Of all the wild contraptions Mercedes has built over the years, the R63 AMG is among the most bizarre. Somehow, a V8-powered minivan got the upper hand, paving the way for a people-carrying vehicle capable of hitting 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.6 seconds and peak at 171 mph (275 km/h). The R-Class was phased out five years ago, and although it’s been replaced by the V-Class, the biggest engine available is a diesel V6.
This is where German tuner GAD-Motors comes in as it has crammed a V8 into the engine bay of the V-Class. Not just any V8, but the 4.0-litre twin-turbo from the mighty AMG GT R supercar “The Beast from the Green Hell,” as the people of Affalterbach dubbed it, develops 585 horsepower and 700 Newton-meters (516 lb-ft). It therefore outperforms the old R63 AMG by more than 70 hp and 70 Nm (51 lb-ft) of torque.
The high-performance family hauler was spotted being pushed hard on the Nürburgring by Andreas Gülden, the track’s official head instructor and director of the driving academy. With great power comes great responsibility, which is why GAD-Motors paired the V8 engine with carbon-ceramic brakes also borrowed from the former fastest rear-drive production car at Green Hell.
It’s not every day that we see a minivan revved up around the Nordschleife, let alone one that has a big V8 under its hood. Being this big and heavy while having a high roof, the Boosted V is obviously nowhere near as nimble as the track-focused AMG GT-R. We like the van’s practically stock appearance, making it a real sleeper provided you ignore the V8 BITURBO 4MATIC+ badge on the front fender.
GAD-Motors mentions that installing the M177 engine was not a plug & play solution as they had to develop a number of custom parts including a new exhaust system. It even has a catalytic converter and a gasoline particulate filter to meet emissions regulations, while the suspension has also been tweaked to improve handling.
With laws toughening and electric vehicles taking over, it’s safe to say Mercedes will never make a V8 minivan again, but the tuning scene has shown it has a soft spot for the V-Class.