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How much? £100,000
On sale in the UK: February 2012
Engine: 6208cc 32v V8, 510bhp @ 6800rpm, 457lb ft @ 5200rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed MCT automatic, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 4.2secs 0-62mph, 188mph (limited), 23.2mpg, 286g/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 1710kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4764/1997/1388
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 5 out of 55

Handling

Rated 5 out of 55

Performance

Rated 5 out of 55

Usability

Rated 3 out of 53

Feelgood factor

Rated 5 out of 55

Readers' rating

Rated 3.5 out of 53.5

Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series (2012) CAR review

By Ben Pulman (on-road photography by Greg Pajo)

First Drives

04 January 2012 07:00

This is the Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series, a £100k rival for Porsche’s 911 GT3, Maserati’s MC Stradale and BMW’s M3 GTS. The C63 Black has a more powerful 6.2-litre V8, unique motorsport-inspired suspension, and that Black Series badge isn’t just applied to any old hot rod Merc; there have been just three prior Black Series models, with a total of only 1170 having ever been built. Expectations are high, so read on for our first drive review of the Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series.

So how does a Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series differ from a normal C63 AMG Coupe?

Let’s start with the engine, AMG’s famed 6.2-litre V8. In regular C63 guise it boasts 451bhp and 443bhp, but in Black Series form it gains the SLS supercar’s forged pistons, conrods and lightweight crankshaft, and a new ECU, to push its outputs up to 510bhp and 457lb ft. That’s actually barely any more power (and actually less torque) than its predecessor, the 500bhp and 465lb ft CLK63 Black, but it’s much gruntier than the 444bhp and 325lb ft BMW M3 GTS.

It means three-tenths are trimmed from the 0-62mph time, but no more because the C63 Black only weighs 20kg less than the normal C63 Coupe – there are no ceramic brakes or carbon panels to save weight. But there is that coilover suspension, and massively widened front and rear tracks (by40mm and 79mm respectively) which nestle behind broader front and rear wheelarches (28mm and 42mm).

Which means the Black no longer looks like a C-class saloon but a hardcore coupe with big, butch looks: intakes and vents pepper the nose, the creased aluminium bonnet and the enlarged arches, and if you spec the AMG Aerodynamics Package (circa £7k and fitted to our car) you get a set of carbon ‘flics’ on the front bumper, a carbon front splitter and an adjustable carbon rear wing.

And inside the C63 Black?

At first it feels like a regular C63 Coupe as the gearbox defaults to Controlled Efficiency mode, pulling away in second and shifting seamlessly up to seventh. And besides the bucket seats and Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel, it could be a regular C63 Black: the contrasting stitching is subtle, as is the carbon trim and small Black Series badge; and if you want to use it every day you can option the C63 Coupe’s standard front and rear seats instead of the standard buckets and deleted rear bench.

So, how does the C63 Black drive?

Like the best ever AMG. The noise is louder, the acceleration is harder, the steering is sharper, the braking ability is stronger (30mm bigger discs all round, to 390mm up front and 360mm at the rear), body control is better and the optional track-biased Dunlop tyres (yours for around £5k, together with active transmission cooling as part of the AMG Track Package) mean huge levels of grip.

Alas the trick MCT auto ‘box (a wet clutch replaces the torque converter) doesn’t always drop to the required gear even when you know there’s the requisite revs, but it makes up for it by performing changes in 100 milliseconds when you’re at full throttle in Sport+ and Manual modes. And the brief interruption of both ignition and injection to speed up the shifts means a monstrous crackle erupts from the quad pipes with each cog swap. And then the engine’s back to bellowing and snarling towards 7200rpm again.

It doesn’t feel over-engined and lairy like the DR520 C-class, but supple and fluid, and so thoroughly sorted and together that the changes aren’t instantly apparent. It’s not night and day different from the C63 Coupe, and at first almost feels too subtle, but there’s a big dynamic gap between the Black Series and the car it’s based on.

Verdict

As above: it’s AMG’s best ever car. And unlike the rest of the world’s motoring media, we weren’t limited to a handful of laps of Laguna Seca to deliver that verdict. Instead CAR had the Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series for two full days on the roads of California – read our exclusive drive in the new January 2012 issue of CAR Magazine, out now. See a digital preview of the issue here.

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Average rating: Rated 3.5 out of 53.5 (24 votes)

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Hellbound

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Hellbound says

RE: Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series (2012) CAR review

 CAR's rating - 5 stars.  Readers rating - 3.5 stars.  Have any of the readers actually driven one?  That's the problem with reader feedback on here, most of the time it's all tripe.

21 January 2012 18:40

 

varunjk

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varunjk says

RE: Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series (2012) CAR review

Whoops, carmobster; it sounds like you think me and some other clean-driving-fun advocates actually dislike AMG!

You couldn't be more off the mark. I love the sheer audacity and laugh-out-loud performance of Merc's performance wing, the way in which they don't shy away from having their vehicles' performance cred swelling out from bulged wheelarches, gaping maws and shouty exhaust, the way in which they push the base vehicle's mechanicals to the limit in pursuit of raw performance, rather than turn it up a few notches like their friendly neighbourhood rivals from Munich and Ingolstadt. I like them in the same way I do Lamborghini's angry-wedge socially irresponsible shape or the sneering grin of a Brabus Bullit as it prepares it's 720 bhp for deployment.

But what saddens and disappointsme about these machines is that they have no feasible future. Sure, most hyper-supercar manufacturers merely dust themselves off after a global shutdown and release yet another fuel-swilling wonder, but in 20, maybe 30 years where do you see 6-litre V8's headed? These are, in spirit, the present equivalents of the V16 sports racers of the 50s and 60s. Mercedes should be actively looking for alternative sports car ideas for the future even as they attempt to break the barrier for the ultimate, most sonorous and ballsy machines of today.

 

07 January 2012 13:38

 

carmobster

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carmobster says

RE: Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series (2012) CAR review

Yes, yes I know JohnnyD and varunjk that lightweight and downsizing is everything, bla bla bla.

I like contrast, I like AMG because it's different than BMW's M devision or Toyota;s philosophy.

Let's hope it stays that way.
But in case you hear a big V8 roaring, it will be me having fun. That's what it is all about, fun. It doesn't need to make sense, mpg or CO2 tooth fairy gas. Fun is pointless, which is the whole essence of it.

06 January 2012 14:35

 

varunjk

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varunjk says

RE: Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series (2012) CAR review

It's a vicious cycle - more power, more tech and even less creature comforts will eventually lead you to a slick Mercedes Coupe disguised as Koenigsegg Agera R. What the big three of German performance-luxury (already a Jekyll and Hyde scenario) do not realise that upping the power and poke of each successive generation of M, AMG or RS cars does not necessarily create a better machine. At least BMW M seem to have seen the light, because they're now talking of 6-cylinder Turbo M3's  and lightweight hybrid performance, while Audi seem to realise they were falling in the lardy quattro deathtrap which was diverting them from more fruitful pursuits, namely the R8 and R4. And just for you there, JohnnyD, this is exactly what Clarkson himself has written (TopGear magazine, April 2011).

06 January 2012 07:57

 

JohnnyD

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JohnnyD says

RE: Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series (2012) CAR review

Not going to argue with Carmob's comments. Who doesn't like V8's, power and speed? However to add some context this review appears in full in the January mag just after the first drive off the Toyota FT86 and an in dept interview of Laurence Tomilinson whose doing great things at Ginetta.

 

Judging by Ben Barry's review of the FT86, it looks to deliver real world driving thrills using a finely judged chassis and steering in a small, light package. All for around £25k.

 

Laurence Tomilison appears to be preaching the same things at Ginetta. Engineering nous in small, light packages serving up driving thrills at the tenth of the cost of other rivals.

 

In comparsion this Black offering is overwrought, overexpensive and frankly built to satisfy the Clarkson's of this world. (Case in point the AMG button you can push to access your lap times and 0-60's. Yours for £2k! As Ben Pullman states in the magazine article, a forgotton waste of money!!)

 

05 January 2012 13:44

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