C63 Black Series Debuts in North AmericaPosted by: Shelton Kwan onNovember 21st, 2011
We’ve covered the C63 AMG Black Series in depth over the last few months, revealing details of the car before anyone else, and covering the Nurburgring worldwide debut of the car. So what better place for a North American debut of the C63 AMG Black Series than Laguna Seca. Mercedes AMG brought 5 of the cars, optioned up with the Track Pack and Aero Pack, to flog around the legendary track for a press event a few days before the LA Auto Show opens up.
And what a car. A logical successor to the wildly successful 2008 CLK63 Black Series, Mercedes spent over a year tweaking the setup, fine tuning the aerodynamics to create a beast that can lap the Nurburgring a whopping 19 seconds faster than it’s predacessor. That’s an eternity in terms of laptimes.
Here’s what we know so far. Mercedes will be importing only 100 of these into the US (30 for Canada), which is quite a bit less than the CLK63 Black Series. The market is much stronger this time around in China and Germany, so most of the 600 cars being produced will be heading to those markets. The suspension tuning is softer then the CLK BS, so it can be driven aggressively on tracks that aren’t F1 smooth. With a softer ride on the streets, it makes it an even better daily driver. My girlfriend will be happy about that, as the CLK BS was considered comfortable on the streets only for the most hardcore of drivers.
The CLK BS was created in 8 months, more of a hacked together solution that worked well on F1 tracks, and was, to put it mildly, manical on anything with bumps. In order to compensate for the more compliant spring rates, AMG gave the car more downforce (even more with the Aero kit), stickier tires, and a very aggressive limited slip (60% lock on accel, 50% on overrun). The whole package is controlled with a 3 stage ESP system, with Sport mode allowing the driver to get a few degrees of slip angle before the computers put a halt to potentially expensive damage. Hardcore track guys can turn the system off entirely, with the system only intervening under braking. The result was more stable braking, with corner entry and exit speeds up significantly. In numerical terms, 19 seconds.
AMG Performance Media will come standard, which was first debuted in the SLS AMG Roadster. This is a glorified race computer, which allows you to upload your favorite tracks (Nurburgring and Hockenheim comes pre-loaded), set sector times, and show the driver how much time he or she is making (or losing) on every sector of every lap.
One of the more controversial features that the North American market will receive is the standard panoramic roof. While the cars at Laguna Seca and the LA Auto Show does not come with it (they were simply European spec cars with the US spec seats installed), Mercedes had no choice due to the fact that the C Coupe that the Black Series was based on was crash tested with the roof, and it did not make financial sense to crash test again for such a limited run. While great for the street, an additional 130lbs at the top of the car certainly does not help the car on the track, where engineers aim for low center of gravity. The C63 Black Series will weigh in at 3700lbs in European Spec, 200lbs lighter than the C63 Coupe. With the roof, it’s estimated that the North American version will come in at 3900lbs, just like the Coupe.
Not that it makes much difference to be honest. 3700 or 3900lbs might sound porky for a sports car, that weight disappears at the first apex, thanks to the magic performed by AMG engineers. While not as nimble as a 997.2 GT3 RS (the car’s obvious competitor), it feels close. The only caveat would be exit speed, the GT3 plants itself out of corners thanks to it’s rear weight bias, while the C63 Black Series will gladly kick the tail out if you are not careful with the throttle trying to put down all 510 horses.
First deliveries for the C63 Black Series is expected in Spring 2012, and with only 100 cars coming to the US, all the cars have pretty much been spoken for. At an estimated $115,000 base price, it doesn’t come cheap, but it is cheaper than the CLK63 Black Series when it was introduced 4 years ago. A better car for less money. Isn’t technological advancement wonderful?
Discuss the new Black Series with our other members on the Ultimate C63 AMG thread on the forum.