inspired a few cool cars too, not least the mad V6-engined Smart Roadster for which Brabus built a bespoke twin-turbo V6 engine out of two standard Smart motors. Hell of a thing and present at Bilster Berg, though sadly only as a static exhibit. I'm still a bit of a fan of the production Smart Brabus Roadster but I was lucky enough to have a short go with the Biturbo back in the day and it was a proper little monster.
Tellingly for all his apparent pride in how the partnership had flourished Brabus boss Bodo Buschmann didn't turn up in a ForTwo, preferring a suitably unapologetic GLS63 conversion pumped up to 850hp and displaying epic amounts of uberholprestige. Even when stationary. That and the V6 Smart represent suitably hedonistic ways of burning fuel in my book. And if we are indeed at the beginning of the end of the internal combustion engine Buschmann's bombastic departure from the event suggests he's minded to the make most of it.
electric ForTwo maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all.
It's that or some sort of Mad Max anarchy as we battle for the last few drops of petrol. How much to rent one of those old bunkers?