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Carlsson - German Mercedes Aftermarket

Updated on June 8, 2011


This is an overview of the German Mercedes tuning company. They specialize in Mercedes-Benz automobiles, and are particularly known for their line of alloy wheels.

Carlsson is not one of the highest-profile companies in the aftermarket industry, so discovering their history and various models created took a while, but we are happy to bring you everything we've found. Enjoy!

History of Carlsson

They may have started Carlsson back in 1989, but it was not until around 5 years ago that their name began circulating the automotive aftermarket industry. Carlsson, working with a U.S. importing company, brought their highly-tuned European CL500 to the 2006 SEMA Show, and the word spread. Their taste in developing body kits, interior and engine upgrades, and especially wheels was soon mentioned in the same breath as powerhouses such as Brabus.

Today their customization covers the entire Mercedes range, but their line of alloy wheels are truly breathtaking, and perhaps is most responsible for the name Carlsson today.

Carlsson - The Early Years

Digging up the early model history for Carlsson is very difficult indeed, but it would seem that they were offering tuning packages for Mercedes W201 190E sedans as early as 1984. The package pricing list from that year included the following (with horsepower):

C20 (147hp)

C23 (165hp)

C24 (170hp)

C50 V8 (231hp)

C50S V8 (272hp)

Carlsson C24 (W201) - 1987

Not much is know about this model, other than that it was based on a W201 190E and produced 170hp.

Carlsson C25-16v RS (W201) - 1990

This is what the 2.3 and 2.5-16v models should have been! Cosworth engineered the 16v engines to be very powerful, and Mercedes dumbed them back down to around the 200-horsepower mark for consumers. Fortunately, Carlsson saw what had happened back in the day and restored the full 315 horsepower to their C25-16v RS, and a true street/track warrior was reborn.

Carlsson C30 (W201) - 1989

This was reportedly based on the W201 190E, and produced 220hp from a 2.6L inline-6 engine.

Carlsson C35 (W124) - 1991

Based on the W124 Mercedes E-Class, this model used a tuned 3.0L inline-6 that produced 275hp and 261 lb-ft of torque, propelling it to 60mph in 6.9 seconds.

Carlsson C35 (W201) - 1992

Based on the Mercedes W201 190E, the C35 was powered by a 3.5L inline-6 that made 242hp (curiously, less than the 3.0L in the W124 C35) and ran to 60mph in 6.3 seconds (curiously much quicker than the more powerful W124 C35). As with all tuned Carlsson Mercedes of this time period, the C35 came equipped with sports suspension, 17" wheels, and an aero kit.

Carlsson W202 C36 - 1993

Based on the C-Class, and featured 290hp.

Carlsson W201 C50/50S - 1984

Carlsson stuffed a 5.0L V8 into the little 190E platform, producing either 231hp (C50) or 272hp (C50S).

Carlsson W124 C36 - 1994

Presumably made the same 290hp as in the W202 C36.

Carlsson W202 C37 RS - 1995

By the time Mercedes got around to releasing the C36 AMG, Carlsson was still one step ahead. Enlarging the engine another .1 liter, they extracted another 56hp from the inline-6 to end up on good side of 335hp, including the use of individual throttle bodies. There were, according to Carlsson only 5 cars built in the RS series, three of which were C36 RS (290hp), and two units were C37 RS.

One lucky C37 RS owner has revealed that his model came with a 5-speed manual transmission, stainless steel sport exhaust, Lucas 4 piston racing brake system, sport suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, and an additional oil cooler opening in the RS bumper. Of course, as with all Carlsson models, a full body kit and rear spoiler were fitted. A test in Sport Auto on 10/1995 garnered 0-100 km/h in 6.8 seconds, about as quick as the forthcoming C43 AMG.

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