Are you considering buying a Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG Black Series?
Well continue reading to learn everything you need to know about this rare car.
After spending several months with our new-to-us CLK63 AMG Black Series, we’ve started to get really comfortable with the car and understand what Mercedes had in mind when they built this car.
What You Need To Know
For the longest time, Mercedes-Benz has always had the reputation for not creating track-oriented cars.
Every attempt at a road-going sportscar has never really been a front runner in their respective segments and always fell in the shadows of the Porsche 911 and BMW M3.
That is until Mercedes commissioned AMG to help build the limited edition C63 AMG Black Series.
Launched in 2008, the CLK63 AMG Black Series was sold on US soil with an MSRP of roughly $130,000.
While each car is not uniquely numbered, only 350 cars were ever sold in the US.
There were no options on the CLK63 AMG Black Series except for a choice of 5 colors: Mars Red (most rare), Artic White (most desirable), Iridium Silver (ours), Black, Obsidian Black.
The interior was standard black leather with carbon fiber trim all throughout the dash and console, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and signature nub of a shifter.
While it was based on the standard CLK63 AMG, the Black Series was actually modeled off their F1 Safety Car and came with an assortment of upgrades in every area imaginable.
The same M156 6.2L engine was now tuned to deliver 500 HP and 465 lb-ft of torque. The transmission had revised gearing and mapping to deliver quicker shifts and performance.
The CLK63 AMG Black Series sat on a wider track with adjustment coilover suspension at all four corners, and limited slip differential with active cooling to help put the power down.
Stopping the car were all new 19″ forged aluminum wheels that housed 6-piston front / 4-piston rear calipers clamping down on massive cross-drilled composite rotors.
There is no mistaking a CLK63 AMG Black Series from the outside.
From the front, to the rear, to even the sides, all body panels were switched to carbon fiber re-inforced plastic with huge fender flares on each fender, an aggressive carbon fiber diffuser in the rear, and carbon fiber rear spoiler.
The Driving Experience
The CLK63 AMG Black Series reminded us a lot of our 2009 C63 AMG, but actually felt old.
While it was actually 1 model year older, it actually felt at least 6 years older!
That is because the second generation CLK Class was introduced in 2003 which is what the Black Series is based on.
With that said, the technology, refinement, and ergonomics were that of an early 2000s car.
There is no power seats.
There are no rear seats.
There is no bluetooth, or actually any technological features, besides maybe an iPod interface.
The satellite navigation and infotainment system is archaic and really useless.
If you’re good with that, keep reading.
The CLK63 AMG Black Series is a raw and uncompromising car.
Since it has coilover suspension, the ride quality is stiff, but not uncomfortable because the seats provide excellent support.
Because of all the chassis re-inforcements, the CLK63 AMG Black Series does creak and squeak a little bit.
There is more than enough power and even with 285 wide rear tires, the CLK63 AMG Black Series rarely gets traction if the pedal is to the metal, even with the limited slip differential.
In fact, it is really easy to get the CLK63 AMG Black Series sideways mid corners if you are not careful.
While other cars like the BMW M3 are more surgical in the way they curve corners, the Black Series is the completely opposite and just loves to have the rear end get loose.
Then it comes to perhaps the biggest let down of the CLK63 AMG Black Series… the transmission.
There is no sugar coating it. The CLK63 AMG Black Series transmission is nothing more than a performance oriented automatic transmission.
With more and more cars out now with dual clutch technology, it really makes the Mercedes 7G-Tronic transmission feel outdated.
In M mode, there are delays in shifting response after you pull the paddles.
For example, if you pull the paddle at redline to shift up into the next gear, it will be too late as the response time is delayed causing the car to bounce off the limiter.
So you always have to pull the paddle a little bit before you anticipate when you need to actually shift to compensate for the delay.
Perhaps the biggest annoyance for us is the downshifting in the CLK63 AMG Black Series. Downshifts are sluggish and the transmission does not blip the throttle on each downshift like it did in our C63 AMG.
So when you click the paddle to downshift, it will almost cause the CLK63 AMG Black Series to lurch forward and become unbalanced because of the heavy engine braking to match the rate of speed.
We really wish it was more seamless.
The good news is that the gearing is perfect and you can tell the behavior of the transmission is track-focused because it is always in the right gear at it’s optimum powerband.
Our Honest Opinion
Based on our experience with this car thus far, we’ll give you our honest opinion:
The short answer is that the CLK63 AMG Black Series is a fantastic car for the enthusiast who doesn’t always need the latest and greatest, yet loves a unique, raw, and understated sportscar for weekend and track use.
For the price you can buy these for, there really isn’t anything out there that can match the unique driving experience out of the CLK63 AMG Black Series, but you have to go in with the right expectations.
Would we buy one again? It’s honestly tough to say.
The CLK63 AMG Black Series is showing its age and those little annoyances do bother us.
If only Mercedes made a car that solved all those problems… Oh wait they do and it’s the successor, the all 2012 Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series.
Now you got us thinking…