Matt Robinson profile picture Matt Robinson 2 months ago 1
Used Cars

This Brabus C3.8S Is A Rare Mercedes C32 AMG Alternative

One of only 60 examples of Brabus' first tuned W203 is up for online auction, featuring an enlarged V6

Remind me later
Mercedes Benz - This Brabus C3.8S Is A Rare Mercedes C32 AMG Alternative - Used Cars

The Mercedes C63 may allegedly be about to drop from a V8 to an inline-four, but it won’t be the first time we’ve seen a smaller-engined AMG C-Class. The first official W202 AMG C used a 3.6-litre inline-six, and when Affalterbach had a crack at spicing up the W203, its first port of call was a V6 rather than a V8.

To extract more power from Merc’s M112 V6, AMG used a twin-scroll supercharger, yielding a healthy, BMW M3-bothering output of 350bhp. For its go-faster W203, though, Brabus decided an increase in displacement was the way to go. And thus, the C3.8S was born.

Mercedes Benz - This Brabus C3.8S Is A Rare Mercedes C32 AMG Alternative - Used Cars

Brabus also used the M112 as a starting point, giving it a custom crankshaft with a longer stroke, new con-rods and bigger pistons moving through widened bores. The top end was rebuilt with new camshafts and valves, and a stainless steel exhaust fitted to give the V6 a suitably fruity soundtrack.

Brabus’ overhaul wasn’t enough for the V6 to match the output of the supercharged engine in the C32, but with 300bhp and 291lb ft of torque, its potency isn’t to be sniffed at either. As with AMG’s sports saloon, power goes to the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic gearbox.

Mercedes Benz - This Brabus C3.8S Is A Rare Mercedes C32 AMG Alternative - Used Cars

To go with the power, there were also suspension tweaks, some suitably large brakes, front/rear bumper tweaks and - of course - Brabus’ trademark double-spoke alloy wheels. The original plan was to build 100, but in the end, production stopped somewhere around 50 - 60 units.

Understandably, then, they don’t come up for sale that often. The C3.8S seen here is number 36, currently residing in the UK having been imported from Japan last year. Don’t be thinking that means it’s right-hand drive, though - as far as we know, Brabus only made these cars with the steering wheel on the left.

Mercedes Benz - This Brabus C3.8S Is A Rare Mercedes C32 AMG Alternative - Used Cars

The exterior condition looks to be decent, on the whole, although there’s an “impact crack” and some hairline cracks on the front splitter, which is a bespoke Brabus part. The cabin is said to be “in superb order,” which is no surprise considering the mileage is well below average for the model year at 62,851 miles. It was serviced recently, but unfortunately, the service book was lost during the import process.

Like it? The C3.8S is up for online auction via Collecting Cars. At the time of writing, the bidding was at £4600 with five days to go.