Before we bombard you with the numbers – and there are many large ones – take another look at the image above. Wild looking, isn’t it? Every AMG GT is low, wide and intimidating but this one? This is unhinged.
And there’s more to it than just a big wing and some extra vents and ducts. Notice that strip of black carbon beneath the number plate? The one practically kissing the tarmac? That’s a new manually adjustable front splitter. And see that lowered section in the centre of the roof? And the way the swollen sideskirts form one gigantic strip of carbonfibre that runs down the entire length of the car?
More than the headline stats, it’s these details that speak to the depth of engineering at play here.
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But yes, the numbers...
This is the first Black Series model in eight years (the last was 2012’s SLS Black) and it produces 537kW at 6700-6900rpm and 800Nm between 2000-6000rpm. AMG diehards will know those figures represent an eye-opening 107kW/100Nm increase over the previous GT R flagship, and perhaps more importantly, that they’re also 15kW/50Nm more than you get from a Porsche 911 GT2 RS. That’s right, this car is going toe-to-toe with The Widowmaker.
The source of this potent power increase is a heavily reworked version of AMG’s venerable 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, known internally as M178 BS. We’d been warned to “expect something different” with this engine by AMG’s former boss, Tobias Moers, and that AMG had “never done something like this with an engine before.” We now know what he was referring to.
Central to the changes is the move to a flat-plane crankshaft, which isn’t only lighter and more responsive, but allows the Black’s donk to rev harder. The redline figure is now 7200rpm (up from 7000rpm), while max power is now made 500rpm higher than the GT R. The compression ratio has been altered and there are also new twin-scroll turbos with ball bearings for greater response and reliability, and to allow for a substantial increase in boost.
Where a regular GT runs 1.2bar and a GT R has 1.35, the Black Series winds up the boost the 1.7bar. New camshafts and exhaust manifolds round out the most significant engine alterations. The issue, we imagine, will be transferring all of this performance to the road.
Helping the cause is wider and more aggressive rubber at both ends. Tyres are ultra-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R and measure 285/35 R19 up front and a massive 335/30 R20 at the rear. Still, we wouldn’t race a GT2 RS at the lights. Where the Porsche hits 0-100km/h in 2.8sec, the AMG’s claimed sprint is 3.2sec.
AMG’s pursuit of lightness has verged on excessive and is seemingly matched only by a desire to use as much carbonfibre as possible. Honestly, it’s everywhere. Every hanging panel except the doors is made from carbon: the bonnet, the front splitter, the quarter panels, the roof, the tailgate, the rear wing (both the blades and the specially shaped supports), and the chunky new rear diffuser are all made of carbon.
Thinner glass is used in the rear window to save valuable grams, the interior door pulls are now made from strips of fabric, and the all-new, dual-flow exhaust system is fashioned from ultra-thin stainless steel rather than titanium like you get in the GT R. The Black also ditches the GT R’s four-wheel-steering system, which aids in saving weight. All up, the Black is 35kg lighter than the GT R at 1540kg. Need some context? That gives it a power-to-weight figure of 348kW per tonne, which is pretty much identical to a GT2 RS.
Aero is central to the Black’s performance. The enormous rear wing is the most obvious nod to amping up downforce and both horizontal blades are manually adjustable to alter the downforce/drag equation.
There’s active aero trickery afoot, too. The central section of the top wing is able to be raised or lowered by 15 degrees electronically by pressing a button inside the cabin. Combine this with the extendable front splitter (manually adjustable through two settings: Street and Race) and a largely flat underbody that uses longitudinal fins to reduce negative pressure and channel air to the beefier rear diffuser, and drivers should benefit from a considerable spike in grip through faster corners.
Much of the suspension is nicked from the track-focused AMG GT R Pro, including its adjustable carbonfibre front anti-roll bar, though spring rates are stiffer and the two-way adjustable dampers use a unique calibration. Should you feel confident with the spanners, the front and rear camber is also able to be manually adjusted.
Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard and while they’re the same size as the optional set-up on the GT R, AMG says the front pads and discs are new. The calipers are also painted black, not yellow or red like other GTs.
The result of all this is a package that should be an absolute event to drive. We’ve never stepped out of an AMG GT R and thought “Hm, I wish it had more grunt”, so we can only imagine what this will be like to drive hard. Intense, is our guess.
Which brings us to the elephant in the room: the Nurburgring lap time. Right now there isn’t one, though it’s almost guaranteed AMG will be gunning to reclaim its crown from the GT2 RS. 6:47.3s is the marker.
We’ll have to wait a while for our first taste. Australia is an important AMG market and should score a solid allocation of the limited production run from the factory, though customer cars won’t arrive until early 2021. And the price? Brace yourselves. There’s no official figure yet, though we’d wager it’ll be higher than the $639,000 asking price of its predecessor, the SLS Black.
FIVE STEPS TO GIVING A REGULAR GT A BLACK HEART
- Twin-blade rear wing has an adjustable centre section which can be altered by 15 degrees.
- Cup 2 R rubber is wider and “adapted for dry conditions”. Will be a handful in the wet.
- Find the silver paint a little dour? A new ‘Magmabeam’ orange is optional. Dr Evil approves.
- Adjustable front splitter needs to be manually wound back in for road use. Don’t forget! Crunch...
- Heavily reworked V8 now has flat-plane crank and new firing order (1-8-2-7-4-5-3-6).