Brabus Factory Visit

It's a wonderful August day, and an autoevolution tactical team is on site in Bottrop, Germany. Some might ask if we're in the wrong town, since CentrO, presumably the biggest shopping center in the whole of Europe, is actually based in nearby Oberhausen. But we're not here for cruising the German malls. No, we're here to snoop around the main facility of the biggest Mercedes-Benz tuner in the world.

Located in the industrial Ruhr district, Bottrop is a rather small and peaceful German town, and you would never suspect the type of monsters that are born in the steel and glass facility on Brabus Alee. Yes, the town actually named a street after their most famous residents. As we're sure most you know, Brabus is a (very) high performance aftermarket tuning company which specializes in Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and smart cars. And they're doing this at a very high level since 1977.

Probably not that many of you know that the above sentences are a bit incomplete, since from the number of things we learned during our visit at their place, the Brabus name is just a part of their business. Apart from their Startech department, which exclusively tunes Dodges, Chrysler and Jeeps, since 1984 they also have another in-house division called CRD (Car Research and Development), which is actually a separate company but part of the Brabus Group.

Speaking of which, did you know that the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG DR 520 Edition, made specifically for the British market, is actually a work of Bottrop engineers? We didn't either, especially since there is no mention of it in the official press release and the Brabus or CRD logos are nowhere to be found on the cars.

{panorama1}CRD (Car Research and Development) is essentially working with any car maker that comes their way, building special limited edition versions of cars for certain markets. They've collaborated in the past with brands like Kia, Jaguar, Infiniti, Hyundai and even SsangYong.

While we were lurking around their factory, a couple of hundred of Infiniti FXs and Land Rover Defenders were parked on the premises, after having received CRDs magic touch on both their exteriors and their interiors.

Apart from the aforementioned departments, Brabus is also the official tuner for smart cars. And we don't mean an aftermarket tuner, like they are for Mercedes-Benz and Maybach, since you can buy your Brabus smart from any smart dealer in the world.

If that's not enough to impress you, we also learned that they also restore classic cars. Only Mercedes-Benz models though, since that is the car company closest to their hearts.

{panorama2}On top of that, Brabus also makes one-off cars. Whether we're talking about the one-of-a-kind SL 65 AMG Black Series-based Brabus Vanish, a Morgan with a custom made interior or a Mercedes-Benz Viano transformed into a luxury office on wheels, they can do pretty much anything your heart desires.

Don't forget your platinum credit card when you approach them with a unique project though, because hand labour and meticulous, almost obsessive attention to details doesn't come cheap.

Of course, their main line of business - and the most famous one, that is – consists of turning "average" Mercedes-Benzes, or even AMGs, into asphalt-eating, fire-spitting, tire-torturing behemoths on wheels. Although the four Guiness Records for the world's fastest sedan would recommend them for their performance enhancing work, what was by far the most impressive department in their facility is where they manufacture the custom interiors.

Whether we're talking about silky-smooth, 0.30 millimeters thick leather or checkered-pattern carbon fiber inserts in just about any color you like, everything is absolutely mind blowing. If you're the kind of person who is more pragmatic, you will probably never understand why Brabus charges so much for their cars until you see the amount of work and attention to the most unbelievably small detail that goes into every special project.

The cheapest complete car from them can fetch for around 16,000 Euros, but we're talking about a smart fortwo and that's only the entry level in the range. To put things into perspective, the most expensive smart fortwo ever went for a little over 70,000 Euros to a customer in Northern Germany.

We're talking about a one-of-a-kind "Ultimate 112" in black and gold with an interior that was shamelessly drenched in sumptuous, hand sewn leather, Alcantara and carbon fiber inserts. By the way, "drenched" might actually be an understatement, since apparently there wasn't a single visible plastic bit inside the little bugger's cockpit.

The amount of money required for a completely custom vehicle will probably depend on how far you want to go with the modifications, but currently their most expensive cars are part of the "Brabus Supercars" line. The starting price for each of those is about 400,000 Euros, and it can only go upwards from there. In other words, apart from buying a highly exclusive and/or record-breaking supercar you can customize it in just about any way you want.

Unfortunately we didn't have access to a couple of top secret areas in the Brabus compound, but we can confirm you there are a lot of special projects on the way, with the first one to be unveiled at the upcoming Moscow Auto Show. They won't forget the Paris Auto Show in Autumn either, where an even higher performance variant of the SLS AMG by Brabus might flap its gull-wing doors.

PS: Stay tuned on autoevolution in the next couple of weeks for two of the most adrenaline-inducing test drives we ever made. Hints: one car has a 462 horsepower V8 and the other can keep up with a Bugatti Veyron on the German autobahn. Until then, enjoy our on-site photos and 3d panoramas taken at the Brabus headquarters.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Alex Oagana
Alex Oagana profile photo

Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the project.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories