For over 100 years, Mercedes-Benz has been providing drivers around the world with luxury performance. The company has factories on every continent save Antarctica, and their vehicle offerings cover everything from hatchbacks to SUVs to the AMG-GT3 race car to vans, trucks, and even buses. They also offer hybrid and fully electric models. But if you think that amount of diversity means they can't do anything, well, think again.
In the race to innovate, Mercedes-Benz is usually at the front of the line. According to RoadSafe.com, the company was the first to pioneer a long list of safety developments, including the first crumple zones in 1957, the first driver airbags in 1981, and the first brake assist system in 1996. They've won three times at the "World Car Awards," and their honors are as diverse as their lineup: "World Green Car" in 2012 for the S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, "World Luxury Car" in 2014 for the S-Class, and "World Car of the Year" in 2015 for the C-Class.
Clearly, these are no ordinary vehicles. In fact, Mercedes-Benz scored highest in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (which measures consumers' satisfaction with their vehicles) in 2013 and again in 2014. So, if you're a Merc owner, you probably wake up each day with a smile on your face; after all, with such world-renowned quality, safety, and innovation, it can't get any better for you.
Or can it? Is it possible to improve on near-perfection? Here are 15 spectacular mod jobs that try.
15 Sugar D.A.D. - SL600
If you're looking for subtle and professional here, you got off on the wrong exit. The SL600, normally a very respectable rear-wheel-drive convertible with a twin-turbocharged V-12 engine, was the subject of a collaboration between Garson, a car accessory company, and Swarovski, the world-renowned crystal company. The collaboration produced two blinged-out Benzes - one in silver and this one in gold. Each has more than 300,000 Swarovski crystals covering its exterior, including its rims. The base price for a stock SL600 is about $130,000, but one of these was sold to Prince Al Waleed of Saudi Arabia for $4.8 million, which means you could buy 36 SL600s for the price of just one of these. Now, whether it's fit for royalty or just a royal pain in the rear, I'll let you decide.
14 SLS AMG - I Believe I Can Fly
Let's face it - you don't buy a car with gull-wing doors so you won't be noticed, and the $300,000 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG very much deserves to be noticed. Sold from 2010-2015, the SLS AMG (which stands for "Super Light Sport") weighs only 3,573 pounds, which helps propel it to a top speed of 197 mph. The company even made a concept ambulance out of it because why not?
This SLS AMG mod job appeared in Japan in 2014, and it looks like something straight out of Need for Speed. If you can tear your eyes away from the custom LED lights lining the gull-wings, you'll notice it also has strobe lights, red gills, and a red interior. What a way to level up your street cred!
13 Battle Royale - Super GT C25 Royale
Since 1989, German company Carlsson has been tuning and modifying Mercs. Here, they've worked their magic on the 2011 SL65 AMG, which already features a retractable hardtop roof, a 604-hp V-12 Twin Turbo 6.0-liter engine, and a 4.2 second 0-60. But to Carlsson, that's just beginning.
To create the Super GT C25 Royale, Carlsson first transformed the hard-top convertible into a fixed-roof coupe. Then, they turned their attention to the engine, which now roars with 753 hp and 848 lb/ft of torque (electronically limited). Drivers control all this power from a chic custom interior with a paddle-shifter five-speed automatic gearbox. Carlsson only made 25 of the C25 Royales, and considering the $603,000 price tag, that's probably okay. The rest of us can always dream.
12 Oh My GAD - A45 AMG
Despite only having a 2-liter four-cylinder engine, the A45 AMG still produces enough horsepower (353 hp) that it needs an electronically activated multiplate clutch to handle it all. In fact, according to Car and Driver, it produces more hp per liter than a Porsche 911 GT2 RS (173 vs 172.2). All that power is controlled with a seven-speed AMG Speedshift MCT dual-clutch gearbox, which helps it hit 0-60 in 4.5 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
Very impressive for a little hatchback - but still not good enough for GAD Motors. In addition to the bright green wrap, they updated the A45's software to bring it up to 430 hp, which translates to a three-second improvement on its 0-200 kph time (now 14.3 seconds). This A45 is lean, green, and mean.
11 Best In Show - 1997 SL320
With only 228 hp to move its 4,010 lbs of curb weight, the 1997 SL320 was always more about luxury than straight-out speed. The rear-wheel drive, five-speed automatic convertible had a 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine that produced 232 ft-lbs of torque. According to Kelly Blue Book, the SL320 has an overall consumer rating of 9/10, which explains why someone would hold onto one for 20 years and put so much heart and soul into modifying it.
This particular one-off custom SL320 has over 20 "Best of Show" wins. Its Kandy Blue custom-airbrushed exterior is accompanied by 14 TV screens, a 14-speaker 2000-watt Alpine sound system, a hidden fog machine, embedded LED lights, and video-cam mirrors. It's even got a Playboy autographed hood.
10 Quick Quarter Miles - C63
What if you like the performance of the SLS AMG but would prefer it without the all the flash? Let me direct your attention to this C63 by PP-Performance, a global tuning company headquartered in Germany. The rear-wheel-drive C63 already has a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine and 480 hp, which give it a 3.9 second 0-60 and a 12.3-second quarter mile (according to Car and Driver, at its 2008 debut, the C63 was the quickest 4-door production sedan in the world).
Enter PP-Performance. They gave the C63 the pistons, intake manifold, crankshaft, and camshaft straight from an SLS AMG with the goal of reaching 600 hp. So, what were the results? They hit 605 hp and reduced the quarter mile time to 11.3 seconds. Sweet, speedy success.
9 Stealth And Style - CLS 500
Occasionally, however, you want to stand out from all the other four-door coupes on the road. Even though you're driving a Merc, sometimes, the classy, refined styling can seem a little "meh." If that sounds like you, check out this 2016 CLS 500. In addition to a muscle car-esque body kit, this CLS 500 proudly sports a black, white, and charcoal "Stealth" wrap with orange accents by German tuning house M&D Exclusive Car Design.
But M&D didn't just make the car pretty on the outside. They removed the electronic limiter (which kept the car below 155 mph) and brought the 4.7-liter bi-turbo V-8 engine up from 408 hp to 498 hp. And with its new AMG Black series tailpipes, you'll hear every single one of them.
8 The Definition Of Glamping - Sprinter
According to Popular Mechanics, the coolest RV on the market in 2017 was the $1.7 million Newell Coach #1488, "a penthouse apartment on wheels." So, what if you still want to travel in style but you're short of the $1.7 million? Like really really short? If that's the case, you should probably buy a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. Yes, a van. Hear me out.
Normally, they're used as business vehicles and cargo vans, but there exists a whole sub-market featuring Sprinters that have been converted into luxury vehicles. Autogedas International Tuning from Lithuania did one such conversion on this Sprinter, giving it couches, a stove, a shower, a sink, shelves, closets, a refrigerator, and a bed - all with retro pop styling and accent lighting. A 2017 Sprinter starts in the low $40,000s, so even after a luxury conversion, you'll be well under $1.7 million.
7 If You Can't Run With The Big Dogs - GLE AMG 63
If you've ever caught yourself thinking, "You know, I'd really like a vehicle that can't quite decide if it's an SUV or a sports car," then the GLE AMG 63 is for you. Its 5.5-liter V-8 engine and 577 hp help it go 0-60 in 4.2 seconds, which by some kind of black magic is the same as an SL65 AMG (despite the GLE being 500 lbs heavier). It also has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
This mod job from LUMMA Design is even more wow-worthy. In addition to the wood, leather, and carbon-fiber custom interior, this GLE boasts a wide-body kit that adds 50 mm to each side. And since it's been tuned up to 640 hp, this big dog can definitely run.
6 Carbon Fiber Cosmetics - G-Class
The 2013 G-Class is a continuation of the formula that made the vehicle successful for both military and civilian use for the past three decades. The US market got two model choices: the G-550 with 388 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque, and the G63 AMG with 544 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque. Both models have a seven-speed automatic transmission in addition to many technological goodies (such as in-car internet).
Swedish tuning company Mansory showed up at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show with this G-Class as a model for their cosmetic mods. They decked out the wagon with liberal use of carbon fiber, including the custom hood, roof spoiler, and rear diffuser. Even the grille is split with carbon fiber, and the front bumper has a carbon-fiber lower lip.
5 Retro Roadster - SLS AMG
Apparently, being a supercar isn't enough to save the SLS AMG from modification, and once again, it becomes the guinea pig in this mod job by Gullwing America. Inspired by the handmade 1955 300S Coupe W188 (which was the pinnacle of luxury during its time), Gullwing America created the GWA 300 SLC by outfitting this SLS AMG with a hand-crafted custom aluminum body, which lends it a retro-futuristic look that would feel right at home in a steampunk alternate universe. The GWA also has custom wheels, but this job was a lot more difficult than just swapping one wheel for another. In place of the original wheels, the GWA now has structural alterations that allow it to fit 21x9.5 and 22x12 Continentals. Party like it's 1955!
4 Black Series Beast - CLK63 AMG
The 2008 CLK63 AMG Black Series is already an impressive animal. Its 6.3-liter V-8 engine produces 500 hp, propelling the Merc to a 4.2-second 0-60. It has a top speed of 186 mph, and that's electronically limited. But this modified CLK63 is a whole other beast. A new Weistec twin-screw Stage II supercharger boosts it up to 670 hp, and with its full high-flow stainless steel exhaust, you can hear every one of them (especially once you flip the interior switch from "Silence" over to "Violence," which opens up a bypass valve in the exhaust). It also has a reinforced seven-speed automatic gearbox, Brembo brakes, Pirelli PZero Trofeo tires, and, in case things get a little too wild, a roll cage.
3 Meet Erika - A45 AMG
Hot hatchbacks are the car of choice if you're looking for a compromise between fun-to-drive performance and the cramped realities of urban living. They offer the same compact size as regular hatchbacks, but their performance upgrades make them quick, sporty, decidedly non-boring drives. Ready for a blind date with the hatchback of your dreams?
Meet Erika. She's one of a kind. No, really. Erika is a one-off 2014 A45 AMG custom from AMG Performance Studio. Her 2-liter four-cylinder engine boasts 360 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, allowing her to go 0-60 in about four and half seconds. Erika also has all-wheel drive and a seven-speed AMG Speedshift dual-clutch transmission. Plus, with her matte black exterior and purple highlights, she gives a whole new meaning to the term "hot hatch."
2 A Rivage Runs Through It - 2015 AMG C63 S
Even though its naturally aspirated 6.2-liter M156 V-8 engine has been phased out in favor of a twin-turbocharged, 4-liter V-8, this Merc still retains the C63 name. The 2015 AMG C63 S has 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque and can do 0-6 in 3.9 seconds. Despite being electronically limited, it still reaches 180 mph. But that's nothing compared to what happens after Carlsson gets their hands on one. This mod job, the CC63S Rivage, has been pumped up to 605 hp. A carbon-fiber front splitter, boot-lip spoiler, rear diffuser, and bumper have been added, as well as four (4!) black-chromed tailpipes. Top it off with Carlsson's Mirror Blue wrap, and the Rivage is ready to turn heads wherever it goes.
1 At The Head of the G-Class
If you're a businessman, you probably need an appropriately professional-looking car to drive, and if you've gone to the expense of buying a £130,000 G-class, you likely want to keep it looking nice. But what if you could have a custom paint job that was both unique and classy, both subtle and exciting? For that, you need to find Manchester-based artist Ben Daye. You can check out Daye's work on his Instagram account where he has 47k followers.
Daye worked on the G-Class for three days. The colorful, abstract design is really more of an accent; it decorates only the hood and the rear spare tire cap, leaving the Merc's black, business-like exterior to speak for itself. Because even the most serious SUVs need a little splash of flair.