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Brabus 190 E 3.6S in the driving report: 270 km / h Baby-Benz from Brabus

Dino Eisele
Brabus 190 E 3.6S lightweight construction in the driving report
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Stay cool now, although it is not easy. There is a red M ercedes 190, which at first glance looks like a tuning car with accessories from the mail order business. A look at the lettering on the rear reveals the mid-range car as a Brabus 190 E 3.6S.

Tempo 270: the Brabus Baby-Benz drives away the Porsche 911 and BMW M3

Well done You think, maybe the whole thing is a little too garish. But the sight of the open engine and trunk of the Brabus 190 E 3.6S stunned the sports enthusiast: a mighty, red-painted cylinder head squeezed between the bulkhead and the radiator, in front of which there were two additional radiators for the engine and transmission. Six manifold pipes well up like a fat boa next to the row of spark plugs from the dark depths of the engine compartment. Shiny silver braided steel cables run through the high-gloss polished gym.

In the trunk, on the other hand, yawning emptiness with the exception of two free-floating steel braided lines. They supply the rear axle cooler integrated in the rear spoiler with hot oil. This occurs when the red racer speeds along the motorway with a 270 speedometer for a long time. Then the temperature sensor activates the oil pump for the rear axle, the oil of which flows through the radiator in the rear spoiler. Three additional instruments on the center console provide information about the always healthy climate in the engine, transmission and rear axle. This gives the Brabus 190 E 3.6S driver the reassuring certainty that the accelerator can stay down - and he can finally shake off the annoying Porsche 911 or BMW M3 in the rearview mirror. Without any damage to man or machine, as it should be for a real, performance-enhanced Mercedes from Brabus.

Red-Hot-Porsche-Killer with 272 HP

Exactly 272 HP were needed at the beginning of 1989 to turn a good Mercedes 190 E 2.6 into a Red-Hot-Porsche-Killer . The basis for the engine in the Brabus 190 E 3.6S was provided by the M 103.980 six-cylinder from the E-Class (W 124) with a three-liter displacement and 180 cat-hp. Thanks to a newly developed crankshaft milled from solid, the stroke increased from 80.25 to a remarkable 90 millimeters, while the cylinder bore increased from 88.5 to 92 millimeters. This 3.6 liter six-cylinder steam hammer already delivers more torque than that at 1,500 rpmSeries three liters at nominal speed, namely 272 instead of 255 Newton meters, which culminates in a hefty 365 Newton meters at 4,800 rpm. The Brabus six-cylinder even surpasses the series eight-cylinder from the 420 SE, which has to be content with 325 Newton meters at 4,000 rpm.

But the amazement continues. In the interior of the Brabus 190 E 3.6S, the driver and front passenger can expect two high-profile Recaro sports seats made of carbon fiber, each weighing just 2.5 kilograms. The back seat gave way to a massive roll bar with cross bracing, which now watches over the wellbeing of the two occupants. Together with the removal of insulating material from the trunk and interior, the curb weight remained at the standard level of the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 despite additional coolers, larger engine and brakes: 1,340 kilograms and 272 hp promise an entertaining driving pleasure.

In the Brabus you sit as if screwed on

The Recaro bucket seat makes getting in a little more difficult: in between towering side bolsters and the steering wheel, which is deeply attached as in every 190, leaves little space for slipping thighs. Then you sit as if screwed into the red Blitzen-Benz; the red harness straps serve as an additional cotter pin. Nice to look down at a flat bonnet from inside and above, something that modern cars generally deny you today.

The already warmed-up six-cylinder of the Brabus 190 E 3.6S starts immediately with a little gas and then runs completely vibration-free, accompanied by a subtle exhaust hum from behind. The standard five-speed gearbox shows the well-known Mercedes vices, such as long shift travel and the gritty engagement of the gears. Fortunately, in inner-city traffic, thanks to the bull's torque, you only move in second and third gear, which thanks to the long rear axle reduction could even stay up to 171 km /h, which is of course not advisable in the city.

The Brabus shoots from zero to 100 in 6.3 seconds

Then up the autobahn. We gently accelerate the Brabus 190 E 3.6S in second gear on the pretzel-shaped driveway, keep the rear of the car safely under control with the accelerator to the limit of the tires' grip, take the threading lane into the third and step through at just 3,500 rpm . The bull engine pushes so hard that it presses the occupants into their hard seats like the crew of an Apollo rocket when it takes off. In just two seconds we reach the speed of the left lane of the autobahn and only with difficulty find a gap between the lorries that are pulling by, which give the impression that they are parked on the side of the road. The whole thing goes on stage without screeching, roaring or vibrating.

The large straight six-cylinder works as efficiently and discreetly as a well-trained Gurkha lone fighter. You are almost there in view of the racing interiora bit disappointed that nothing roars, rumbles or vibrates. The Brabus is Mercedes through and through, even at higher speeds. Only the clearly audible wind noises on the A-pillar reveal that we are driving in a 20-year-old car. If you are in less of a hurry, put in fifth at 120 and swim with a little more than idle.

Plus the numbers. In its test report at the beginning of 1989, the specialist magazine sport auto determined an acceleration from zero to 100 km /h in 6.3 and to 200 km /h in 24.2 seconds for the Brabus 190 E 3.6. Measured top speed: 258 km /h. For comparison: A BMW M3 Evolution that developed 220 hp without a catalytic converter took 7.2 and 33.8 seconds for the same disciplines and ran 244 km /h. The Porsche 911 3.2 with 217 cat horsepower cut a slightly better figure at the time, but fell behind the high-capacity Brabus Brummer in the upper speed range: 0 to 100 km /h in 6.2, 0 to 200 km /h in 27 seconds, 245 km /h top.

126 673 marks for the hero from Bottrop

And Mercedes? Wasn't the 190 E 2.5-16, which has been on the market since 1987, also a hot piece of sports equipment that still had 195 catalytic converter horsepower? Generally, yes. But even the base vehicle for motorsport, with whose evolutionary model Klaus Ludwig finally won the DTM championship title in 1992, made no mistake against the Brabus 190. In comparison, the driving performance is actually quite contemplative. In the sport auto test, the 2.5-16 only rushed through the hundred mark after 7.5 seconds, but then made up some ground and reached 200 km /h after 28.6 seconds. The top speed was a leisurely 237 km /h. So if you wanted to be on the move quickly in a 190 at that time, you were better served in Bottrop with the Brabus 190 E 3.6S than in Sindelfingen, because there was no way around the bulky lightweight sedan. The only obstacle was 126,673 marks, which Brabus demanded for the red racer.

The 2.5-16 was already available for around 50,000 marks less. But the consistent engine conversion, which alone devoured 30,730 marks, and the rigorous visual enhancement of the body drove the price into the regions of a Ferrari 328. The plastic panels on the flanks and the radiator are painted in body color, door handles and wiper arms in black. We are now driving back from our morbid photo location to Bottrop and leaving the former steelworks of the Landscape Park Duisburg Nord. It's pouring rain again, the sky is overcast gray, asphalt and cobblestone streets shine in a deep dark blue. Our red Brabus 190 E 3.6S is all the more noticeable in the hustle and bustle of traffic. In the astonished faces you can read some pity for the beautiful car. Right! We should really leave it in the garage when it rains - it's not a Ferrari.

Brabus - faster Mercedes since 1977

When Bodo Buschmann started his job in his father's Mercedes dealership , he also had the brand with the star privatelydrive. Since most of the models seemed too unsporting to him, he built a dash-eight sedan for himself with a front spoiler, alloy wheels and more power, which the customers in the dealership also liked and which generated demand.

Together with his fellow student Klaus Brackmann, Buschmann founded Brabus GmbH in 1977. Buschmann expanded the tuning activities for almost all Mercedes models and also devoted himself to upgrading the interiors with high-quality music systems, among other things.

This is how the company name Brabus came about: Bra plus Bus from the first syllables of the family names. However, Brackmann was never involved in the operational business and left early.
Brabus achieved extreme conversions such as the 1984 Mercedes 190 E with a five-liter V8 or the 1996 Mercedes E V12 based on the W 124 with a 7.3-liter, 509 hp twelve-cylinder engine the status of a vehicle manufacturer.

In 2005, Brabus showed a real monster on wheels with the CLS V12S Rocket: 730 PS and 1,320 Newton meters of torque were a new benchmark. In addition to optimizing the performance of AMG models, Brabus also offers individual components such as rims, chassis Kits and engine control units. The Brabus subsidiary Startech is dedicated to the tuning of Chrysler and Dodge vehicles. In addition, Brabus is responsible for the technical development and production of the sporty Smart variants.


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