Cars

Mercedes CL with V12 biturbo and 850 PS: the “A: Level The Big”

There is rare cars – and then there are cars that even absolute connoisseurs have never heard of. One of these exotic species is the “A: Level The Big”. On the basis of a Mercedes CL 600 the C 140 series was supposed to be the beginning of the 2000s fastest Mercedes of all time. In the end, the project failed, even though the car had already been subjected to extensive tests. That is the story behind the A-Level The Big!

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There is very little information available on this very special project. In this text I am primarily referring to facts and information from one Article of the magazine drive2.rufrom 2015, in which the author Aleksandr Moskvin (allegedly involved in the implementation of The Big) reports on the genesis of the unique project.

Special assignment from a Russian stuntman

In the late 1990s / early 2000s, the Moscow company A: Level (formerly Autolak) one Special order by Russian actor and stuntman Alexander Inshakov – himself a big car fan and owner of a Lamborghini LM002. Inshakov approached A: Level with the desire to build the fastest Mercedes of all time. By the way, it should Unique piece also put all other super sports cars available at the time in the shade in terms of performance.

A: Level also built the Volga V12 Coupe

A: Level was a Russian design studio that caused a sensation at the time with the Volga V12 Coupé: a Volga based on the BMW E31 with the drive from the 850 CSi. Also the The Big should be Complete renovation will. The starting point was that Mercedes S-Class Coupé (later called CL) of the C 140 series was chosen.
THE BIG by A: Level

The body of the C 140 was completely dismantled. Large parts were made of carbon.

It started with one Design mock up based on a used C 140 body. The highlight: the driver and passenger side showed different designs in order to offer the client the greatest possible freedom of choice. Inshakov opted for the more uncompromising variant of the designer Vladimir Pirozhkov, who also worked for Citroën and Toyota, among others.

Design is a mix of Evo II and Koenig Specials

With the big one fixed rear wing and clearly widened side panels It is probably no coincidence that the The Big reminds of the legendary one today Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II, whereby the wide body look is also light Koenig specials vibes sprayed. At the front, the round recesses in the lower part of the apron and the headlight attachments are particularly striking. The large slot in the bonnet is required for cooling, the tailpipes are embedded in the rear apron with an XXL diffuser.
When the design was finalized, the CL, baptized The Big, was tested in a wind tunnel. According to the story, those in charge of A: Level were satisfied with the results that the Body and add-on parts finalized could become. That happened with the German company Light Weightwho specialized in the processing of carbon at an early stage. The project vehicle was then transported back to Moscow to take care of the interior and the engine.

6.7 liter V12 with 850 hp?

In order to achieve the goal of “fastest Mercedes of all time” they were 394 hp of the standard V12 (M 120) of the CL 600 by far not enough, of course. Therefore, Vladimir Raikhlin and his company “RED” (Raikhlin Engine Development) were commissioned to not only give the engine significantly more power, but also to build it from scratch. And Raikhlin didn’t do things by halves: he drilled that 6.0 liter V12 to 6.7 liter displacement up and missed him two turbochargers.
THE BIG by A: Level

6.7 liter displacement and two turbochargers: the V12 biturbo is said to have produced 850 hp. Some sources even speak of up to 900 hp.

Together with other comprehensive measures, the V12 should at the end 850 hp have done. Other sources even speak of up to 900 hp, but the achievement was never officially proven. At the same time, the automatic transmission flew out and was completed by a Revised manual transmission from the Porsche 928 replaced. The chassis and brakes have also been adapted to the monster performance.
THE BIG by A: Level

The Big has been extensively tested in the wind tunnel and on various racetracks. Here at the wheel: Roland Asch.

In the end, not much was left of the luxurious interior of the C 140. To save weight, the flew Back seat out as well like the electrically adjustable leather seats. Instead, the driver and front passenger took their place on Recaro full bucket seats from the Porsche 911 (996) GT3. The chunky original steering wheel was swapped for a Raid Silver Arrow sports steering wheel, and a digital racing display was used instead of the standard taxi-look fittings. Allegedly, the interior was not yet final.

In the end, the budget wasn’t enough

At this point it was more important that the Performance of The Big it’s correct. The car was extensively tested for this purpose. At the wheel: the former DTM driver Roland Aschthat the car, among other things, also on the Nordschleife des Nürburgrings tested. Since this was a one-off piece, the coupé was revised again and again, again optimized in the wind tunnel and tested on various racetracks. Unfortunately, that turned out to be The highly developed 6.7-liter V12 was not very stable and always caused problems.
THE BIG by A: Level

The interior has been cleared and reduced to the bare essentials. Instead of comfortable leather armchairs, there were full bucket seats from the Porsche 996 GT3.

Rumor has it that the car was eventually sent to Germany for overhaul due to loss of compression and abrasion on the cylinder walls. At that time it was from client Inshakov provided budget of allegedly $ 500,000 however long ago it was used up, so that the actor didn’t want to invest any more money in the project and The Big remained unfinished.

Will the single piece be rebuilt?

For a long time it was said that CL modere in a backyard somewhere in Germany. But just a few weeks ago an apparently current picture appeared on Instagram showing the A: Level The Big – partially disassembled – shows in a container. According to Aleksandr Moskvin, who posted the photo, this is the first picture of The Big in about 15 years; and the question of whether the car will be rebuilt, Moskvin replied in the affirmative.

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll still see this unique Mercedes CL in its final form. Even if the A: Level The Big then probably does will not be the fastest Mercedes of all time, so he definitely belongs to the rarest Mercedes of all time!

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