Brabus 190 E 3.6S in the driving report

Dino Eisele
Brabus 190 E 3.6S in the driving report
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B rabus 190 E 3.6S - the look The cool lettering on the trunk lid doesn't bode well. At first glance, the red mid-range Benz looks like a normal Mercedes 190 with tuning accessories from the mail order business. But the sight of the open engine and trunk of the Brabus 190 E 3.6S leaves the car enthusiast speechless.

At the front, a powerful, red-painted cylinder head squeezes between the bulkhead and the radiator, in front of which there are two additional radiators for the engine and transmission sit. 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 steel braided lines run through the high-gloss polished weight room.

In the Brabus 190 E 3.6, the accelerator can stay down

In the trunk, however, yawning emptiness with the exception of two freely 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. The temperature sensor then 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.

Brabus performance cure brings 92 hp extra

Exactly 272 hp were needed in early 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 at 1,500 rpm than the standard three-liter at nominal speed, namely 272 instead of 255 Newton meters, which culminates in a hefty 365 Newton meters at 4,800 rpm. This means that the Brabus six-cylinder even surpasses the series eight-cylinder from the 420 SE, which comes with325 Newton meters at 4,000 rpm.

Lightweight construction in the interior of the Brabus 190 E 3.6S

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 rear seat bench gave way to a massive roll bar with cross bracing, which now watches over the well-being of the two occupants.

Together with the removal of insulating materials from the trunk and interior, the curb weight remained at the standard level despite additional coolers, larger machines and brakes of the 190E 2.6 are: 1,340 kilograms of weight and 272 hp promise an entertaining driving pleasure.

Third gear theoretically goes up to 171 km /h

Entry is made somewhat more difficult by the Recaro bucket seat: Between its towering side cheek and the steering wheel, which is deeply attached as in every 190, there is only little space for the thighs slipping through. 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 basically deny you today.

The already warm 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 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 190 E 3.6S jets from zero to 100 in 6.3 seconds

Then up the motorway. 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 and vibrating.

The large straight six-cylinder works as efficiently and discreetly as a well-trained Gurkha lone fighter. In view of the racing-like interior, one is almost a bit disappointed that nothing roars, rumble or vibrate. 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 in a 20 year oldCars are on their way. If you are in less of a hurry, put in fifth at 120 and swim with a little more than idle.

The figures: sport auto determined an acceleration of the Brabus 190 E 3.6 in the test report at the beginning of 1989 0 to 100 km /h in 6.3 and to 200 km /h in 24.2 seconds. 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 passed the hundred mark after 7.5 seconds, but then made up some ground and reached 200 km /h 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.

For around 50,000 marks less there was already the 2.5-16. 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 the same color as the car, and the door handles and wiper arms are painted black.


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