"The standard footwear is 9.5x19 and 11.5x20 front to rear, with 265/35-19 and 325/30-20 tires specially developed for this car," said MKB Technical Director Pano Avramidis. "We reduced both rolling resistance and induced drag by using 9.0 and 11.0x19-inch wheels with 235/35 and 325/30 rubber instead."
Using larger turbochargers boosting at 1.5 bar, new exhaust manifolds, larger water-cooled intercoolers with 50 percent greater efficiency and a bigger oil cooler, the SL produced a nominal 751 hp, but Pano said there are more modifications in the cards to take the horsepower count up to 800.
Where the standard SL65 Black Series is electronically limited to about 199 mph, the clocks stopped at 205.2 mph for this one. We speculated that with so much less drag, a standard body width SL65 would have easily exceeded 214 with this level of firepower.
After the fire and brimstone of big V12 power, the mere 500 hp of Lorinser's LV8 seemed rather paltry. But bearing in mind that it has only 43 hp more than standard and a top speed de-limit, its 195.6-mph run was fast enough to frighten any of the junior league supercars.
When you take into account the fact that Nardo's banking scrubs some top speed off any car compared to a level autobahn, the unassuming C63-based LV8 is near enough a genuine 200-mph saloon. For people who do not have seven-figure bank accounts, this offers the most impressive real-world affordable bang for your buck.
Another car that had a second go on the banking was the Geiger Corvette. Previously renowned for wide-body conversions, Geiger applied very minor cosmetics to its Z06 beyond the lurid Kermit Green paintwork and black hood. With a lowered compression ratio and a pair of big turbos, the Vette had a claimed 790 hp with 840 Nm of torque. Two Corvette strengths are a modest weight and price, and for just about $220,000 (€150,000), you can have a car fast enough to make the eyes of a Ferrari or Porsche driver water. Unfortunately, a minor engine bay fire scuppered the Vette's run on the first day when it had already reached a commendable 208.5 mph. The next morning repairs were made and the mess from the fire extinguisher cleaned up, after which the car ran again. This time it reached 197 mph, but since only the first day's top speeds were counted for the results, it was a pyrrhic (no pun intended) victory.
One of the best sleepers at Nardo was the Manhart Racing M3 5.0 V10 Touring. Essentially a 3 Series Touring with M3 front and rear arches to contain a wider track and big wheels and a 550-hp V10, it ran to 317 km/h. It may not have been the fastest load carrier at Nardo, losing out to the Abt RS6, but I will never forget the scream of its V10 as the Touring accelerated away from the camera car.
This event was also the public outing for the first tuned Panameras, with a black 540-hp Edo Competition and a blue 550-hp 9ff car battling against the timing gear. The Edo car's 189.8-mph v-max was just 1.5 mph faster than Porsche's claim for the stock Turbo. The extra drag from the 21-inch wheels was no doubt to blame for soaking up much of the 40 hp added by Edo's Stage 1 engine conversion. Low-profile rubber creates both induced drag and rolling resistance, and just the bigger footwear alone can lop a good 6 mph off top speed. So the same engine upgrade on an otherwise stock car would see an even higher top speed within the bounds of the rev limiter. However, even bigger 22-inch wheels did not stop the 9ff car from reaching 191.1 mph with just 10 hp more, although 9ff claims its new front spoiler helps aerodynamics.
Finally, as if to prove that a station wagon can still be faster than a much lighter supercar, Abt's 700-hp RS6 clocked an impressive 208.3 mph, and in the process beat up its 560-hp supercharged R8 cousin, which only managed 195.3 mph..