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How the Black Series became a badge to be feared

By Cameron Kirby, 14 Jul 2020 Features

The Black catalogue: AMG’s wildest and toughest creations

When is an AMG more than an AMG? When it has a Black badge slapped on the rear. Hold on tight…

From relatively humble beginnings, the brains trust at Affalterbach quickly escalated things to establish Black Series as the ultimate from AMG.

Here are the five cars that have made it one of the most fearsome badges in the automotive world.



Genesis. For the Black Series family, the first model is the tamest.

Read next: AMG’s GT family explained

Based on the compact SLK roadster, AMG worked hard to improve the car through limited, but considered, changes.

The naturally aspirated M113 5.4-litre V8 was beefed up to 294kW/520Nm, and 45kg of weight culled. The extra power came largely thanks to long tube headers and a revised ECU tune.

Stylistically, the SLK 55 AMG Black can be identified through a restyled front apron with larger air intakes, and restyled side intakes.

AMG engineers fitted additional transmission cooling, along with a steering gear oil cooler, and aluminium front strut brace.

Wider carbonfibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) front fenders give the SLK a tougher stance, while a non-retractable roof made from the same material was fitted.

Knowing what the Black badge has become in the decade that followed, the SLK 55 was a toe in the water for AMG.



Arriving just a year later than the SLK 55 AMG Black, the CLK 63 AMG Black is the first seriously focused model in the range.

Read next: This is the full Mercedes-AMG range

Only 500 examples were made, all powered by a tweaked version of the M156 6.2-litre V8 making 373kW/630Nm.

Power was transferred through a seven-speed automatic transmission, with Pirelli P-Zero Corsa rubber given the unenviable job of keeping things pointed in a straight line.

The suspension was manually adjustable if you wanted to get your nerd on, while AMG engineers also added a limited-slip diff, larger intakes, and wider carbonfibre fenders.

Completing the hardcore package was a rear seat delete, and increased top speed of 299km/h.

The Black Series was well and truly here, and the rest of the automotive world took a little while to come to terms.


2008 SL 65 AMG BLACK

Following up the CLK 63 AMG Black was a difficult task, but AMG did a damn fine job with the unhinged SL 65 AMG Black.

Read next: AMG has just changed the turbo game

To date, this is the only Black Series car not powered by a V8. It is also the only turbocharged Black-badged car… for now.

With a 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 M275 engine, claimed power outputs were a staggering 494kW/1000Nm and weight was cut by a whopping 250kg from the SL 65 AMG for the Black version.

Weight loss was attributed to excessive use of CFRP, and deleting the car’s foldable hardtop roof.

Bluff guards defined the SL 65 AMG Black’s brutal aesthetic, with a 97mm wider front track, and 85 mm wider rear track.

Boosting power were 12 percent larger turbos, with the top speed limited to 322km/h (bang on 200mph in old money making it the fastest Black Series yet). The claimed 0-100km/h time was an impressive 3.8 seconds.


2011 C 63 AMG BLACK

From the lofty 12-cylinder heights of the SL65 AMG Black came a (relative) return to the Black Series’ origins.

Based on the C-Class coupe, only 650 C 63 AMG Black were planned for production. However, it became a runaway success, and eventually 800 were released into the wild by the geniuses at Affalterbach.

Only available in two-door form, the C 63 AMG Black’s M156 V8 was tuned to produce 380kW/620Nm

AMG claimed the coupe could crack 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 300km/h.

Some of the changes of the standard C 63 AMG included a locking rear differential, three-stage ESP, and the distinct lack of rear seats.

An AMG Track Package was available, bringing stickier Dunlop rubber, and active rear-axle transmission cooling.



The SLS is former AMG boss Tobias Moer’s crowning glory, so it was only natural that the Black Series version of the gullwinged supercar would be appropriately unhinged.

Being the most in-depth Black to date, the AMG engineers’ pursuit of performance was absolute, even lowering the gearbox 10mm for a better centre of gravity.

Power from the 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine was cranked to 464kW and 635Nm, while the redline was increased to 8000rpm.

This is largely thanks to a completely revised high-speed valvetrain, that included modified camshafts, and new bucket tappets that had a special coating AMG traditionally reserved for its race cars.

The SLS AMG Black was 70kg lighter than the standard SLS, with weight reduction aided by a new titanium exhaust system that cut 13kg compared to the original steel unit. A lithium-ion batter cut a further 8kg of heft.

The suspension came in for a closer look, with AMG engineers making the system 42 percent stiffer for the Black, while widening the front track 20mm and rear track by 24mm.

AMG claims the SLS Black was capable of reaching a limited top speed of 315km/h.



Technical details have not yet been revealed for the AMG GT Black, but its existence has finally been confirmed.

Check back to Wheels early tomorrow morning to find out more.

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