8 months with a Renault Clio

Top Car's Wayne Batty says goodbye to his Renault Clio. It’s not a soppy farewell but the little 'automatique' did its maker proud.

Kia's trendy family pick

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post experiences the upcoming Cerato.

AMG reveals baddest C-Class yet

2011-07-25 09:10

BLACK MAGIC: Special engine and transmission cooling bits make it a pure track day machine. Image gallery

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Model C63 AMG Black Series
Engine 6.2-litre V8
Power 380kW
Torque 620Nm
Transmission Seven-speed MCT
Zero To Hundred 4.2 sec
Three weeks after AMG was caught showing off its fastest C-Class yet at the circuit Paul Ricard, in Southern France, the C63 Coupe Black Series has officially been revealed.

AMG’s latest car to carry the Black Series badge of distinction (reserved for Affalterbach’s most focused performance derivatives) is also the most powerful C-Class yet homologated for sale.


Affalterbach’s latest Black Series hot rod (only the fourth incarnation of AMG’s hallowed performance nameplate) manages to fuse all those engineering details C63 sedan owners have been clamouring for since the four-door AMG compact performance car was launched, back in 2007.

Styling details feature characteristic AMG embellishments added to the neatly proportioned new C-Class coupe design.

The front is defined by Mercedes-Benz’s new wraparound headlights, with C63 Black’s performance potential visually underlined by a more defined front splitter, side air intakes, power dome etched bonnet (featuring dual surface vents), rear diffuser and an optional oversized rear spoiler.

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, AMG’s Black Series styling upgrades increase front fender width by 28mm and the rear wheel arch mouldings by 42mm, lending the C63 Black an imposingly purposeful stance – especially considering the increased mechanical tracking widths fore (40mm) and aft (75mm), sure to enhance stability at speed.

To ensure dynamics remain true to the Black Series heritage, AMG’s engineers have raided the company’s parts bin and selected a choice list of components to replace (and improve upon) the standard C63 suite of mechanical features.

Although its three-link front and multi-link rear suspension is carried over from the current C-Class platform, engineers have dialled-in more negative camber, added more-substantial anti-roll bars and finessed spring and damper rates for the C63 AMG coupe application. Why? Well, to cope with the burden of performance visited upon this latest AMG derivative by the company’s signature V8 engine, its legendary 6.2-litre M156 V8.

As mentioned, the C63 Black Series coupe’s tracking widths have been increased and a new rear axle fixed in-place. All four wheel corners gain their own coil-over dampers too, allowing adjustable suspension kinematics (perfect for those owners who plan to frequent track day events), whilst the power-steering system’s received remapped control software to improve feel.

Best of all is that the C63 Black Series coupe distributes power between the rear wheels courtesy of a proper locking differential, unlike the C63 sedan’s hopelessly overpowered open-differential. If things do go awry, there’s a three-stage AMG-tuned ESP stability intervention system (featuring "on", slightly hooligan tolerant "sport handling" and suicidal "off" settings) and substantial aluminium brakes, measuring 390mm in diameter up front and 360mm at the rear. Disappointingly, AMG carbon-ceramic brake rotors, optional on the SLS, will not be offered as an option…

Another slight debit is the C63 Black Series coupe’s MCT Speedshift transmission, which although claimed to boast 100 millisecond shift actuation, remains an automatic transmission sans torque converter, which, again, is a compromise considering AMG equips its SLS with a proper dual-clutch seven-speed shifter.


Fortunately, AMG’s product planners did not compromise with regards to the C63 Black Series coupe’s engine upgrades. Featuring a tuned version of the legendary naturally aspirated 6.2-litre M156 V8 engine (good for 380kW and 620Nm), this is the most powerful naturally aspirated C-Class based car AMG has ever built.

Addressing a crucial issue with regards to the M156 V8 engine, its oil temperature issues in a high dynamic load environment (such as a track day), C63 Black Series coupe gains the SLS’s 50% larger oil cooler.

Modifications to the 6.2-litre V8 revolve around SLS AMG-sourced forged alloy pistons that run off a lightweight crankshaft via new conrods. The ECU unit has been recalibrated to cope with the change in piston speed take-up and inertia thanks to the three kilogramme weight-saving courtesy of these new SLS parts

SENSIBLE SUPERCAR: Increased tracking widths and a proper rear locking differential make this C63 infinitely more stable when lapping a track…

How quick is it?

Well, AMG claims on a high-friction surface, with the MCT transmission set to “race start” mode, this latest Black Series is good for a benchmark 0-100km/h sprint of 4.2 seconds.

That's a statistic sure to make current RS5 and M3 owners rather uncomfortable – which is the whole idea.

Cabin upgrades are almost an afterthought – manually adjustable bucket seats and contrasting red seatbelts.


AMG will offer a range of optional extras with the C63 Black Series coupe. These include the obligatory track day attendee’s fire extinguisher, a composites detailing package (tallying carbon side mirrors, diffuser, front lip spoiler, strut brace and cabin inlays) and tinted windows. Amazingly, keyless entry is an optional extra too – a peculiar instance of that uniquely German humour practised by AMG’s product planners…

If you’re still not quite satisfied with the specification of your C63 Black Series coupe, AMG’s prepared two factory packages for the car too – either track or aerodynamics biased.

The aerodynamics package aims to reduce lift at both axles by adding a fixed carbon-fibre rear spoiler and larger (speed bump scraping) front lip spoiler. AMG’s track package bins the standard tyres for special road-cut slicks from Dunlop, specifically developed for the C63 Black Series two-door, whilst a radiator located in the rear apron actively cools the transmission components during intense track day driving.

It all sounds very nice, but, considering its lineage, is this C63 two-door worthy of the Black Series moniker?

Well, the original Black Series SLK was good for only 294kW. The CLK63 Black (C63 coupe’s spiritual forebear) produced seven units of power shy of the new car's 380kW. Understandably SL65 Black’s 493kW will, in respect to its status, never be bettered. All things considered, then, this latest Black Series appears very much worthy of its legendary AMG performance nameplate.

More powerful than either BMW’s M3 or Audi’s RS5 by quite some margin the new C63 AMG Coupe shows, yet again, that Mercedes-Benz has a wonderfully simple logic when configuring performance cars to trump its rivals – bring the biggest gun to you have, even if it's a knife-fight...

Just a shame it does not have a proper dual-clutch transmission.

Inside Wheels24

Take a virtual tour of the McLaren 570S in SA

Want to experience what it's like to be behind the wheel of a 419kW sports car? Take a virtual tour of the McLaren 570S in our interactive Snapchat video filmed in SA.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.