A Brabus fit to bust
Tuning house picks up on the 6WD ute where AMG leaves off
THE monster Mercedes ute inspired by the Australian Defence Force is now even meaner.
AMG’s 6x6 G-Wagen is possibly the most extreme Mercedes to roll off the Magna Steyr production line in Austria. It is related to the 6x6 GWagens Benz developed for the ADF, but the civilian version has a powerful twin-turbo V8 engine and $500,000 price.
German tuning house Brabus, which specialises in over-the-top Mercedes mods, such as a manic V8 Vito van, has turned its attention to the GWagen to produce something even more extreme, and expensive, although it is not disclosing prices at this stage.
The AMG version sends a remarkable 400kW through all six wheels, but Brabus went to work on the 5.5-litre V8, lifting power to an incredible 515kW (690hp). The engineers left the engine internals alone but modified the peripherals extensively.
Offering the biggest gain was the redesign of the turbocharger. Brabus removed the two AMG turbos, replacing them with its own more forceful items and winding up the boost pressure.
It also overhauled the inlets with the aim of reducing the temperature, and so increase the density, of the air the turbo forces into the engine.
On the exhaust side, Brabus installed catalytic converters with unique downpipes to reduce back pressure.
The changes have also sent the peak torque figure soaring — from a respectable 760Nm to a remarkable 960Nm. Even better, it is available from just 2000rpm through to 4500rpm.
Of course, the 6x6 G-Wagen crushes the scales at almost 4000kg, so it is never going to be a sprint star. The extra power enables the big beastie to haul off the line and hit 100km/h in 7.4 seconds.
In common with the donor vehicle, the Brabus 6x6 is electronically limited to just 160km/h because its massive chunky tyres designed for churning through sand are not designed to run any faster.
It has a bark to match its bite thanks to a dual-mode exhaust with quad pipes. A butterfly valve muffles the exhaust when set to Coming Home mode but folds back for maximum volume in Sport mode.
As you might expect, fuel economy is not a strength — official combined fuel economy is 17.0L/100km, with the city figure coming in at a disturbing 22.7L/100km.
It might be technically a ute but Brabus gives little detail on how much the 6x6 G-Wagen can haul or its towing capacity.
As is the case with the donor AMG 6x6, it carries over the handy 460mm of ground clearance and can wade through up to a metre of water.
The Brabus 6x6 sends its power through a seven-speed regular Benz auto transmission.
It drives the front wheels using standard G-Wagen driveshafts. The rear doubleaxle drive is shared with the Australian military 6x6 models.
As with the AMG, the Brabus 6x6 has no less than five differential locks. This means the front to rear power distribution can be locked, while the wheels on each axle rotate at the same rate for ultimate traction in uneven terrain — any wheel that lifts off the ground does not spin faster than the others.
Brabus also turned its attention to the exterior, adding its own spoiler, carbon-fibre bonnet and wing mirror shells and unique xenon and LED headlights. The interior can be fitted out to the specific taste, or lack thereof, of each customer.