Mechatronik GmbH is a company bathed in the light of Mercedes’ three-pointed star. Based near Stuttgart (where else?), it is a modifier of properly aristocratic Mercs - specifically the W111 and W113-series. Thus, we get the Mechatronik M-Coupe and M-Cabriolet and the M-SL, dubbed the ‘New-tech’ cars. But it’s the M-Coupe and Cab that floats Top Gear’s boat. Having been in business for a couple of decades, this might not be the first time you’ve heard of Mechatronik, but the conversions/upgrades have been evolved over time, so the contemporary cars are much different to the original M-SL from back in 1997.
So, the basic story goes something like this: you can convert your own venerable German, or have Mechatronik make you a complete new build, and the company only does five of each per year. So these cars are pretty exclusive.
But what do you actually get? well, the company says that “We either replace or add the engine, drivetrain, suspension, brakes and safety features such as ABS and ASR, thus bringing the car technically up to the standard of a new vehicle, which makes it suitable for everyday use.” But they keep the exterior looking completely original so that the vehicle “retains its personal charm and its unique outward form”.
Engines are two versions of the proven nineties M113 V8, either in 5.0-litre (306bhp, 0-62mph in 6.5) or 5.5-litre (360bhp, 0-62mph in six dead) format, chosen because of its reliability, size and weight (lighter than the original, allowing the cars to handle more precisely), driving through Merc’s own five speed auto.
New suspension and brakes - both bespoke - are added, and an endless combination of colours and trims can be optioned. Midnight blue with the ‘black chrome’ option would look particularly good, if it’s your round at the Mechatronik bar. After that, it’s any interior trim you wish, including the addition of, well, anything you like. But the tasteful, super-low profile and original-looking versions look best. Of course, the actual spec-list is longer than a large-print Bible, but it’s basically ‘50s Mercedes style with 2020 performance, convenience, reliability and safety. It doesn’t get much cooler than this.