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W163 Brabus: 2001 ML430

In the world of aftermarket Mercedes-Benz tuners, RENNtech and Brabus have always been the leaders in both quality and performance. We are excluding AMG since they have not been considered aftermarket since the merger and this particular vehicle came after that. Finished in Black Opal (189) over grey leather, this 2001 ML430 Brabus is worth discussing. It's very rare to see a period-correct Brabus kit on just about any model. Yet this ML430 has a full Brabus body kit which includes front and rear bumpers, side skirts, and wheels. Other notable Brabus parts are the door sills, exhaust, and steering wheel. While it's difficult to tell from the photos, there may even be upgraded brakes on this rig. The Brabus styling isn't for everyone. While it is authentic and period, many find it overly aggressive and in some cases distasteful. For this particular ML430, we feel like it pulls off the look well and the all-terrain KO2 tires help a lot.

For those who may have missed it, a similar looking w163 Brabus sold on Bringatrailer back in May of 2019. On the exterior, these two examples are nearly twins. Aside from the wheels (we actually prefer the Brabus 2-piece wheels on this 430) and OEM vs aftermarket headlights and taillights, these two 163s are very similar. However, the Bringatrailer ML had a 5.8L M113 engine modified by Brabus as well. Aside from the engine cover and red painted valve covers, you'd honestly never know... that is until you pounce on the throttle. The 430 is no slouch but compared to a 5.8 we dare say it leaves something to be desired. The interior of the ML58 had some additional wood grain bits but is honestly not much different than the ML430 seen here. To wrap up this comparison, the ML58 had 77k-miles sold for $24,000 on auction plus a 5% buyers premium. This ML430 we've found here has 131k-miles and is asking a reasonable $7,995.

Given the fact that this ML430 has Brabus exhaust, we're definitely curious to see if there may be more to it than meets the eye (gauge cluster, shift knob, tune, suspension, headers, etc). The seller states the ML430 is a 1-owner, clean carfax vehicle and also comes with the original window sticker and receipts. This vehicles is certainly worth a second look, especially for those who recognize the potential value of a tuner such as Brabus.


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