The newest member of the AMG brotherhood rolled onto the scene this weekend at the German Grand Prix, when the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe Black Series turned up to wow F1 fans at the Nurburgring circuit. On sale here early in 2012, this uber-spec road rocket packs a 510 horsepower version of AMG's naturally aspirated 6.2-liter M156 V8, making it the most potent C-Class ever unleashed on the street. Further fortified with a full range of AMG suspension and interior upgrades, the C63 AMG Coupe Black Series was designed to offer road-legal performance with a full-race personality.
Spawned from a storied history in the German Touring Car championship (DTM) and 15 years worth of AMG-prepped vehicles that served as safety and medical cars for F1, this latest creation from M-B's go-faster gang at Affalterbach is set to write its own page in the that illustrious saga. In presenting the car, Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH simply observed: "The C63 AMG Coupe Black Series embodies the new AMG brand claim, Driving Performance, like no other AMG model."
A competitive styling edge
To ensure it looked the part, AMG designers treated the C63 AMG Black Series to a functionally aggressive makeover that runs from nose to tail. Up front, the bolder fascia design houses bigger air intakes and is sandwiched between an aero-optimized lower splitter and a new aluminum hood with functional air extractors. The fenders have been appropriately blistered to accommodate the car's significantly wider front and rear track dimensions -- and better house its ultra-light 19-inch titanium-gray AMG forged alloy wheels that mount 255/35 and 285/30 rubber -- while blackout "virtual vents" add an element of visual interest if no actual cooling assistance.
The aft quarters on the C63 AMG Black Series display a similar style, with a custom rear valence panel that features a unique black lower diffuser with black-mesh grille insert, a lift-quelling integrated decklid spoiler lip and dual paired rectangular chrome exhaust outlets. Completing the look are exclusive "Black Series" ID elements that supplement chrome "6.3" badges on its front flanks.
Ready to rumble, whatever the venue
Despite its badge designation, the M156 V8 in the C63 AMG Black Series actually displaces only 6.2 liters. That minor misnomer aside, the first engine ever developed completely by AMG is a stunning motivator that benefits from a load of mission-specific upgrades culled from its kin fitted to the gullwing SLS AMG. Highighting the list are elements like forged pistons and connecting rods, a lightweight crankshaft, and an enhanced oil-cooling system plus a unique engine control unit and free-flowing/sound-contoured AMG sports exhaust system. The result is the aforementioned 510 horses matched with an equally robust 457 lb-ft of peak torque -- gains of 59 and 16 output units compared to the engine in the standard C63 AMG model -- which gets sent the rear wheels via an AMG Speedshift MCT 7-speed sports gearbox that offers rev-matching downshift function and four operational performance modes plus a RACE START setting. Mercedes says that combo will send the C63 AMG Black Series streaking from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds.
To fully exploit that extra might, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series is underpinned by an equally dedicated sports suspension built around a fully adjustable coil-over setup that brings performance-tuned AMG speed-sensitive power steering, bespoke springs/shocks/anti-roll bars, an AMG rear-axle differential lock, three-phase (ESP On/Sport Handling Mode/ESP Off) stability control system and huge AMG-spec antilock disc brakes with fade-resistant perforated and ventilated rotors.
Speed-themed inner sanctum
Inside, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series carries on its born- to-run theme with a race-inspired two-place cabin treatment highlighted by AMG instruments including a large, three-dimensional TFT-type multifunction central color display and a pair of AMG shell-style lightweight buckets with seating surfaces covered in grippy Dinamica microfiber.
Completing the look are a thick-rimmed flat-bottom sport steering wheel, aluminum shifter paddles and sport pedals, piano black and carbon fiber accent bits and red seat belts and contrast stitching. For those willing to sacrifice weight for more passenger capability, Mercedes will offer the C63 AMG Black Series with a pair of individual rear seats nicked from the standard C63 AMG model.
Buyers with more need for speed than extra people perches have two other alternatives to consider, both aimed at wringing every last drop of adrenaline out of the C63 AMG Black Series. The AMG Track Package replaces the baseline tires with ultra-grippy custom-designed Dunlop alternatives and adds a rear-axle cooling system to help manage temps under on-circuit conditions while the AMG Aerodynamics Package which enhances both overall downforce and vehicle balance, adds small carbon-fiber front winglets and a large carbon-fiber fixed rear spoiler.
When it does arrive in showrooms, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe Black Series will be in good but rare company. It will join duly upgraded, limited-production versions of the SLK55 AMG, a Euro-spec model built in 2006-2007, the CLK63 AMG (2007-2008) and the SL65 AMG in 2008-2011) as the only other vehicles to wear this hallowed appellation. No word on pricing for C63 AMG Coupe Black Series, but a starting point between $90,000-$100,000 seems most likely.