20 August 2021
20 August 2021
The most powerful Mercedes-AMG production V8 to date.
The most distinct driving experience ever to leave the Affalterbach factory.
The closest AMG has ever come to building a racing car for the road.
All lofty claims, but resting very comfortably, thank you very much, on the taut shoulders of the latest member of the most enigmatic and prestigious branch of the AMG family tree – the new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.
As most AMG aficionados know, the Black Series represents the absolute pinnacle of the world of Mercedes-AMG, and doesn’t follow a timetable or model release schedule. A new ‘Black’ drops only when Mercedes-AMG decides upon exactly the right car, at exactly the right time.
The AMG GT Black Series is just the sixth member of this family of high-performance vehicles to be released since the Black Series badge was coined back in 2006. Sadly, unless you happen to be among a lucky few, all six examples of this model to come to New Zealand have already been snapped up by AMG enthusiasts.
A racing car for the road
This is the closest AMG has ever come to building a racing car for the road. Lighter, more powerful and completely overhauled in its chassis and aerodynamics, the GT Black Series has motorsport genes down to the smallest screw.
That depth of racetrack engineering was underscored recently when AMG factory racer Maro Engel made use of the many motorsport-inspired standard features baked into the GT Black Series to set a new record for unmodified road cars around the 20.8-kilometre Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit. In fact, Maro commented that in hitting well over 300 km/h during the lap, the GT Black Series was faster than his Mercedes-AMG GT3 race car.
The raw numbers begin to explain this performance. A 4.0-litre, dry-sumped and twin-turbocharged V8 engine pushes out an incredible 537 kW (at 6700-6900 rpm) and 800 Nm (from 2000-6000 rpm) for 0-100 km/h acceleration in 3.2 seconds, 200 km/h in less than 9, and a top speed of 325 km/h.
But there’s much more to this story, and that’s just in the engine compartment alone. A complete rethink of the GT powerplant moves the game on significantly for AMG. A lighter, flat-plane crankshaft revs more freely and is even more responsive to throttle inputs than a regular cross-plane one. A different firing order even gives the Black Series its own unique sound. As you would expect, each Black V8 is fully constructed and personally signed by a single AMG engine builder, with only half-a-dozen of AMG’s top technicians entrusted with this most prestigious of jobs.
This singularly capable powerplant works in concert with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that has been reinforced to handle the high torque output of the Black Series engine. It’s housed in a remarkable carbon-fibre subframe and, like the engine, has active mounts.
GT Black Series walkaround
A wide front grille derives from the GT3 race car, as do numerous aids to increase downforce and promote slipperiness through the air. An extendable front carbon-fibre diffuser, specifically for racetrack use, creates a vacuum effect under the car that sucks it to the road. An elastic element stretches as the car goes faster, providing even more downforce. For road use, the diffuser slides away beneath the front of the car.
The carbon-fibre bonnet is a crucial part of the GT Black Series aerodynamic concept, with two large outlets on top guiding warm air from the radiator out of the engine bay and around the A pillars. The aerodynamic carbon-fibre continues on the sides with integrated louvres on top of the front fenders, plus openings behind the wheels that flow to carbon-fibre side skirts.
One of the most visibly powerful aerodynamic aids is the large rear wing. Two wingboards are mechanically adjustable, and an active aerodynamic element in the centre can electronically raise by 20 degrees. It’s controlled either by the selected driving mode, or a driver-actuated button. An essential part of the vehicle’s overall aerodynamics, it’s supported beneath the carbon-fibre boot hatch by two pillars designed to transmit through to the frame of the car up to 400 kg of downforce generated by the wing.
A carbon-fibre rear apron and diffuser completes the aero package and frames a Black Series exhaust system made of thin-walled stainless steel with rear silencers of titanium, making for an epic soundtrack inside the cabin.
These aids work together to reduce speed-inhibiting drag in the straights, and create greater mechanical stability during acceleration and high-speed cornering.
An elevated ride experience
Specially designed coilover suspension includes three-stage adjustable damping, with the racetrack-ready 'Sport Plus' mode able to automatically recognise and adapt to the quality of the track surface. As with a dedicated race car, the driver can also make manual adjustments for ride height, camber and anti-roll-bar stiffness, for finely tuned balance in any situation. A nine-stage adjustable traction control system will be familiar to owners of the Mercedes-AMG GT R, albeit fettled with bespoke mapping just for the GT Black.
Braking is just as essential as speed to going fast, so lightweight ceramic-compound brakes with special pads and discs provide instant bite while actively preventing brake fade; meanwhile, aerodynamic measures enhance brake cooling for optimum performance.
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres – enhanced specifically for the Black Series in two Mercedes Original compounds – provide the perfect conduit to the track or road. The softer of the two even has the silhouette of the GT Black Series laser-etched into the sidewall.
The two-seat cabin drips with microfibre and carbon-fibre, including fixed-back seats moulded in carbon and trimmed with orange details, which complement the scorching new exterior paint colour, Magma Beam (where selected).
A lightweight titanium roll cage is fitted as standard for New Zealand-delivered GT Black Series vehicles, which also forms the mounting points for a pair of four-point racing harnesses. These are supplied for track use and can be fitted without removing the regular three-point seat belts.
Built on the highly capable Mercedes-AMG GT platform, the GT Black Series nonetheless stamps itself as a one-of-a-kind and worthy standard-bearer for the hallowed Black Series family.
Fifteen years in the making, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series does more than simply continue the story – it puts a resounding exclamation mark on it.
Learn more about the all-new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series here.
By Steve Colquhoun