With its new look, diet and performance mods, the car pulls like a freight train. MAF readings now top 65 lb/hr (~650 hp) at wide-open throttle, assuring us Renntech’s power claims aren’t exaggerated. Our GPS-based VBOX PerformanceBox confirms that—at 800-foot elevation on a regularly paved road, no burnout and the traction control on (still too much wheelspin otherwise)—0-60 mph comes in a scant 3.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 8.5 seconds and the quarter-mile goes by in 12.0 seconds at 119 mph. Don’t forget this is with GT’s all-season tires and a stock exhaust. Of course, we also dyno tested this car (see the following Proven article).
Given the size of the car, performance of this magnitude is flabbergasting. And the fact we can average 22 mpg fully loaded on the highway at 70 mph isn’t too shabby either (no comment on city driving mpg).
Thanks to the Sunshine Kids seats, this Renntech-tuned Benz will play the role of family hauler in the Mazlumian household for years to come. But it’s also got the sports car-thrashing power I crave when I want to outrun the smell of stinky diapers. In fact, I did this recently and surprised the proud driver of a new Corvette Grand Sport. I gave him the ultimate, backhanded “thumbs up” just in time for him to spot the empty baby seats in the back, and then the license plate. He wasn’t pleased.
I’m extremely thankful for the Sunshine Kids find, as that discovery led to everything else here. Contrary to how I thought things would turn out after Rhonda’s surprise announcement, I’m now living the dream, hauling the family in a Renntech Mercedes, something I never thought possible. And I didn’t lose my identity. But, similar to the Vette driver’s reaction, I’m getting ostracized by society.
My friends ask how I could have opted against a minivan. I have nothing against them; I just don’t want one.
But when I say this, I’m looked at as if I’ve broken some modern-day code, or joined a cult or called their wives gorgeous for being big-boned. And it’s recently spawned a recurring nightmare, one that scares me stupid. It involves baby number four, and it’s coming to get me. In a Dodge Caravan. A beige one.
I can’t take that chance—calling the doc tomorrow.
These cars, originally priced at nearly $140K, can be bought for pennies on the dollar today. But while affordable, make sure you get one with a good warranty that covers at least the entire suspension or you could get stuck spending thousands on repairs. Also, having a competent and honest Mercedes mechanic with the Mercedes S.T.A.R. diagnostic computer handy is key to long-term reliability.
Fortunately, I found one in the Kansas City area in European Motorsports, around since the early ’80s, that specializes in Mercedes, BMW, Audi and MINI. They were responsible for installing our spark plugs—a six-hour job because not only does it entail removal of the intercoolers, but there are 24 plugs total. Thankfully, the swap happens only every 100,000 miles.
European Motorsports also installed our Renntech intercooler upgrade kit, which was an additional six-hour job because it involved removing the front clip, installing and wiring the high-flow pump, installing the new heat exchanger with new piping, and finally bleeding out the system multiple times (highly recommended) before reinstalling the front bumper.