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World's fastest four-seater cabrio

2011-07-12 09:28

BLACK MAGIC: Want bragging rights to the fastest four-seater cabriolet around? Image gallery

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Brabus
Model E800 Cabrio
Engine 6.3-litre bi-turbo V12
Power 588kW
Torque 1 450Nm
Transmission Five-speed auto
Zero To Hundred 3.7 sec
Top Speed 370km/h
It’s a crime against automobile hedonism - the lack of a stupidly fast Black Series-specification four-door cabriolet.

Honestly, if you would like your family to indulge in the ultimate road-going rollercoaster ride, a fixed-roof four-door supercar is never going to do. You need a soft-top with more power than the now (nearly) defunct space shuttle.


Considering Mercedes-Benz’s in-house tuner, AMG, is not keen to produce a follow-up to the epic CLK DTM cabriolet (only 80 were produced, all in 2006), the responsibility of crafting a supercar-spec, soft-top Mercedes-Benz has fallen to the ever-resourceful German afte-martket tuning industry.

Enter the Brabus E800 Cabriolet…

As its nomenclature would attest, this is no simple bigger-wheels and booming-exhaust upgrade. It’s Bottrop’s answer to AMG’s lack of fortitude in homologating a new E-Class AMG - and it's rather fast. Stupidly so, in fact...

Naturally, the E800 has been rather elaborately retouched with all manner of new styling bits. In fact, the aerodynamically certified (wind tunnel tested, apparently) body kit adds 60mm to the E800’s width (courtesy of carbon-fibre rear fenders).

The kit gives new rocker panels, a functional aft diffuser and spoiler partnership (much like the original CLK DTM) and a musclecar signature RAM air box up front.

Finished in black, it simply brooks no argument – this is Darth Vader's Sunday drive sun-seeker, if he were to take Luke and Princess Leia to the beach (at warp-speed), it would drive one of these.


Powering (or overpowering, if you wish) the Brabus E800 Cabriolet is an alarmingly tuned version of the Mercedes-Benz V12 bi-turbo engine.

Swept capacity swells from 5.5 to 6.3 litres with four new camshafts operating the valves. The increase in capacity is thanks to the 5.5 being bored out (instead of stroked) to ensure piston speed doesn't decrease as capacity increases.

Most of the internals have been swopped due to the increased capacity, with both the new crankshaft and pistons being custom-made Brabus items.

Brabus adds two larger turbochargers too, supported by a better intercooling system, and the engine's gas exchange improves thanks to better exhaust system.

Engine electronics have been impeccably reprogrammed to ensure the larger turbos and reconfigured quad exhausts harmonise perfectly. The result is a very noticeable 208kW power increase.

Outputs for the E800 Cabriolet factor to 588kW and 1420Nm, though the latter figure is purely academic as Merc’s five-speed automatic transmission jettisons 350Nm on full demand to preserve the drivetrain.


Brabus claims if you find a quality surface, and don’t overwhelm the Yokohama rear tyres, 0-100km/h should be accomplished in 3.7 seconds; top speed is limited to 350km/h, mercifully, its 0-200km/h sprint time of 9.9 seconds truly puts things into perspective.

The E800 Cabriolet is geared to see the existential side of 370km/h, a speed sure to melt even the most advanced road tyres and shear drag-inducing door mirrors with ease. One can understand why Brabus has limited the top speed.

Keeping the E800 Coupe’s rampant performance in check is a rather special braking system.

Brabus has replaced the AMG set-up with smaller discs (380mm front, 360 rear) and left the hydraulic actuation to a more traditional calliper system, comprising 12-piston grabbers for the front wheels and six-piston callipers at the rear. Should stop okay then, we reckon…

DROP-TOP SUPERCAR: Cabin trim defines the term garish. There a neat 400km/h speedometer though, which should thrill passing schoolboys …

To ensure redoubtable high-speed stability there’s a coil-over suspension upgrade (reducing median ride height by 35mm) and a sway-bar to counter body roll.

Dampers are obviously bound and rebound adjustable to ensure E800 Cabriolet owners are able to waste their entire Friday night fiddling with settings for the next morning's breakfast run...

Beyond the E800 Cabriolet’s (epic) performance, its most dramatic feature is undoubtedly the cabin trim.

Featuring lipstick-red (that’s what Brabus calls it) and black leather, it’s about as tasteful as taking your cousin you Las Vegas for a dirty weekend and getting married by accident too.

Brabus will only assemble 10 E800 Cabriolets, to ensure a requisite level of exclusivity – and that's important, especially when one considers the rather outlandish price of R4.5-million.

It’s a rather substantial investment to own a car with unmatched levels of scuttle-shake but, hey, if that’s your thing, the Brabus E800 Cabriolet is all the car you’ll ever need.

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