Words: Calvin Chan
Published: July 14, 2020
There have only been five Black Series models in the Mercedes history book, and they have all been brutal, vicious performance machines that transcend the typical V8 agenda and attain rare, even mythological status. Think of the CLK Black Series, or the now-million-dollar SLS Black Series. It was only a matter of time before AMG’s own sports car, the GT, received the Black Series treatment, and it’s finally here.
That means a massive front grill taken straight from the AMG GT3 car, large enough to sieve a hatchback through it. There are larger intercoolers behind that, and a liberal use of carbon fibre throughout - no one said this car would be cheap. Large hood vents join the Porsche GT3 RS-like fender frills, while a new two-piece rear spoiler joins the AMG party and should make for a better picnic table than the one in the GT R - you can have high tea on this one. It can adjust based on aero needs, just like the front splitter, and should improve stability and braking.
The track is slightly wider this time around, with a similar staggered tire setup of 19s up front and 20s in the rear, but are now wrapped in stickier Michelin Pilot Cup 2 R rubber. The suspension has been stiffened, and there’s a carbon-fibre anti-roll bar up front with two adjustable settings, and in the rear with three settings. The camber on each axle is also manually adjustable. Much to our dismay, the snazzy center-exit exhaust from the GT R has disappeared, and in its place are a pair of twin stainless steel exhaust pipes on each side.
Inside, carbon fibre meets an army of microfibre suede covered all over the dashboard and center console. The bucket seats are new too. There isn’t much here that’s different from the GT R, but if you read our review of that, you know that’s not a bad thing in the slightest.
And if the front grill didn’t catch your attention, get this. The Black Series makes 720 horsepower through an extensively modified 4.0-litre twin-turbo, hand-built V8 engine. Yes it’s the same basic layout as the one in the GT R we recently tested, but the internals have been thoroughly reworked. There are new camshafts, exhaust manifolds, a different firing order, and instead of the cross-plane crankshaft, AMG have swapped it for a new flat-plane crankshaft, similar to what Shelby does with their Ford Mustang GT 350, and should result in a more exotic, higher-pitched V8 wail, similar to Ferraris. That said, the redline has only increased by 200 rpm, up to 7,200 rpm, so we will have to reserve our opinions for a later time.
Still, the swap has its benefits, like a faster spinning crankshaft, better and quicker throttle response, and more power. This V8 also runs a higher level of boost, letting it deliver a grand total of 720 horses and 590 lb-ft of torque. That’s a staggering increase of 143 hp and 74 lb-ft over the GT R. The Black Series still runs that power through a modified seven-speed dual clutch transmission to the rear wheels exclusively. I’m surprised the DCT could handle that much torque to be honest, as the AMGs with these kinds of torque levels tend to use a more robust multi-clutch transmission instead. Still, the GT Black Series runs from 0-100 km/h in a speedy 3.2 seconds, enough to keep pace with a Porsche Taycan Turbo, but not enough to outsprint a Porsche 992 Turbo S (2.7s) or a Lamborghini Huracan Performante (3.1 s). The Black Series will further hit a top speed of 325 km/h, in case you ever need to overtake a jet on the runway.
We have yet to receive word on Canadian pricing but expect the GT Black Series to cost north of $200,000 CAD, considering the GT R itself lists for $190,400. Add to that the expected rarity factor of these Black Series models, and the price is only bound to go up.