Or how to make an exclusive sports car even more exclusive

The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren arrived in 2003 as the result of a collaboration between the German marque and British racing specialist McLaren Automotive. Developed as a high-performance machine aimed at the top-end sports cars of the era, the SLR McLaren also paid homage to the Mercedes-Benz 300 SRL, a 1950s race car that won the World Sportscar Championship in 1955 and events like the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio. The SLR McLaren was sold until 2010, when it was replaced by the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

Much like any high-profile sports car, the SLR McLaren spawned several special-edition models, including the 722 Edition and SLR Stirling Moss. The vehicle also received various upgrades from tuning companies, but none was as exciting as the one offered by Brabus, a shop known for taking Mercedes models to the limit performance-wise.

Launched for the 2005 model year, it became one of the world’s most exclusive sports cars, fascinating millions thanks to its unique appearance and spectacular output. It was by no means the most powerful Brabus out there, but the fact that it was based on an already exclusive vehicle turned it into a classic for the German company.

Continue reading to learn more about the Brabus SLR.

  • 2006 Brabus SLR McLaren
  • Year:
    2006-
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    660@6500
  • 0-60 time:
    3.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    211 mph
  • body style:

Exterior

2006 Brabus SLR McLaren
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brabus SLR
2006 Brabus SLR McLaren
- image 48072
2006 Brabus SLR McLaren
- image 48073

The Brabus version wasn’t radically different from the standard SLR McLaren, but it came with just enough features to make it unique. Up front, the tuning firm added a new spoiler made from exposed carbon-fiber to the front air dam. The element not only reduced lift on the front axle and improved stability at high speeds, but also gave the coupe a racier look. Around back, Brabus replaced the standard diffuser with a slightly revised, carbon-fiber unit. The package also included multi-piece Brabus Monoblock VI 20-inch light-alloy wheels with six double spokes and a design typical to most rollers used by Brabus.

Interior

2006 Brabus SLR McLaren
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The car’s upscale and driver-oriented interior also received its fair share of attention, starting with the bespoke upholstery in black and red leather and Alcantara. Both the upholstery and the waffle-design stitching of the leather floor, which used around 25,600 feet of fine thread, were crafted in Brabus’ very own upholstery shop. The German firm also created a custom steering wheel for the SLR McLaren, with an ergonomically shaped rim and a race-inspired flat bottom. The steering wheel also came with integrated gear shifting buttons into the spokes. Finally, the cabin was packed with precise-fit, exposed carbon-fiber inserts on the dashboard, center console, and door panels.

Drivetrain

2006 Brabus SLR McLaren
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Under the long hood, the supercharged, 5.4-liter V-8 engine was subjected to significant modifications, including an enhanced cooling system, custom camshafts, and a race-spec exhaust system. A slightly modified version of the standard AMG Speedshift R five-speed automatic transmission with three manual modes was used. Output was rated at 651 horsepower, a 34-horsepower increase over the standard SLR McLaren. The Brabus was also more powerful than both the SLR 722 Edition and SLR Stirling Moss, which came with 640 horses on tap, but less powerful than the track-prepped, 680-horsepower 722 GT.

The increased output enabled the Brabus to hit 60 mph from a standing start in 3.6 seconds, two tenths quicker than the standard model. Top speed also increased from 334 to 340 km/h (207 to 211 mph).

Modifications didn’t stop at the engine though. Brabus also equipped the coupe with a special self-locking differential with a 40-percent locking rate that further optimized the car’s traction, improving acceleration. The German brand also meddled with the suspension system, but didn’t make radical adjustments to McLaren’s original setup.

Prices

2006 Brabus SLR McLaren
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The Brabus SLR McLaren retailed from €600,000 at launch, which converted to nearly $700,000. For reference, the standard U.S.-spec SLR McLaren was priced from $450,000. Brabus’ sticker included the car’s air-freight shipment to anywhere in the world.

Competition

Hamann Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

Ferrari 599 GTB fiorano by Hamann
- image 118215
2006ferrari599gtb

One of the many tuning shops located in Germany, Hamann was offering many upgrades for high-performance cars back in the mid-2000s. One of its most exciting packages was the one developed for the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, one of the SLR McLaren’s most important competitors. Equipped with a more menacing body kit and a new set of wheels, the 599 GTB also received an engine upgrade that upped the 6.0-liter V-12’s 612 horsepower to 664 horses. This figure shaved a tenth-second off the standard car’s 0-to-60 mph sprint, lowering it to 3.5 seconds. While it was quicker than the Brabus SLR McLaren in a straight line, the Ferrari’s top speed was inferior at 205 mph.

Conclusion

2006 Brabus SLR McLaren
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The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was a tremendous vehicle and Brabus did its best to improve the McLaren-developed grand tourer. And it succeeded for the most part, offering a compelling package that included bespoke features inside and out, as well as a more powerful transmission and significant upgrades to the drivetrain. On the other hand, its price was prohibitive compared to the standard model and comparable to those of limited-edition versions based on the regular SLR McLaren. It’s probably why the Brabus variant wasn’t exactly popular back in the day, but it remains one of the company’s most exciting products to date.

  • Exclusive features inside and out
  • Beefed-up engine and chassis
  • More exclusive than the standard model
  • Very, very expensive
  • Not so many modifications on the outside
  • What do you think?
    Show Comments

    2 comments:

      (728) posted on 12.27.2011

    Awesome performance for this car, it describe the greatest power of engine or a revolution per minutes, and because of the supercharger engine it can reach a top speed up to 340 km/h in just 3.6 second from rest. The best as the fastest car ever.

      (6023) posted on 04.30.2006

    This is by far the most beautiful car ever built!!!

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