Once upon a time, Brabus's job of taking up where AMG had deemed a sensible place to drop the baton was simple: a C36 AMG made 280hp, while even at the turn of the century an E55 AMG barely mustered 350hp. That left plenty of headroom for Brabus to make mischief, bolstering capacity, adding forced induction, or just transplanting whole new engines - the original, 'R170' SLK once received a 6.5-litre V8 conversion...
Today the job is a little trickier; AMG makes four-wheel drive hatchbacks with more than 300hp, Drift Mode-y estates with over 600hp, sports cars capable of 7:10 at the Nordschleife and everything in between. As the standard AMG cars have become better, faster, more powerful and more desirable, so the task of attempting to improve on them in some way must have become more challenging.
It should be said, though, that they haven't seen the task as impossible. For Geneva 2016, Brabus released the 650, its take on the W205 C63 AMG. That car had already pushed the C63 to beyond 500hp for the first time (in series production form) as well as offering a whole new raft of dynamic technology including electronic limited-slip diffs, adaptive dampers and so on. Still, you could just say that gave Brabus a better canvas on which to work: new turbos and ECU work liberated 650hp, with the usual raft of suspension, body and interior tweaks also on offer to tweak how mad/overt/luxurious you needed your C-Class to be. Hence prices never being widely distributed - buyers could spend as much as they wanted above and beyond that power pack.
This is one of those Brabus C-Classes. A pretty rare find already, though made even more special in this instance by being a right-hand drive 650 - believed to be the only one in existence. In addition to the engine upgrade, this C63 has benefitted from a Brabus bodykit, forged wheels and Brabus kickplates. Despite how that may sound, it's pretty restrained by Brabus standards, especially when you bear in mind that this was made at about the same time as the Edition 1 C63s from AMG, with yellow accents thrown all over it.
Depending on your perspective, the fact this car has clocked up 25,000 miles will either be to the detriment of its collectible status, or conclusive proof of Bottrop's sterling work - we'll take it as the latter. What finer way could there be to cover long distances than with a Brabus'd Mercedes? The relatively subdued spec, including clear glass and black leather interior, should mean it wouldn't attract too much unwanted attention, and 650hp will make the miles pass a little quicker (where laws permit).
The kicker? It's £100k. But then special never did come cheap, and if this really is the only one in the world then that's quite some selling point. Various M5s and E63s will be more common, heavier and less powerful, while any other C63 - even the very special old Black Series cars - won't even be within 120hp of this. For those in the know, Brabus has always meant something even more alluring than AMG - whether those base cars have 300hp or 600hp. This 650 stays true to form; for those with a lot of miles to cover and a fuel card to absorb the cost, what could be better?
SPECIFICATION - BRABUS 650
Engine: 3,982cc, twin-turbo V8
Transmission: 7-speed auto with lock-up clutch (MCT), rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 650
Torque (lb ft): 604
MPG: 34.5 (standard car)
First registered: 2015
Recorded mileage: 25,000
Price new: £N/A
Yours for: £99,995