It ain't pretty, but it's fast. Actually, with a claimed 211 mph top speed, the Brabus Bi-Turbo V12 GLK is the fastest SUV in the world. Which is kinda like being the winner in a Twinkie-eating competition: It's an epic feat of embarrassing proportions.
To pull it off, the Brabus crew stuck with its tried and true formula of shoving entirely too much engine into a small package. Underneath the vented hood lies a Mercedes-sourced V12 that's been stroked from 5.5- to 6.3-liters. From there, the Bottrop boys fit a duo of turbos, two intercoolers, a couple high-flow cats and a stainless steel exhaust. The effect is typical Brabus: A staggering 740 horsepower and 995 pound-feet of torque, which is actually limited to 811 lb-ft (at 2,100 rpm) to avoid the gearbox, diff and rear tires from vaporizing in an oily, metallic haze. And naturally, the absurdity doesn't stop with the engine.
Twelve-piston front calipers clamp onto 15-inch discs, with six-piston calipers and 14.2-inch rotors in the rear, while a height adjustable coilover suspension with ten settings for bound and rebound join 22-inch wheels wrapped in a choice of Pirelli or Yokohama rubber. The exterior and interior have been restyled to match, and while Merc's diminutive 'ute isn't exactly a beauty queen to begin with, Brabus' blocky aftermarket brutalization lends itself well to the GLK's squat proportions.
But aesthetics aside, there's a bigger problem. Actually, there are 397,000 of 'em. That's how many euros you'll need for the GLK V12. For that kind of scratch ($580,000 using a straight conversion), there's a host of high-power exotica available. And when you consider the GLK's sprinting stats -- 0-60 in 4.2 seconds and 124 mph in 12.8 ticks -- the far less expensive BMW X5 M is easily on par and was actually designed from the onset to be an offensively quick grocery-getter. Then again, the M can't break the double-century mark at Nardo... something to consider during your trip to Costco. Press release below the fold.