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It's largely a philosophical conundrum: If going 155 mph is already illegal in the US, how much more illegal is 186 mph? Europeans have long been able to persuade BMW and Mercedes to unhook the e-nannies keeping their cars from going over the "gentlemen's agreement" top speed of 200 250 km/h (155 mph), despite parts of Germany's autobahn being unrestricted to all but nitro-burning funny cars. That persuasion, naturally, comes in the form of a rucksack's worth of currency. Now, Mercedes is offering an option package for US-delivered AMG cars that tears down the virtual wall for speed-deprived Americans (with plenty of points still on their licenses).

It's the 030 Performance Package, which according to Intellichoice is a $9,500 option at retail ($8,835 at invoice) on the CLS55 AMG (more or less on other models, up to $14,000 on the SL 55). The package includes limited-slip rear axle, body modifications, sport steering wheel, AMG suspension, 19" high performance tires, twin-spoke multi-piece wheels and, according to Ward's Auto,speed-governor rollback. It's been available since last summer, and sales have been brisk; 600 buyers returned to dealers for the option. BMW buyers, however, will have to be satisfied with the nanny's advice and consent — the company offers no such option in the US.

Car Buyers Circumvent High-Performance Speed Control [Ward's Auto]

Hartge Breaks the Gentlemen s 155mph Agreement [internal]