Speedriven Mercedes-Benz SL600 Roadster

A powerful and responsive, 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine is not usually what comes to mind when you think of “green” cars, but – if Bernie Towns and the crew at Speedriven get their way – it soon may be.

Bernie Towns is an engineer at HighMount Exploration and Production – a natural-gas-focused energy company based out of Houston, Texas. “Clean” and “green” are everyday buzzwords in the energy-production industry, and Towns’ company Future Power Technology well be no exception, promoting research into new ways to push CNG into the mainstream.

The object of Towns’ current automotive affections is a 2007 SL600 Mercedes-Benz roadster, which – after nearly a year of research and development work by Chicago-based tuning firm Speedriven – now develops over 800 horsepower and over one-thousand pound-feet of torque from its biturbo V12. Good enough for 10-second quarter mile runs and a top speed well in excess of 200mph.

The team believes the luxury car could do better if it ran on CNG, which also results in 80% less emissions than gasoline. The tuner announced that it has started working on
the CNG version of the Speedriven Mercedes SL600, which is expect to reach a top speed of around 230 – 240mph.

They do not just want to do a CNG Benz, though. They want to break records. Towns says:

Audi has the current record, at 364.6 kilometers per hour that they set back in 2009. That’s just over 225 mph, which they did in a heavily tuned Audi S4 making about 700 hp. That wasn’t standing-mile speed or anything, that was all they could get out of that car. The Mercedes has a bigger engine to start with, and it’s a slipperier car – from the factory at least.

The next test of Bernie’s car is scheduled for the Texas Mile event in March, and the SL600 is already at Speedriven’s Chicago facility, getting fitted with a new turbocharger assembly designed to push the boundaries even farther. Bernie Towns and the crew at Speedriven are moving forward and gaining support with each passing week. We wish them all the luck with this new project.


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