First Drive: Mercedes-Benz C63 Coupe AMG Black SeriesPosted by: Shelton Kwan onApril 11th, 2012
The first of the new C63 AMG Coupe Black Series (we’ll just call it the CBS for short) has arrived in Canada! With 3 out of 30 CBS’s in Canada going to Beyonders, I’m lucky enough to take this beast home. I’ve had my order in for this car since 2010, well before any official announcements, and finally, she’s in my hands!
First impressions of the car… awesome. I owned the predecessor to the CBS, the CLK63 Black Series, which was nearly the perfect car for me. The CBS fixes every complaint I had with the CLK63 BS. The Nav and iPod infotainment system is top notch, there’s even an AMG Performance Media screen that shows me my cornering forces, much like the GT-R’s GT5 inspired display. The gearbox is much faster, and the rev matched downshifts are seamless. The new Speedshift MCT has ditched the torque converter, replacing it with a computer controlled clutch, resulting in improved efficiency, meaning more power to the road.
Many of our readers have requested a comparison to the CLK63 BS, so this first drive is going to do just that. The CBS is still going through the break-in period, so there’s only so much that can be tested and compared. The temperatures were quite chilly (down to 5C) so there was no chance for the Dunlop Sport Maxx Race MO tires to get up to their optimal temperature window.
I won’t be able to tell how straight line acceleration compared until after the break-in period, but I was able to run some spirited upshifts and downshifts, and the transmission is the biggest difference between the old and the new. Soft upshifts have been replaced with hard changes in the CBS, with a nice exhaust note accompanying each tap of the paddle as it ran up the gears. Downshifts are seamless with the throttle blip. Gone are the shifts where the chassis gets upset under braking in the wet because there was no blipping in the CLK63 BS.
Much like the CLK63 BS, the CBS is a monster in the corners, and I was able to exceed 1g in a few occasions even in the cold temps. Low speed grip felt identical to the CLK63 BS, while there was much more grip and stability in the higher speed corners, even compared to the predecessor on comparable Pirelli P-Zero Corsas. The CBS is 15 seconds faster than the CLK63 BS at the Nurburgring, and high speed cornering performance is where most of that time is found. One of the differences between the 2 that I noticed was that the CBS in slower corners was not as sharp on turn-in as the CLK63 BS, while high speed corners were identical. Was it the tire temperatures causing this behavior? We’ll find out in the upcoming months.
The suspension is as stiff as ever… my chiropractor will once again be my best friend. Interestingly though, the chassis responds better to the bumps, with less secondary vibrations jarring your spine over bumps compared to the CLK63 BS. The girlfriend test was performed, with a leisuirely drive around town, and she concurred with my observations, the CBS is more acceptable in ride quality than the CLK63 BS, even though each bump is just as hard. Credit this to a stiffer chassis and suspension tuning in the CBS.
This car was spec’d out with every option excluding the Aero pack (I’m getting too old to appreciate that option), so it comes with the previously mentioned Dunlop Sport Maxx R compound tires. I took delivery of the car with 40km on the odometer, and I could already see the difference in tread depth front to rear. I doubt they will last very long, but I’m still hoping. Tire replacement will be a problem, as the Dunlops aren’t available publicly until August, in 5 months.
Stay tuned for a full review of this new Black, as well as the work we have planned for her!