Brabus Bullit (2008) review

Published:06 June 2008

Brabus Bullit (2008) review
  • At a glance
  • 3 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

The Brabus Bullit is for those people who look at fast German saloons and just see underpowered four-doors. If you want the Bullit, you’re the sort of person who reckons the Mercedes C63 AMG is lethargic. Merc S65 AMG? Just plain slow. You are a speed freak with a warped grip on reality.

Does that sound like you? If your answer is yes then we think you’ll like the Bullit. It’s completely madcap: a re-engineered, re-trimmed and re-designed widebody 720bhp V12-engined C-class. You read those numbers right. They mean it will be fast, because the same engine shoehorned into a Mercedes CLS pushed that car to 228mph. No wonder it was called the Rocket; this one's the Bullit…

Ok, this Brabus Bullit: how, why, and probably what, where and when, too?

Why? Why not? Brabus specialises in making fast Mercs even faster, and doing what the factory didn’t think possible (or sane). That means under the bonnet the Bottrop-based engineers have squeezed a 6.3-litre V12 along with not one but a pair of intercooled turbos. The engine is bored out from Mercedes' 5.5-litre unit and, in the Bullit, it makes a faintly ludicrous 720bhp and a handy 811lb ft from 2100 to 3000rpm. We're talking richter scale here.

That 811lb ft is actually a restricted figure, because when fully unleashed this engine produces 974lb ft. Unfortunately, there’s no gearbox around that can take all that twist action, so Brabus is forced to make do with a significantly reinforced, military-spec five-speed auto. No fancy seven-speeder here and no fancy paddles behind the wheel, either.

Crikey, and it looks mean too...

Darth Vader-esque in fact. The blistered bodywork is brutal, with dark alloy wheels, a carbonfibre grille and rear apron, plus a basking shark front bumper to feed cooling air into the brakes and radiators. Which we imagine get rather hot.

On top of that, our test car had been given a satanic finish. Originally silver, it had been covered in dark foil (a snip at £3100) that looks brilliant, but stone chips had puckered and pockmarked the matt black treatment. And because it’s foil, the surface finish isn’t perfect to start with. The jury's out on that one then...

Click 'Next' to find out how the Bullit performs on the roadEnough of all that, what is the Brabus Bullit like on the road?

This thing is full-on. We had one 'moment' at 170mph on a fast right-hander on the A31 autobahn when the ESP light started to flash. And that was mere minutes after we’d taken the Bullit up to an indicated 195mph: it sounded as if the sunroof was being wrenched from its mountings. It was actually the tiny plastic covers for the roof rack attachment points flipping up under the gushing slipstream.

What’s it like beyond 195mph? We didn’t get a chance (or the brave pills) to go any faster, and nor have any of Brabus’s engineers – none of them have yet to crack the double tonne. Theoretically, Brabus says the Bullit will do 230mph. Except it won’t, because the Bullit is limited to 219mph for the sake of the poor tyres. Besides, Brabus didn't want to embarrass fellow Rocket owners...

Bullit options galore

The super-rich owners who buy the Bullit don’t seem bothered by big top speeds. So far, four cars have left the factory (including our test car) and all of them have been fitted with the shorter final drive ratio. It means even more visceral acceleration, but a top speed pegged to a paltry 197mph. Pah.

But don’t worry, if you want to stop with equal violence you can order carbon discs, though the regular steel set-up is better for day-to-day use. They are, after all, 380mm front discs with 12-pot callipers and 360mm rear discs with half a dozen grabbers.

Can the Brabus Bullit set acceleration records?

No, but don't forget this is a portly automatic C-class. Then again, 3.9 seconds to 62mph and 10.5 to 125mph aren’t to be scoffed at. Nor is the 24.5 seconds you need to hit 188mph. The ‘box shifts into fifth early, to cut down on the stresses and fuel consumption. Pity we averaged 9.7mpg  in our stint! That means a woeful refill of the 66-litre tank every 123 miles. But we doubt fuel bills are an issue if you’ve just spent £277k on a C-class.

Other problems. The suspension still isn’t fully sorted, but it was always going to be a struggle to get the chassis to work on bumpy back roads while excelling at 150mph-plus on the autobahn.

The final issue? Well, it depends whether or not you’re a fan of smoking because traffic lights mean lurid blacks lines can and are left at will. Second-gear corners mean smoky powerslides. And third gear allows you to spin the wheels, even in the dry. We didn’t see this as a problem, but then we weren't paying for the tyres...

Click 'Next' for our verdict on the madcap BullitVerdict

In our eco-conscious times, this Brabus sticks out like a sore thumb. But the Bullit is more like the big black hammer that’s caused the damage. By no stretch of the imagination is this an everyday car, so it won’t be polluting the world too much.

What the Bullit actually is is the pinnacle of the horsepower race. Forget twin-turbo Audi RS6s and the like, because there is a new OTT king that deserves celebration purely because it exists. It’s so ludicrous, that you can't help thinking it's a little bit wonderful.

Specs

Price when new: £277,000
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 6233cc twin-turbo V12, 720bhp @ 5100rpm, 811lb ft from 2100-3000rpm
Transmission: Five-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 3.9sec 0-62mph, 197mph, 18.7mpg, 362g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1850kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): na

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  • Brabus Bullit (2008) review
  • Brabus Bullit (2008) review
  • Brabus Bullit (2008) review
  • Brabus Bullit (2008) review
  • Brabus Bullit (2008) review

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

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