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Geneva Motor Show Preview:  The Carlsson Aigner CK55 RS Mercedes GL500
Posted February 23, 2009 At 9:10 AM CST by T. Philips

The Carlsson Aigner CK55 RS Mercedes GL500, exterior front and side view

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen; I hope you all  had a fantastic weekend.  We didn't quite find the time you bring this article last week, but we felt this article was worth a mention even late, because let's be honest:  who doesn't love reading about a 228,500 euro two-tone GL-Class?  I know I do, so here for your viewing pleasure is the Carlsson Aigner CK55 RS Rascasse, a limited edition Mercedes GL500 developed by Mercedes tuning firm Carlsson and the luxury leather brand Etienne Aigner AG.

According to Carlsson, "the star qualities of this car are obvious at a glance."  First and foremost, there's the paintwork, consisting of several coats of hand-rubbed wine-red metallic paint applied below the window line accented by black on the upper half of the model. Furthermore, there's a complete Carlsson body kit present, ranging from wider wheel arches, new side skirts and  a new front and rear apron all the up to a new bonnet with integrated power domes.  And the grille – let's not forget that big mesh, Chevy-looking grille.

So what else does 228,500 euros get you?  More power, courtesy of Carlsson's engine conversion system for Mercedes' 5,461cc, 48-valve, DOHC V8.  As a result, the Carlsson Aigner CK55 RS Rascasse boasts a total output of 456 hp (335 kW) with 640Nm of torque, enough to propel the model from 0-62 mph in 5.9 seconds (compared to 6.5 seconds for a traditional GL500).

And last but not least, being a collaboration between Carlsson and a luxury leather brand, there's bound to be a fantastically ostentatious interior, and judging by its description, it sounds like the Aigner CK55 RS Rascasse will fail to disappoint.  According to Carlsson, the SUV uses only the finest hides and Alcantara to cover the seats, dashtop, door panels and center console, all of which feature the dark shade of red found on the model's exterior. Ensuring the optimum in drinking while backseat  driving, an integrated fridge has been added, while the removal of three of the model's rear seats (leaving two individual passenger seats) ensures you'll have plenty of space to get your swerve on.

If you're interested, as already noted, flamboyance isn't cheap, as the Carlsson Aigner CK55 RS Rascasse will set you back EUR 228,000 and change.  Only 20 are set for production, however, so if you want one, you better act quick.

For more info on the Carlsson Aigner CK55 RS Rascasse, keep scrolling for the official press release.

Enjoy ladies and gentlemen.


The Carlsson Aigner CK55 RS Rascasse, based on the Mercedes-Benz GL 500

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 marriage of these two contrasting yet complementary colors imparts a regal air to the Rascasse. Gallery: Carlsson Aigner CK55 RS Mercedes GL500
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 color-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 back pressure 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-fiber 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 tires. 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 tires.  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 tires, this delivers superior handling and roadholding characteristics.

An abundance of precious materials

Color 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 color 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.

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.

Copyright © 2009, Carlsson

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