Car Video:  Oversteer

I Tuned My Mercedes-Benz S600 for 600 Horsepower -- and It Broke

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4MATIC
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
$10,810
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 4MATIC
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
$15,410
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz M-Class 4MATIC
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
$8,080
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
$10,110
RELATED READING
See all Mercedes-Benz S600 articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Tyler Hoover March 2017

At the end of the last video I made with my 2007 Mercedes-Benz S600, I stated that I was going to tune it for 600 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque. I also said that I was a complete idiot -- and this mod would probably break my surprisingly reliable car. To date, my stupid video has gathered a shocking 1.8 million views. The unfortunate part of this much attention is I had no choice but to follow through with my plans -- and now that it's done (and, as predicted, my car is broken), I can tell you how much I regret it.

About a month ago, I posted a fateful video about my V12 S600 luxury barge. I purchased the car over a year ago for $4,500 with a bad motor -- and after spending around $10,000 fixing it, I had a completely reliable year of ownership. I was planning to make a video about a friend's Ferrari 355 that week -- but, in typical 355 fashion, it refused to start. In its place, I scrambled to put together a video about my Mercedes, which ended up going viral.

I don't have a clue why this video -- or this car I named the "Silver Elephant" -- was worthy of this. My Porsche 911 (with nearly a quarter million miles) or my basket case Acura NSX seem like way more interesting subjects, but they didn't gather a small fraction of the attention. It seems YouTube is pretty unpredictable like that. For example, who would have thought a morbidly obese cat playing an electric piano would hit 46 million views?

Transforming an S600 into a torque monster is really easy. All you have to do is remove the computers controlling the engine and transmission, and send them off to a tuning company for reprogramming. When they return a few days later, you plug the computers back in, and POOF! Your sedate S-class suddenly thinks it's a supercar.

My Mercedes is now more powerful than the Ferrari 458 Italia, a Lamborghini Huracan and a Nissan GTR -- though, of course, it weighs a ton more. The only way for a fair drag race with these three supercars is making them run while pulling a horse trailer with a hippopotamus inside.

Perhaps the most apt description of this transformation is putting the heart and mind of an Olympic athlete into a 600-pound body. It has the knowledge and desire to run a 4-minute mile, but can't overcome the laws of gravity -- falling on its face at the starting line.

And falling on its face is exactly what this car does while attempting to launch aggressively. Turn the traction control off, and it will roast the tires until they explode. Leave it on, and the system freaks out at even the modest touch of the accelerator pedal. The only noticeable difference in acceleration will be at speeds that will send you directly to jail -- without passing "Go" or collecting $200.

There are a few things I like about this tune, such as the fantastic throttle response and better shift points. In fact, I was initially very proud of the changes I made -- and I spent my first Saturday hanging out with the local supercar club. After attending the local cars and coffee, we cruised to a local airport for a photo shoot. I challenged a GTR, and thought I stood a chance if it was a rolling start at 40 miles per hour. Not surprisingly, the Nissan completely humiliated my Mercedes.

After the photo shoot, I tried using an app to read quarter mile times. I romped the car repeatedly on a deserted road closed off years ago due to a highway expansion, and I couldn't even match the original Car and Driver Magazine test time of 12.6 seconds due to traction issues.

After the run, and after making some outdoor footage of hard launches and high speed drive-by shots, I started hearing a horrible grinding noise from the front of the car. As the grinding noise got louder, I began to realize something had broken.

I suspected the brakes, but they felt fine -- and the noise didn't change if I pressed the pedal. Instead, the noise got worse if I put more weight on the front-left hub, which has led me to believe I've roasted a wheel bearing. Admittedly, a new OEM front hub with bearing is cheap: just $250 and easy enough to replace. But as I continue to test the limits of my titanic supercar, this failure is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Here's Why the Ford F-150 Raptor Is Worth $65,000
5 Of the Most Interesting Cars at the Amelia Island Cars and Coffee
This is the Nicest Chrysler TC by Maserati For Sale on Autotrader

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4MATIC
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
$10,810
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 4MATIC
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
$15,410
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz M-Class 4MATIC
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
$8,080
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
Used 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
$10,110
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
I Tuned My Mercedes-Benz S600 for 600 Horsepower -- and It Broke - Autotrader