2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG Black Series Preview – New York Auto Show: Strip a CLK63 AMG built to serve as an F1 safety car of its decals and light bar, and you’ve pretty much got the street-legal, 500-horsepower, track-ready Black Series. Pricing and volume were not announced at the car’s debut in New York, but we’d guess this thing isn’t gonna go head-to-head with a Chevy Cobalt SS Supercharged. Expect a six-figure sticker and a planned build of less than 1,000 examples.
With Audi, BMW, and Infiniti hogging the sport/luxury coupe headlines for 2008, proud Mercedes-Benz needed to do something to grab a headline or two. Whether it needed to create this fantastically expensive, low-volume racing machine for the road is another question entirely. But hey, we’re not the only ones writing about the CLK after this stunt, are we?
The short story is that the Black Series gets a 500-horsepower version of AMG’s 6.3-liter V8 connected to a 7-speed AMG Speedshift transmission with a shorter final drive ratio and Manual or Sport shift programs (obviously, Comfort is left off the software for this model). Acceleration to 60 mph takes 4.1 seconds and top speed is 186 mph. Other goodies include larger vented and perforated composite disc brakes, strut braces under the hood and in the trunk, and a stability control system calibrated for track driving. The suspension has shocks adjustable for toe-in and camber, jounce and rebound, and height. There’s a bigger radiator, a second transmission oil cooler, a limited-slip differential, and an AMG sports exhaust system. Take that, M3.
The current generation of the CLK has always struck us as innocuous and forgettable, but the CLK63 AMG Black Series is a different machine. It’s got revised front and rear aprons with carbon air intakes and diffuser fins, redesigned side skirts, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler. Those are the subtle changes. There’s no mistaking the flared carbon fiber vented fenders, and the staggered-width wheels are also striking. These AMG forged rims measure 9 x 19 in front and 9.5 x 19 in back, and wear Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires sized 265/30R19 in front and 285/30R19 in back.
Normal CLK63 AMG models can carry four adults, but this bad boy is strictly a two seater. New AMG sport seats swathed in supple Nappa leather with silver AMG embroidered logos hold the driver and passenger in place. There’s also a racing-style 14.1-inch diameter sport steering wheel covered in leather and equipped with aluminum shift paddles. Carbon fiber trim decorates the dashboard, and the contoured shift lever is milled from aluminum. Getting underway is easy with a dedicated start-stop ignition button.
Bet you didn’t know this about AMG: “Mercedes-AMG follows a philosophy of ‘one man, one engine.’ A single technician – identified by the signature plate affixed to each engine – is responsible for the complete assembly of an AMG high performance engine from start to finish. Each engine is produced and tested at AMG’s headquarters in Affalterbach, which produces 100 engines a day for the entire range of Mercedes-AMG vehicles.”
This is exactly the treatment the rather innocuous CLK has needed for several years. The CLK63 AMG Black Edition is one of the hottest rides for 2008, clearly built and intended for the most enthusiastic Mercedes-Benz devotees, sure to land in private collections where each mile registered on the odometer represents significant decrease in value. Damn shame, if you ask us.