• Speedriven Can Turn Your V-12 Mercedes Into A 1,000-HP Monster

I’m sure the headline that brought you here seems more like it would be cruel joke, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. What seems even more outrageous, is that the 1,000-horsepower Mercedes that we’re here to discuss is actually a 5,000 pound, 2003 Mercedes-Benz CL600.

In stock form, the CL600’s twin-turbocharged V-12 puts out a respectable 493 horsepower – enough to push the heavy CL600 to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds with the quarter-mile sprint taking just 13.5 seconds. In all reality, that really isn’t bad for a car that tips the scale at nearly 5,000 pounds, but the car’s owner – who we know only by the name Bobby – and the guys over at Speedriven decided the car could do a lot better.

Speedriven, which is based out of Palentine, Illinois, made extensive modifications to Bobby’s CL600 – modifications that make that big V-12 under the hood pump out nearly 1,000 horsepower at the crank. If that isn’t something to write home about, I don’t know what is. With 831.08 horsepower and 827.52 pound-feet of torque at the wheels, this 5,000-pound monster is now a worthy adversary for the likes of the Corvette Z06 and the Porsche 991 Turbo.

Naturally, doubling the power output from that Mercedes V-12 comes at a price, but it’s really not as bad as one might think. Aside from price, there’s no doubt that you’re wondering just what in the world Speedriven did to the CL600 to bring it up to supercar status. We’ll, I reached out to Speedriven to find out just what took place behind that bay door. The truth is, it isn’t some fancy physics-killing warp drive or the sound-barrier breaking engine of a fighter Jet, it’s just some fine mechanic work from a company that clearly knows exactly what they are doing. Click past the jump to see the details on this crazy CL600, and just what it will set you back if you want one for yourself.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Nature of the Beast

Speedriven Can Turn Your V-12 Mercedes Into A 1,000-HP Monster
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Bobby’s CL600 has everything Speedriven’s 600 Series Biturbo V-12 upgrade has to offer. All told, there is a total of seven upgrade packages, all of which provide varied levels of performance and power gains. The first upgrade on that list is the Speedriven ECU Software upgrade. Speedriven’s custom ECU software pushes the V-12 up to 630 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque at a price of $2,000. Add $1,000 to that, and you’ll get the Billet package, which includes the ECU upgrade plus Billet blow-off valves, a Billet transmission pan, along with Billet badges and a vinyl decal kit.

The next package is the Best Value Package. It includes the ECU upgrade, plus Speedriven’s high-flow performance exhaust system with sport catalytic converters. Horsepower comes in at the same 630 offered with the ECU upgrade, but the exhaust system ups the torque to 715 pound-feet. The cost for the Best Value package will hit your wallet for $4,000. Next up is Speedriven’s Package 1. This packed will push your CL600 up to 690 horsepower and 820 pound-feet of torque. Upgrades include the ECU flash, Speedriven top-mounted intercoolers, Scorpion high-flow air intakes and four high-flow conical air filters. Total cost for this package sets you back $8,000.

Moving up to Package 2R gets you everything offered in Package 2, plus a Speedriven auxiliary heat exchanger and high-flow performance exhaust 2 (classified for off-road use only.) Horsepower remains at the 690, but torque jumps to 840 pound-feet. The cost of this package comes in at $11,000. If 690 horsepower and 840 pound-feet isn’t enough for you, move up to Package 3. This package includes all of the upgrades from the previous packages plug a fuel system upgrade and an upgrade to Billet turbochargers. The end result? 740 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque. This package computes to an invoice of $15,000, but total gains come in at 247 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque.

Still not enough for you? Well then, you can upgrade to Package 3R. This includes everything in the aforementioned packages, plus a few extras. Package 3R brings in a Speedriven-built transmission with valve body upgrades for better shifting and fluid pressure, the off-road high-flow exhaust 2, and a trunk-mounted IC expansion tank with a high-flow pump. The end result gives you 755 horsepower and 960 pound-feet of torque at a cost of $22,000.

Add all of that together with the E85 conversion kit and the CL600 hits a quarter mile in 10.576 seconds at 131 mph. If it sounds unbelievable, take a look at the YouTube video included with this article. It should also be noted that Bobby’s CL600 is running on Ignite E85 racing fuel.

Why it matters

Speedriven Can Turn Your V-12 Mercedes Into A 1,000-HP Monster
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If you’re not absolutely amazed by the work Speedriven did on Bobby’s CL600, I don’t know what to say. At the end of the day, the car pushes more than double what the car was offered with at the crank when new. The CL600 originally came at a cost of around $150,000 when new, but there are plenty of used examples of the 2003 to 2006 CL600 out there in the $25,000 range. Add on all of the upgrades from Speedriven, and you end up with a $65,000 supercar that will compete with some of the faster cars out there today – and you’ll be competing in style.

In a blog post on Speedriven’s website, the car’s owner Bobby said, “These are the true supercars.” He continued, “There’s nothing out there like this, right now, at any price.” I must say I agree completely with him. When was the last time you saw a 1,000 horsepower CL600? I never have, well not until I saw the video.

Speedriven offers these upgrades for the 1999 through 2013 Mercedes S600, 1999 through 2013 CL600, and the 2003 through 2012 SL600. So, if you’ve got one of these V-12 beauties and have a need for real power, give our friends over at Speedriven a holler. They can certainly hook you up. Jo Borras over at Speedriven also hooked us up with some pictures, track printouts, and we’ve linked the YouTube video, so go ahead and take a look. I’m sure you’ll be amazed.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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Press Release

At more than sixteen feet long and weighing nearly five-thousand pounds the W215 series Mercedes-Benz CL coupes were always going to have more in common with marine mammals than they were with sporty little two-seaters like the Chevy Corvette or Porsche Turbo. At least, that’s how it seemed before 2003, when Mercedes gave the big CL a 493 HP twin-turbocharged V12engine that blasted the two-and-a-half ton land whale from 0-60 in 4.8 seconds on the way to a 13.5 second ¼ mile time … which, you know, is fine.

Speedriven Can Turn Your V-12 Mercedes Into A 1,000-HP Monster
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What if you want more than “fine”, though? What if you want your big, comfortable Mercedes-Benz to run down anything on four wheels? What if you want to have your cake and eat it, too? What if, in other words, you want a car that’s less of a marine mammal, and more of a mythological sea monster?

If that’s what you’re looking for, allow me to introduce you to this menacing leviathan of a car. Built by Speedriven in Palatine, IL, this ethanol-fueled 2003 Mercedes-Benz CL600 is packing more twice the horsepower it came from the factory with, and is ready to blast across the quarter mile line in under eleven seconds- making it more than a match for the very latest Corvette Z06 and Porsche 991 Turbo.

That Porsche, by the way, will set you back well over $150,000 in the real world. The Speedriven Mercedes? Not even close.

“You could go out and replicate this car, just like it is, for sixty, maybe seventy thousand dollars,” says Bobby, the car’s owner. “You can buy a clean V12 Mercedes for twenty or twenty-five thousand, figure another thirty-five for the work Speedriven did, and figure a little bit here and there to fix any maintenance issues to make the car ’right’ and it’s done.”

You read that right. Despite carrying a $150,000 price tag of its own when it debuted, a well-kept example of a 2003-2006 model year Mercedes-Benz CL600 can be had for around $25K, today, and that six-figure depreciation can be a tough pill to swallow.

Speedriven Can Turn Your V-12 Mercedes Into A 1,000-HP Monster
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“Some guys look at this car and they see it for what it is. It’s a big V12, it has almost all the features you’d find in a new Lexus or Cadillac, and it’s cheap enough now that guys can buy it as a toy,” says Bobby. “Then you have the guys like me that bought it when it was new, or nearly new, and made big payments on it for a lot of years. The car is worth more to me than what I can sell it for, so I’m gonna keep it, and maybe I’m gonna do some work to it to make it feel new to me, you know?”

Doing “some work” to this particular Mercedes CL600 meant sending the car to Speedriven- and that’s where SD’s experts in massaging more power and performance out of Mercedes’ V12 engines, began transforming the CL into the 1000 HP, ethanol-fueled street beast you see here.

The first step was ditching the tiny turbos the V12 was fitted with from the factory in favor of a set of bigger Garrett-based ball-bearing turbos modified with Speedriven-specific housings. Those turbos necessitated an all-new exhaust manifold and freer-flowing turbo-back exhaust system, as well. Feeding the SD turbos are a pair of massive, anaconda-sized cold air intakes pushing air to a set of top-mounted water-to-air intercoolers. Those coolers work to keep intake temperatures low, maximizing the amount of oxygen reaching the cylinders and burning the ethanol fuel.

The Speedriven hardware and ethanol-friendly fuel system are managed by the factory Mercedes ECU running SD’s own in-house software. So equipped and with a tank full of fresh Ignite Racing E85, this Mercedes CL600 generates a reliable 1000 horsepower at the crank – more than enough, in other words, to make the car feel like new again.

“These are the true supercars,” says Bobby, looking at the results of his Mercedes’ dyno run, which show less of a torque curve and more of a torque mountain. “There’s nothing out there like this, right now, at any price.”

Speedriven Can Turn Your V-12 Mercedes Into A 1,000-HP Monster
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For more information about Speedriven performance upgrades for 2003-2015 600 series V12 Mercedes-Benz and converting your Mercedes to ethanol, contact the shop at their primary facility in Palatine, IL or visit their website at speedriven.com. For more information about Ignite fuels, contact Ignite Racing Fuels in Marion, Indiana, or through their website at igniteracingfuel.com. Visit afdc.energy.gov to find out about the US Department of Energy’s findings about ethanol’s life cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions, and how it compares to other fuels.

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