It’s not often we feature a German-made sedan, but when we do it’s normally a high-performance model like an Audi S4 or VW Golf R. But sometimes a build comes along that intrigues us enough to step outside our comfort zone by featuring something that’s less about go and more about show, less about carving corners and more about turning heads.
Wilson Tam of Stance Labs in San Francisco has done just that, starting with a ’10 Mercedes-Benz E350 sedan. Sure, Wilson’s dad may have turned down the E350 Wilson bought him as a retirement gift and instead opted for a Scion xB (after calling the Benz an old man’s car), but that didn’t mean this stylish Euro saloon was destined for golf course valet parking and a middle-management suburban garage.
As Wilson explained, “I have always been a fan of the VIP tuner scene in Japan, but have never understood why that style has rarely been applied to big-body European cars. I drove the car around stock for a couple of months until I stumbled across the new Carlsson body kit. I knew this was the kit to help show my creativity of meshing Japanese VIP influence to a European car.”
Of course, a baller-status body kit is just step 1 in transforming the conservatively styled E350 into something a little more flamboyant. BBS LM wheels are about as pimp as a Euro brand wheel gets (at least, in our books), and the Proxes T1 Sport-wrapped hyper silver/black tint clear-coated ones Wilson bolted up to his Benz are extra tasty thanks to the upgraded barrels by Memoryfab (18-inch face with a 19-inch stepped lip and barrel).
Achieving a stance this radical wasn’t as simple as bolting up the AirRex kit.
Wilson hasn’t gone overboard on the hellaflushness of his Benz, though, instead going for more of a VIP-influenced bagged and tucked look. To accomplish this, he had AirRex produce a one-off prototype air suspension kit so that he could set ride height at the belly-scraping level required to achieve stance notoriety. Whether you’re a fan of the super-low stance trend or not, you’ve got to give props to Wilson for understanding that if you’re serious about going low, then an air suspension is the way to do it. A traditional coilover setup may be cheaper, but with an air suspension you can air-out the bags and drop the car to the ground in the parking lot and then air them back up at the push of a button for a street-friendly drive home.
Achieving a stance this radical wasn’t as simple as bolting up the AirRex kit, though. Wilson also had his Stance Lab techs fab up custom front camber plates and rear camber arms to give his Benz the adjustability needed to tuck the wheels and tires when airing out the bags.
Inside, Wilson’s E350 has been given a serious VIP face-lift that skipped the Botox in favor of Yakuza-approved, diamond-stitched Alcantara and Napa leather throughout. There are also Carlsson aluminum pedals, door pins and floor mats and a custom trunk enclosure that’s wrapped in diamond-stitched suede and houses two JL W6 v2 subs and a 1000/1 v2 amp.
Yes, we’re a performance-oriented magazine and Wilson Tam’s E350 is rather light on performance mods, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the effort and creativity that goes into a build like this. What this big Benz may lack in the go-fast department (not that it’s a slouch, given the 268hp V-6 under the hood and BMC air filters, L.A.B. intake tubes, Remus exhaust and ECU reflash freeing up a few more ponies) it more than makes up for with its VIP-inspired styling and bagged stance.
Why We Picked It
Sometimes it’s fun to flip the script and throw something totally unexpected into the mix. We prefer spending our weekends at the racetrack, but if hard parking was our cup of tea, we’d do it in style like Wilson Tam does in his big Benz. The Carlsson kit, bagged suspension and BBS LMs is a potent combo, the only thing missing being an equally potent engine build.
Specs & Details
'10 Mercedes-Benz E350 Sedan
Engine 3.5-liter V-6
Engine Modifications BMC air filters; L.A.B. intake tubes; Remus exhaust, painted engine covers
Engine Management F1 Tuning ECU re-flash
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Memoryfab rebarreled 19x8.5" (f) & 19x10.5" (r) BBS LM wheels; Toyo Proxes T1 Sport 225/35R19 (f) & 245/35R19 (r) tires; stud conversion; BBS lug nuts; E63 AMG calipers; Technafit stainless steel brake lines
Suspension AirRex prototype air suspension system; Ridetech E3 digital air management system; dual Viair 444 compressors; 3-gallon air tanks (2); L.A.B. front pillow-ball camber plates & rear camber links
Exterior Carlsson front bumper w/ integrated LED daytime running lights, stainless steel mesh grille insert, carbon-fiber front lip, side skirts, rear diffuser, trunk spoiler & hood & trunk badges; Lorinser roof spoiler; black (painted) roof; removed chrome side strips; Monarch puddle lamps
Interior Napa leather w/ Alcantara diamond-stitched center seats, door panels & center console wrapped in diamond-stitched Alcantara; A-, B-, C-pillars, rear hat shelf & sun visors wrapped in Alcantara; headliner, trunk side panels & custom audio enclosure wrapped in suede; Carlsson aluminum pedal set w/ foot rest, aluminum door pins & floor mat set; Mods4cars video-in-motion; full white LED light conversion; JL 12W6 v2 subwoofer (2), 1000/1 Slash v2 amp; PAC SOEM-T audio interfacing module; custom sealed enclosure
Special Thanks Dave & Wing from Memoryfab; Sunny from Franklin Auto Body; my buddy Felix; my friends & family; and last, but definitely not, least my loving & supportive girlfriend Christine