Home / Auto News / News article: Carlsson Aigner CK55 RS Racasse: 456hp Mercedes GL - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Feb 18 2009, 10:29 AM

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Mercedes tuner Carlsson will have on display at the Geneva auto Show its third combined project with European fashion icon Aigner, a modified GL500 (known as the GL550 in North America).

Called the CK55 RS Racasse, this 456hp GL-Class Benz gets its name from a famous corner on a famous racetrack; the second last corner on the Monaco Grand Prix Circuit. (The two previous Carlsson/Aigner projects, the Eau Rouge and Blanchimont, are named after corners on the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium).

With 388hp in stock trim, Carlsson has reworked the V8 engine with modified cylinder heads, high lift camshafts, a remapped ECU and free flow exhaust system with high flow cats. The result it 456hp and 472 ft-lbs of torque. Carlsson claims this is good for a 0-62 mph sprint of just 5.9 seconds, compared to 6.5 seconds for the standard vehicle.

Like all other Carlsson Aigner vehicles, the Racasse features a two-tone paint job. The full-size SUV also features a completely reworked exterior with wider wheel arches, new side skirts, new front and rear bumpers and a new, more aggressive front hood. The front grille has been replaced with a more imposing chrome unit (featuring a large Carlsson logo) with chromed wire mesh behind.

New driving and fog lights are built into the new front bumper, with LED daytime running lights and illuminated Aigner logos on the fenders.

The Racasse rolls on a set of Carlsson 3/11 UL forged aluminum wheels that measure 23×11-inches at all four corners with massive 305/30/23 tires. The SUV also sits low thanks to Carlsson C-Tronic suspension system that lowers the factory air suspension by 40 mm.

Inside is where the Aigner side of the project really shines with Alcantara on the seats, dash, door panels and center console. The headliner is also coated in Alcantara in a custom stitched pattern.

In the rear, major adjustments were made, as the Racasse has just two seats, as opposed to the usual 5 rear seats. As a result there is plenty of space – enough for a fridge, in fact. Passengers can even enjoy a beverage in the hand-blown Carlsson-Aigner glasses.

A full entertainment system is also contained in the back seat with two eight-inch screens integrated into the front headrests.

The car will officially be unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in March and we’ll be sure to bring you more photos then.

Only 20 models will be built and as for the cost, Carlsson has set it at 228,500 Euros – or approximately $287,000. Yikes!

Official release after the jump:

Luxury in Unexpected Dimensions
•    Specialist automobile manufacturer Carlsson and Lifestyle Leather Brand Etienne Aigner develop a third model.
•    Carlsson Aigner® CK55 RS Rascasse powered by a 456 hp V8.
•    Special edition limited to 20 cars.
Exclusive automobile manufacturer Carlsson Autotechnik GmbH, and the luxury leather brand Etienne Aigner AG are proud to present the third model to emerge from their co-operative venture.
The Carlsson Aigner® CK55 RS Rascasse, based on the Mercedes-Benz GL 500, makes its world premiere at the Geneva Auto Salon. The Rascasse will be an exclusive limited edition of 20 cars.
Distinguished Exterior Design
The star qualities of this car are obvious at a glance. The striking two-tone paintwork, a hallmark of the Carlsson Aigner® range, confirms that the Carlsson Aigner® CK55 RS Rascasse is no ordinary luxury car.
Several coats of perfectly smooth, hand-rubbed wine-red metallic paint have been applied to just below the window line. Above this, rich black paint takes over with a thin, black coachline softening the transition between two shades. The visual marraige of these two contrasting yet complementary colours imparts a regal air to the Rascasse.
Adding to that presence is the Carlsson Aigner body styling kit consisting of wider wheel arches visually linked by side skirts. The front wings carry illuminated Aigner logos. The door rubbing strips are colour-coded in black, which visually lengthens the car.
The nose of the Rascasse has been made more imposing with a new bonnet carrying larger power domes. Under this, a new larger front grill and sub-grilles feature chromed wire mesh.
Additional driving and fog lights are set into the bumpers and LED daytime running lights are integrated into lower edge of the deeper front apron extension. All these elements give the Rascasse a much stronger face, reinforcing its already commanding presence.
The rear valence incorporates cut-outs for the four chromed exit pipes of the freer-flowing sports exhaust system. This is optimised for both lower backpressure and a throaty V8 soundtrack.
Apart from enhancing the look of the car, the front spoiler, side skirts and rear valence extensions are designed to help reduce aerodynamic drag and lift. All these parts are made from PU-RIM, the flexible material used by OE manufactures like Mercedes-Benz for their production bumpers.
PU is much more expensive than glass-fibre in small runs, but is lighter and has good low speed bump resilience. It also requires a much larger tooling investment, demonstrating Carlsson’s commitment to OE quality levels.
The 5,461cc, 48-valve, DOHC V8 motor has 388hp (285 kW) and 530Nm of torque in standard form. Carlsson’s proven conversion for this engine uses a free-flow exhaust system with metal catalytic converters, gas-flowed cylinder-heads, high-lift camshafts and a remapped ECU to boost output to 456 hp (335 kW) with 640Nm of torque.
Thus endowed, the Carlsson Aigner® CK55 RS Rascasse is the most powerful normally-aspirated GL in the world, accelerating from 0-100km/h hundred in just 5.9 seconds. This compares to 6.5 sec for the standard GL500.
To help transmit this extra power and torque to the road, Carlsson use their three-piece 3/11 UL forged alloy wheels with highly polished outer rims in 11J x 23-inch size with 305/30ZR23 tyres.
The forging process creates a very light but exceptionally strong alloy wheel that helps to counter the increased unsprung weight of the larger diameter wheels and tyres.
The Carlsson electronic lowering kit, C-Tronic® Suspension, drops the ride height of the Airmatic suspension by 40mm. In combination with the wider wheels and tyres, this delivers superior handling and roadholding characteristics.
An abundance of precious materials
Colour matching is one of the keystones of the fashion industry. Where Carlsson elevates the mechanicals to new heights, Aigner demonstrates the art of haute couture with the plush interior of the Rascasse.
Picking up the dark red shade from the bodywork, Aigner uses the finest hides and Alcantara in this colour to cover the seats, dashtop, door panels and centre console. The headlining is Alcantara, stitched in a bespoke pattern.
Total comfort for rear compartment passengers means sumptuous seats and plenty of space in all directions. For that reason, Carlsson and Aigner decided that the seven-seater configuration should be ditched in favour of just two individual rear seats.
Supporting this hedonistic concept is an integrated fridge in a compartment between the rear seats. Drinks can be served in bespoke hand-blown Carlsson-Aigner glasses also stored in this compartment.
The comprehensive Rear Entertainment System is centred around the eight-inch screens integrated into the headrests of the front seats. A surround sound audio system provides the soundtrack as well as just music if you just want to relax on a journey.
Rascasse – A Sting in the Tail
Carlsson, manufacturer of special cars based on Mercedes Benz models, and high fashion leather goods manufacturer, Aigner, are proud to present their third unique limited edition model in the short space of one and a half years.
In September 2007, this dynamic duo introduced the Carlsson Aigner® CK65 “Eau Rouge“, based on the CL-Coupé. This was followed in July 2008 by the Carlsson Aigner® CK65 RS “Blanchimont“, a car to fill the obvious void between the S-Class and the Maybach.
The Carlsson Aigner® CK55 RS “Rascasse“ completes the family, and is offered at a basic price of 228,500 euros excluding German VAT.
As with the first two automobiles designed by the Carlsson and Aigner team, the new model is also named after a legendary racetrack bend. But unlike the Eau Rouge and the Blanchimont, the Rascasse name does not origin from the racetrack Spa-Francorchamps. Rascasse is the second last bend of the Monaco Grand Prix Circuit as well as a famous street café located by the track.
In fact, the Rascasse name originally comes from the French red rascasse, a member of the Scorpion fish family that is an essential ingredient in Bouillabaisse, the most famous French gourmet soup. A perfect blend of performance, speed and breeding, the Carlsson Aigner Rascasse is also red, tasty, sporting, and carries a sting in its tail.