Of all the wild kits Mercedes has made over the years, the R63 AMG is one of the weirdest. Somehow, the V8-powered minivan received the stamp of approval from superiors, thus paving the way for a person propulsion capable of 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.6 seconds and hitting 171 mph (275 km/h). The R-Class was phased out five years ago, and while replaced by the V-Class, the largest engine available is the V6 diesel.
This is where German tuner GAD-Motors comes into play as it has crammed a V8 in the V-Class’ engine bay. Not just any V8, but a 4.0-liter twin-turbo of the mighty AMG GT R supercar. The “Beast from Green Hell” as it’s nicknamed by peeps from Affalterbach pushes out 585 horsepower and 700 Newton-meters (516 pound-feet). As such, it beats the old R63 AMG by over 70 hp and 70 Nm (51 lb-ft) of torque.
The high-performance family carrier was seen being pushed hard on the Nürburgring by Andreas Gülden, Head Instructor and Head of the track’s official Driving Academy. With great power comes great responsibility, so GAD-Motors matched the V8 engine with carbon-ceramic brakes also borrowed from the previous fastest rear-wheel-drive production car in the Green Hell.
It’s not every day that we see a minivan at full speed around the Nordschleife, much less one that just happens to have a huge V8 under its hood. Being this big and heavy while having a high roof, the amped-up V is clearly far from as nimble as the track-focused AMG GT-R. We love the look of the actual minivan, making it a real sleeper as long as you ignore the V8 BITURBO 4MATIC+ badge on the front fender.
GAD-Motors mentioned that installing the M177 engine was not a plug & play solution as it required developing some special parts, including a new exhaust system. It even has a catalytic converter and gasoline particulate filter to meet emission regulations, while the suspension is revamped to improve handling.
With laws tightening and EVs taking over, it’s safe to say Mercedes will never make a V8 minivan again, but the tuning scene has shown that it has a soft spot for the V-Class.