BRABUS is regarded as the pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz tuners, focusing not only on mind-boggling performance but also on fulfilling their clientele’s special wishes when it comes to bespoke personalisation.
BRABUS was founded in the West German town of Bottrop in 1977 by the late Bodo Buschmann. At the time, Bodo’s choice of car did come from Stuttgart – it just wasn’t bearing the three-pointed star. Buschmann was not only the proud owner of a Porsche 911 but also the son of a Mercedes-Benz dealer. His father refused to let him park at the dealership unless he drove a Mercedes-Benz, a statement which prompted the swap for a W116 S-Class. The S Class wasn’t exactly a direct competitor to the 911, but Bodo made it his mission to make it just as fast – thus the birth of BRABUS.
Growing up, every petrolhead head had their childhood poster cars. Italian supercars from the 80’s, 90’s and early 00’s could be found plastered across many bedroom walls. To avoid the scorn of my mother, I refrained from ruining the textured wallpaper that surrounded my bedroom walls. That was until I returned from the 2006 British Motor Show with a black and white poster of the then-recently unveiled BRABUS CLS Rocket V12 S Biturbo. As a 9-year-old, the idea of a 4-door Mercedes-Benz that could reach over 220 mph was almost incomprehensible to me. That poster still is firmly blue-tacked to my bedroom wall, a testament to my love for BRABUS.
BRABUS now has its sights set on other manufacturers. During their debut appearance at Monterey Car Week, I sat down with Constantin Buschmann, CEO of BRABUS, and we discussed what’s next for the German auto house.
As a long-time attendee, Constantin expressed that a presence at Pebble Beach has always been part of his plan since he became CEO five years ago. Despite being their first year, Buschmann already has confirmed that BRABUS will be returning with a larger presence by utilising a ‘bullets, then cannonballs’ approach. He explained that the presence this year is merely a ‘1.0’ – A standard event setup which will act as foundations to build upon for future years.
Within the last four years, Buschmann believes that BRABUS has grown both horizontally and vertically. This has been achieved by maintaining the reputation of the paramount Mercedes-Benz tuner as well as introducing new automotive manufacturers into the fold. With the growing demand from BRABUS clientele calling for the same craftsmanship and performance on cars other than Mercedes, the decision to expand the portfolio wasn’t so simple. These discussions were had over the decade that Bodo was leading the charge. The team at BRABUS didn’t want to overstretch its values ensuring that it stayed true to its principles.
It’s quite poetic that the first non-Mercedes that received the complete BRABUS treatment was a Porsche 911 Turbo S, not least given that the 911 was the car which arguably sparked the birth of BRABUS. Limited to just 25 units, the BRABUS 900 Rocket R is based on the already ballistic Porsche 992 Turbo S – the name ‘Rocket’ being reserved for BRABUS’ fastest and most powerful creations. The 900 Rocket R, as the name suggests, boasts 900 hp and a mind-altering 0-60 mph time of 2.5 seconds. Of course, if 900 hp seems excessive, BRABUS also offers packages for the 992 Turbo S which produce 820 hp or 720 hp respectively. So is BRABUS now taking on Porsche? Not exactly. Constantin states: “As a brand, we’re going to be working on very specific cars which we believe can represent the BRABUS DNA”.
BRABUS is evolving, and their approach to unveiling cars is far from conventional with the introduction of the ‘BRABUS Signature Night’ – an annual showcase which started in 2022 and sees both motor and model take the catwalk in a night of performance and fashion. It’s the one night that encapsulates the breadth of BRABUS and all the products they offer.
Last year BRABUS provided a bit more ‘boo’ to the Series II Rolls-Royce Ghost; giving it 700 hp and a sport exhaust system, as well as custom bumpers, their signature 22” Monoblock M rims and bespoke leather ‘Masterpiece’ interior.
This year saw more cars than ever – alongside the 900 Rocket R, BRABUS showed off their latest iteration of the G Wagon 6×6 and the ‘newest addition to the Range’ (pun intended). The BRABUS 600 Range Rover receives a jump in power to 600 hp, bespoke bumpers decked out with carbon fibre and a unique interior. You’d be mistaken if you think Range Rover is unfamiliar territory for BRABUS. StarTech, a BRABUS subsidiary, has been customising JLR products since 2010. BRABUS has a very clear vision for the future and stays true to its principles by holding both performance and bespoke personalisation in the highest regard. The introduction of new models fits seamlessly in their product lineup with their signature design language and unmistakable interiors.
Outside of the world of cars, BRABUS continues to embellish its DNA on the road thanks to a collaboration with KTM, a renowned Austrian motorcycle manufacturer. The BRABUS 1300 R Edition 23 is a 180-hp superbike limited to 145 units, all of which are spoken for. If you’re more open sea than open road, you’re in luck. BRABUS teamed up with award-winning Finnish boat builder Axopar Boats to create BRABUS Marine, a ‘supremely exciting new breed of luxury tenders and day boats’. Why would you not have a matching spec 900hp boat to go with your 900hp Porsche? Constantin sees BRABUS as an atelier for their esteemed customers, and as is the case in the world of custom couture, it’s not a question of what if… but when.
With such a wide scope of product offerings, Buschmann understands that the BRABUS corporate identity is rapidly evolving. The main goal of a BRABUS product is to evoke an emotional response, a response which BRABUS calls the 1-Second-Wow.
After learning about the future of BRABUS, I got to experience the ‘1-Second Wow’ effect for myself while behind the wheel of a BRABUS G Wagon. Starting life as a Mercedes-AMG G63, the 577hp brute from Affalterbach isn’t exactly slow. However, it will only take one lap of Beverly Hills to let you know that the G63 is more common than a Gen-Z fitness influencer waiting in line for a $20 smoothie at Erewhon. This particular G63 I was driving had been fitted with a plethora of exterior parts, such as the aggressive Widestar body kit and Monoblock rims. However, the most important upgrade for me was the BRABUS 800 power package, which includes the BRABUS PowerXtra control module for the ECU and increases the power output to 800hp and 1000 nm of torque. In reality, piloting the BRABUS G makes you stand out from the crowd whilst commanding attention and respect. Whilst driving, the prominent presence of the carbon fibre ‘Powerdome’ sits proudly on the bonnet, ensuring that it’s both in the eye line of the driver and onlookers at all times. Even during Monterey Car Week, where bedroom poster cars such as F40s and Diablos are a regular sight, the BRABUS G turned plenty of heads and received positive sentiment. I even got a nod from a pair of Bugatti Chiron Supersport owners in convoy. Why? Because those who indulge in the upper echelons of bespoke motoring don’t blend into the crowd.
BRABUS is entering a new world, where they don’t just provide a luxury personalisation and unparalleled performance offering, but a complete lifestyle. Evolving from the demand of those who dare to stand out, never settling for the standard set by those around them and making great strides in the automotive, nautical and fashion sectors whilst staying true to their core values.
I for one am on the edge of my quilted leather seat, anticipating the next move from BRABUS. They’ve tackled the road, the sea and the runway, and you know what they say… The only way is up.