German tuner brings the pain with its latest Rocket tuning program

Brabus has dropped the gloves ahead of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show with the presentation of what it claims to be the world’s most powerful four-door cabriolet. The German tuner has been known to use superlatives like this from time to time, but it’s hard to argue against its claim for the tuned up version of the 2017 Mercedes-AMG S65. This gnarly beast packs 888 horsepower and 885 pound-feet of torque, and that’s only one part of the story of the car now known as the Brabus Rocket 900.

We’ve been down this road before with Brabus as the history of its programs wearing the “Rocket” name stretches back to the last decade with the CLS-Class and the SL-Class. Even the coupe version of the Mercedes-AMG S65 has been the recipient of the “world’s fastest” treatment, a testament to the kind of audacity the tuner is capable of. Needless to say, the new Rocket 900 follows along the same path, with almost 900 horsepower in tow to go with a menu of aerodynamic enhancements, suspension improvements, new wheels, and a plush interior offering. The result is a car that not only performs like a car with rockets strapped onto it, but also looks the part of what a fully dressed up AMG S65 should look like. It’s a fitting kit from the tuning company that has given us no shortage of over-the-top tuning programs over the years.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

  • 2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Brabus Rocket 900
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V12
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    888
  • Torque @ RPM:
    1106
  • Displacement:
    6.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    217 mph
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Brabus Rocket 900 High Resolution Exterior
- image 729352

Brabus’ Rocket programs have always been defined by subtle aggression. They may look refined on the surface, but they’re monsters underneath. They’re the proverbial wolf hiding in (a well-dressed) sheep’s clothing. The AMG S65 Rocket 900 follows along this same blueprint since it’s hard to piece together anything that stands out from the exterior. That’s not to say that there aren’t any upgrades to begin with; it’s just that you don’t notice them.

The AMG S65 Rocket 900 follows along this same blueprint since it’s hard to piece together anything that stands out from the exterior.

Chief among these modifications is an aerodynamic kit that was developed in wind tunnels by Brabus designers and come in naked carbon finishes. One of these components is a new front spoiler that can be attached to the AMG S65’s front bumper, thereby creating improvements in handling and stability by cutting down on the front axle lift at high speeds. Over at the back, a new diffuser is the main addition to the convertible’s aesthetic makeup and on the cosmetic side, the German tuner prepared some goodies of its own, including naked carbon covers for the doors and mirrors, as well as carbon attachments for the side air vents. Rounding off the upgrades in this section is a new set of 21-inch Monoblock “Platinum Edition” forged wheels that customers can get in various designs. There’s also an offer for bigger wheels - 22-inch king-sized Monoblock G Platinum Editions - should customers want to get the royal treatment.

2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Brabus Rocket 900 High Resolution Exterior
- image 729348
2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Brabus Rocket 900 High Resolution Exterior
- image 729349

It has to be said that none of these upgrades do anything to raise the visual appearance of the AMG S 65. It still looks like the same car, up close and from a distance. But the modifications are definitely there, serving as a nice appetizer for what’s to come.

Brabus’ Rocket program for the coupe version

For the record, we saw a pair of different iterations of the Rocket 900 program for the coupe version of the AMG S65 last year. One of them was presented at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show in March and came in the same unblushed appearance as the Frankfurt-bound program. Exterior upgrades for that program featured similar aerodynamic enhancements in it. It had a new front spoiler and diffuser, though it also did feature a bespoke spoiler. Wheel options were also offered as part of the kit, specifically with sets of 21- and 22-inch wheels in various design finishes.

2016 Mercedes-AMG S65 Coupe Rocket by Brabus High Resolution Exterior
- image 669030

Note: photo of the Mercedes-AMG S65 Coupe Brabus Rocket 900

Before that unveiling in March 2016, Brabus took to the 2015 Dubai Motor Show and brought with it what a Rocket 900 could look like if it didn’t dress in all-black. The model itself was called the Desert Gold Edition and as you might expect, it had a much sunnier personality than its counterparts, all thanks to an exclusive Desert Gold body finish. Every other feature came straight out of the Rocket 900 catalog, but it’s still hard to escape the attention-grabbing qualities of the car’s paint, proving at least in that instance that customers do have influence on what kind of look they want to get out of their Rocket 900s.

2015 Mercedes S65 AMG "Rocket 900 Desert Gold Edition" By Brabus High Resolution Exterior
- image 654829

Note: photo of the Mercedes-AMG S65 Coupe Brabus Rocket 900 Desert Gold Edition

Interior

2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Brabus Rocket 900 High Resolution Interior
- image 729346

A project this extensive - and expensive - deserves an interior that fits the part. Good thing then because Brabus knows its way around fancy-pants interior upgrades and it shows in how it’s prepared this particular model for the Frankfurt Motor Show. The important thing to remember here is that Brabus allows its customers to personalize the interior of their cars any way they see fit provided that Brabus has the materials for them. That shouldn’t be a problem because the tuner’s offerings cover a big menu of options. Fine leather, Alcantara, and carbon fiber are just a few of the materials that are on the catalog and the Frankfurt-bound model car shows as much with a two-tone “Mondial Vanilla” and “Mondial Black” leather treatment in the cabin. Decorative stitching is also present in the model car, featured specifically in the seats and side panels together with red and black topstitching.

2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Brabus Rocket 900 High Resolution Interior
- image 729359
2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Brabus Rocket 900 High Resolution Interior
- image 729358
Fine leather, Alcantara, and carbon fiber are just a few of the materials that are on the catalog

Those who want to take their personalization to the next level can also improve on the production wood inlays and trim strips in the cabin. At their behest, Brabus actually has ornamental carpenters that are able to remodify the inlays and strips with tailor-made noble wood components. This specific model features black ash wood, which itself was designed to have an open-pore surface finish. The end result is stunning to say the least. The seats do look the part of being high-maintenance, but for the most, it’s a classic and refined interpretation of what customers can get out of Brabus if they get a little creative with their options.

It still pales in comparison to what Brabus did to the Brabus Rocket 900 Desert Gold Edition

There’s a certain amount of flamboyance that Brabus is capable of. Believe it or not, but as fancy as the upgrades are for the Frankfurt-bound Rocket 900 AMG S65, it pales in comparison to what the tuner did to the Rocket 900 Desert Gold Edition. The interior of this particular interpretation of the Rocket 900 drew from its flamboyant exterior color, including using the same Desert Gold finish on 300 specific parts of the cabin. The switches, bezels, door handles, air-conditioning vents, and even the floor mat trims and pedals are all dressed up in Desert Gold. Serving as a complement to all that sparkliness is the use of black and gold Mastik leather covering the seats, dashboard, and center tunnel. A well-dressed headliner made from black Alcantara and “900” embroideries on the headrests round out the bombastic cabin of the Brabus Rocket 900 Desert Gold Edition. This is what Brabus is capable of if customers get creative with their personalization needs. Kind of makes you wonder what constitutes as “overboard” for the German tuner.

2015 Mercedes S65 AMG "Rocket 900 Desert Gold Edition" By Brabus High Resolution Interior
- image 654843

Note: interior photo of the Mercedes-AMG Brabus Rocket 900 Desert Gold Edition

Drivetrain

2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Brabus Rocket 900 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 729345

Brabus can throw every conceivable offering to the exterior and interior of the Mercedes-AMG S 65, but make no mistake, the crown jewel of this tuning kit is the upgrade the tuner did to the convertible’s massive 6.0-liter biturbo V-12 engine. It’s not a conventional upgrade either because in order for the tuner to get almost 900 horsepower out of the V-12, it had to do more than just install a software upgrade. Instead, it went over and above that by increasing the car’s displacement from the stock 6.0 liters to 6.3 liters and bringing in larger cylinder bores. Larger turbochargers and bespoke exhaust manifolds also had to be developed to help in the tuning proceedings.

The end result is an output of 888 horsepower and a staggering 1,106 pound-feet of torque

Likewise, the engine’s cooling capabilities were also improved to accommodate the extent of upgrades that were done to the whole setup. The end result is an output of 888 horsepower and a staggering 1,106 pound-feet of torque. Unfortunately, customers won’t be able to access all that metal-twisting torque as Brabus capped the figure to “only” 885 pound-feet of torque to not only preserve the tuned engine’s reliability, but also ensure the safety of its customers.

Despite the cap, the massive spike in power represents amounts to 267 extra horses and an uncapped increase in torque of 368 pound-feet. Customers can only access an extra 145 pound-feet of twist, but still, that should be more than enough for the AMG S65 Brabus Rocket 900 to move mountains when it sees fit. Performance upgrades don’t spike significantly, but the tuned up AMG S65 is now capable of sprinting from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.9 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the “standard” AMG S65 Cabriolet, on its way to an uncapped top speed of 217 mph. That’s why it’s called the Rocket 900, folks.

The tuned up AMG S65 is now capable of sprinting from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.9 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the “standard” AMG S65 Cabriolet

All that power is sent to the rear wheels courtesy of a heavily modified seven-speed automatic transmission, and together with a custom-built limited-slip differential, a new intake manifold, and a high performance exhaust system, they comprise the whole spec of Brabus’ Rocket 900 kit for the AMG S65.

Potent competitor to the British

When you get to this level of automotive luxury, competition doesn’t become defined by how many rivals a car has, but the quality of these rivals, no matter how many they are. Two models do stand out though - the Bentley Continental GT Convertible and the Rolls-Royce Dawn - and they just happen to have tuning programs of their own that can compete against Brabus’ Rocket 900 kit for the AMG S65 Cabriolet.

First up is the Continental GT Convertible, which can rely on a tuner like Mansory for its aftermarket needs. The German tuner showcased as much a few years ago when it presented the LE Mansory II program for the Continental GT Convertible. It had a far more aggressive aerodynamic kit than what Brabus is offering, but even with all the accessories and options, the program was defined by its engine upgrade. Unfortunately, it comes nowhere close to what Brabus has to offer, but back when it was launched in 2012, the kit was all sorts of impressive as it promised gains amounting to 672 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque, significant enough that they actually represented improvements amounting to 105 ponies and 59 pound-feet of twist. All told, the Mansory kit for the Continental GT Convertible allowed the car to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 200 mph.

Then there’s the program for the Rolls-Royce Dawn, which also happens to come from Mansory. This kit was presented more recently in 2016, and it featured a software upgrade that netted the Dawn a new output of 740 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. Do the math and those are increases of 177 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, respectively. With the upgrades in tow, Mansory said that the Dawn would be capable of accelerating from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds before maxing out a top speed of 177 mph.

Check out the table below to see how these three programs for these three super luxury performance convertibles compare to each other.

Model Horsepower Torque 0 to 60 MPH Top Speed
Mercedes-AMG 65 Brabus Rocket 900 888 horsepower 1,106 pound-feet (capped at 885 pound-feet 3.9 seconds (0 to 62mph) 217 mph
Bentley Continental GT Convertible LE Mansory II 672 horsepower 575 pound-feet 4.5 seconds (0 to 62 mph) 200 mph
Rolls-Royce Dawn by Mansory 740 horsepower 737 pound-feet 4.5 seconds (0 to 62 mph) 177 mph

Pricing

2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Brabus Rocket 900 High Resolution Exterior
- image 729351
2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Brabus Rocket 900 High Resolution Exterior
- image 729350

Brabus says that the Mercedes-AMG S65 Brabus Rocket 900 can be bought as a complete car with the program in tow. Likewise, owners of the AMG S65 can also get the program installed in their cars as a separate cost. That said, the pricing details haven’t been revealed just yet so we may have to wait until the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show to details in that regard. In any case, the best way to get an idea on how the program is going to cost is to contact the tuner directly.

Competition

Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet "Diospyros" by Carlsson

2016 Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet "Diospyros" By Carlsson Exterior
- image 698055
2016 Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet "Diospyros" By Carlsson Exterior
- image 698069

Ok, so this isn’t a direct competitor in the traditional sense, but for those who don’t own a Mercedes-AMG S 65, but instead have the more standard S-Class S550, there is another tuner that can provide some aftermarket assistance. Carlsson’s Diospyros tuning kit for the S550 is a sight to behold. It’s all dressed up in an exclusive pastel color finish that the German tuner calls “Carlsson Heritage Green.” It also has a well-appointed interior and an engine upgrade that at least in the case of the S550, puts the luxury convertible’s output up to 550 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Here’s the thing about Carlsson’s Dispyros kit though. It has said that the program is available for the AMG S65 though the actual engine upgrades will depend on the “engine and equipment” the specific model comes with.

Read our full review on the Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet "Diospyros" by Carlsson.

Conclusion

2017 Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet Brabus Rocket 900 High Resolution Exterior
- image 729344

I don’t think we need to be reminded of the kind of skill that Brabus has in developing programs that fall under the “Rocket” classification. It’s done so countless of times in the past and this example for the AMG S65 Cabriolet is just the latest member of that lineage. It’s hard to go wrong with the Rocket program too because it represents the very best of what Brabus has to offer. it may not be for everyone, but those who are looking for perception-altering power out of their AMG S65s, the Rocket 900 is as potent a program as it’s going to get.

  • Leave it
    • * Some might not be able to handle it
    • * It’s not going to come cheap
    • * Do you really need it?

References

Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet

2017 Mercedes-AMG S 65 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 659502

Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet.

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