Exterior treatments include a Rocket front bumper (identical to that on Brabus' biturbo V12, 730-bhp Rocket CLS) side skirts and a rear diffuser with LED ground illumination, and a rear trunklid lip spoiler. Brabus Monoblock S lightweight forged wheels, blackout taillamps and wraparound window tinting complete the package.

The 20-inch wheels are strung with Michelin Pilot Sport 2s, and honestly, we can't say enough good stuff about them. The ultra-high performance Michelins perform flawlessly throughout the week, weathering 3800-plus miles of extreme abuse, including impromptu burnout displays and track sessions at various local venues (the above sequence was snapped in the middle of the week, with 2000 or more miles left to go).

Engine tuning comprises new software, a new exhaust and a mysterious bit of supercharger tweaking. The Brabus was by no means the fastest car on the rally, but it is hellishly fast. Lifting from full throttle at around 80 mph will snap your head forward nearly as violently as burying the throttle on a standing start snaps it back. That's testament to some serious forward thrust.

Consider this. At the SRCA drag strip in Great Bend, Kansas, the K8 ran a low ET of 12.7 seconds; two-tenths faster than a certain Spyker's best run, and faster than most cars that elected to run the quarter-mile. The only cars I saw with lower times were one of the 911 Turbos and the Mosler. The latter ran just under 11 seconds with no air conditioning and carbon wheels that may as well have been suspended on bricks.

This Brabus, on the other hand, had air-conditioned seats with active lateral bolsters, a Harman Kardon stereo, exceptional ergonomics, and an exemplary ride quality at both low and high speeds, borne from a venerable luxury heritage.So you can have your Lambos, your Ferraris, your Spykers and your over-glorified racecars-for-the-street. I'll take a Brabus K8, thanks (in black, of course). -Karl Funke

Brabus CLS55 K8
*Layout
Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive

*Engine
5.5-liter V8, sohc, three valves per cylinder, supercharged and intercooled, Brabus supercharger pulleys, software and sport exhaust

*Transmission
Five-speed automatic

*Suspension
Brabus electronic lowering module

*Brakes
Cross-drilled AMG assemblies

*Wheels and Tires
Brabus Monoblock S, 9x20 (f) 10.5x20 (r)Michelin Pilot Sport 2 255/30 (f), 295/25 (r)

*Exterior
Brabus Rocket front bumper, side skirts, rear diffuser, trunklid spoiler

*Interior
Brabus sport steering wheel and seat upholstery, illuminated doorsill plates, door lock pins

*Performance
Peak Power: 550 bhp
Peak Torque: 572 lb-ft
0-60mph: 4.4 sec. (est.)
Top Speed: 199 mph

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