The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren has come in for its fair share of criticism - too expensive, not exclusive enough for the money, material quality issues (interior) to name but a few. So much so that MB have pulled development of the SLR?s replacement back in house for their AMG folks to ponder, and in doing so have terminated the arrangement with McLaren that saw the current SLR created.
That famous Mercedes-Benz tuning house Brabus appears to have taken the various issues to heart (except price of course) and set about creating their own upgrades for the SLR Coupe and Roadster.
To give the SLR even more striking looks while at the same time minimizing lift on the front axle, the Brabus designers have developed a front spoiler that attaches to the production bumper. The spoiler is made from exposed carbon fiber and its shape was fine-tuned in wind tunnel testing. It is especially lightweight and extremely tough. A corresponding Brabus rear diffuser made from exposed carbon fiber can replace its production counterpart.
The wheels are Monoblock VI 20-inch alloys designed to fill the wheel wells perfectly. The fully polished multi-piece wheels feature six double spokes with 9.5Jx20 in front and 11.5Jx20 on the rear. High-performance tyres are fitted in sizes 255/30 ZR 20 and 305/25 ZR 20 are supplied by Brabus technology partners Pirelli and Yokahama. Brabus claim that this low-profile tyre/wheel combination is custom-tailored for the SLR coupe and roadster and benefits not only the car?s appearance but also its handling.
Brabus have also upgraded the 5.5-litre supercharged engine by fitting special camshafts, a fuel cooling system and a high-performance exhaust. The Brabus tuning increases power output of the V8 compressor engine by 18kW/24hp to 478 kW/650hp.
Brabus also offers a special clutch-type limited-slip differential with a locking rate of 40 percent. It further improves traction and acceleration of the McLaren SLR. The tuned roadster sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 337 km/h (209 mph).
Arguably Brabus have done their best work on the interior design of their upgraded SLR, with their company-owned upholstery shop specializing in fulfilling just about any request from SLR owners when it comes to customizing the interior. There are a multitude of leather types and colors to choose from in addition to completely custom upholstery designs.
An unusual Brabus feature is the waffle-patterned leather carpeting in the SLR?s footwells. Some 7,800 meters (25,600 feet) of the finest thread are sewn with utmost precision for it alone?
Carbon-fibre applications for dashboard, center console and door trim match exterior body components in the same material. The exposed carbon-fibre trim can be colour-coordinated with the leather color of the interior.
The ergonomically shaped sport steering wheel that is flattened on the bottom for easier entry and exit of the SLR, is a Brabus option. The steering wheel features integrated buttons for manual shifting of the SLR?s automatic transmission.
Despite the criticism, I?d be quite happy with a bog standard Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR but for those who are not its nice to know that Brabus have your best wishes at heart.