Mercedes-AMG is known for making cars that are decisively fast and unmistakably powerful. Yet, when the sun goes down, and the moon goes dark, the AMG engineers transform into mad geniuses capable of taking over the world. Because becoming the kings of Earth is boring, they decided to make the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series instead.
When the AMG GT R was launched, everyone thought that was the highest performing machine to come out of Affalterbach. And why wouldn’t it be? In 2017, the 577hp AMG GT R set a new rear-wheel drive lap record around the fearsome Nürburgring with a time of 7:10.92, with the Pro version improving that time by a whopping 6.5 seconds, earning it the nickname ‘Beast from Green Hell’. That is until it was beaten by the 700hp Porsche 911 GT2 RS, which didn’t sit too well with Mercedes. So, the boys at AMG got to work to create the Black Series, taking inspiration from their GT3 race cars, and turning it up to eleven.
Visually, the race car inspirations are clear to see. With an aero package that would make Formula 1 car weak at the knees, AMG has thrown the entire aerodynamic division’s inventory at the GT Black Series. Upfront, the gaping maw of the radiator grille seems to have come straight off the GT3 and GT4 race cars. Shaped like Darth Vader’s face mask, the Panamericana grille is an AMG signature, helping direct cool air to the brakes and radiators while keeping drag to a minimum.
Air management is the dominant theme of the exterior in this new Black Series. The large racing front splitter has two stages; Street and Race, where the latter extends the splitter and increases the angle of attack to maximise frontal downforce. With the flat underbody, the front splitter increases the airflow under the car, using the ‘Venturi effect’ to suck the car to the ground.
Prominent dive-planes work in unison with the air-curtains to manage the airflow around this super sports car. The carbon fibre bonnet is derived from motorsports, with enormous vents for cooling and air management. The louvres on the front haunches alleviate pressure and turbulence from the wheel arches and divert air around the A-pillar, and towards that massive rear wing.
Ah…the rear wing. It seems as though Mercedes didn’t know which style of a wing to use, so they used ALL of them. The two-stage design wing is made entirely of carbon fibre. It can be manually adjusted to suit different track conditions. The fixed-wing also features an electronically-controlled flap that raises and lowers automatically when necessary and doubles up as an airbrake.
Moreover, the rear bumper is wider with an integrated diffuser, air ducts and large quad tailpipes. Although, we have to admit the triple exhaust setup of the GT R seemed a lot more purposeful and more….aerodynamic-y. All in all, the entire aero package of the GT Black Series generates a massive 400kg of downforce at 250kph; race car levels.
Aerodynamics is not the only power at play here. There is also the good old German powerhouse under that carbon hood. Mercedes has used their 4.0L twin-turbo V8 in everything, from the E-Class family estate to the G63 off-roading beast. The GT Black Series is no different, using a 4.0-litre litre V8 with two turbochargers, but with substantial revisions to the engine, ensuring this car is worthy of the Black Series badge. The significant changes come from the bottom end, where the new engine uses a ‘flat plane’ crankshaft, instead the ‘cross plane’ crankshaft used in all the other variants.
New camshafts and exhaust manifolds are adapted to the new firing order and further improve the gas cycle. The twin-scroll turbochargers use a similar design to the ones found in the Mercedes AMG GT 63 4-door, giving the GT Black Series optimal throttle response. With a dry-sump lubrication system and larger intercoolers keeping all that power chilled, the M178 LS2 V8 in the GT Black Series is the most potent V8 from Mercedes, making an immense 730hp and 800Nm of torque.
This considerable power is channelled to the rear wheels via a modified seven-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7G dual-clutch transmission. This transmission enables the GT Black Series to smash the 0-100kph clock in just 3.2 seconds, reach 200kph in under 9.0 seconds and all the way to a top speed of 325kph.
To make sure all that brutish power gets put down to the tarmac, the GT Black Series has upgraded suspension components to handle heavy-duty track work. The AMG coil-overs are made with a combination of carbon fibre and aluminium components, bolted on to carbon-reinforced aluminium bodyshell. The suspension, straight from AMG’s motorsport division, has no play, which allows for precise steering, giving clear steering feedback and thus delivers better cornering performance.
The adaptive dampers are controlled by AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive modes, available in Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. Sport Plus is ideal for use on racetracks with “Comfort” and “Sport” geared more towards public roads. The extensive use of carbon fibre body panels gives it lightness and rigidity that also aid in the sharp steering and overall handling prowess of the GT Black Series.
The AMG TRACTION CONTROL gives the driver full control to tailor the level of ESP intervention with a nine-level slip setting on the live rear axle. Level 1 is designed for wet driving with more electronic assistance. At the same time, Level 9 is best left for the professionals who know what they’re doing. As important as going fast, stopping quickly and steadily is also paramount. For that, the AMT GT Black Series is equipped with high-performance ceramic compound brakes from the AMG catalogue.
AMG is serious in giving the GT Black Series the best handling and grip levels possible. In collaboration with Michelin, the GT Black Series comes standard from the factory with Pilot Sport Cup 2 R MO tyres, which are specifically designed for the Black Series. As with many high-performance sports cars, the GT Black Series comes with different size tyres, 19-inch (285/35 ZR 19) fronts with 20-inch (335/30 ZR 20) rears. You know this car is meant for the track when the tyres are available in two compounds: ‘Soft’ compound as standard with ‘Hard’ compound option for higher temperatures usage.
Despite the race car approach to the creation of the GT Black Series, the interior is not the stripped out, Spartan cockpits found in many other track-focused specials. The GT Black Series features 10.25-inch central screen, together with a 12.3-inch digital drivers instrument clusters. The instrument cluster offers different designs with the three AMG-specific display styles: ‘Classic’, ‘Sporty’ or ‘Supersport’. The ‘Supersport’ view with a central rev counter features extensive additional performance-focused information, as well as incorporating a bootleg ‘shift light’ with a shift-up prompt when in manual mode. The V-shaped centre console is carried over from lesser GT models, as well as the AMG Performance steering wheel.
For a more track-focused interior, the optional AMG Track Package is available with carbon fibre bucket seats, 4-point race harnesses and a 2kg fire extinguisher. The titanium-tube, chassis-bolted roll cage further increases the rigidity of the already rigid structure, as well as cater to the overall safety of the GT Black Series.
Mercedes does not bestow the Black Series badge on just any regular high-performance Mercedes, with only five models previously deemed worthy. All Black Series Mercedes have been special vehicles, never failing to be unique and memorable. After a seven-year hiatus following the end limited production of the SLS AMG Black Series, the iconic badge makes a return in this very special Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.
Though the true extent of this black beast’s performance is yet to be seen, you can be sure to see the GT Black Series make an attempt to knock Porsche off its lofty perch on the Nürburgring.