Front-engine and rear-wheel drive in a two-door body shell is the tried-and-true recipe for a sports coupe. Despite a lot of recent changes in the auto industry, there are still quite a few automakers offering these cars; the Ford Mustang, Lexus RC F, Nissan 400Z, and BMW M4 all meet the standard in their own way.

Then there was the Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black Series, whose launch took the sports coupe to the next level.

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While not the first in the Black Series – that honor goes to the SLK 55 AMG – the CLK 63 AMG Black Series is the first to be fitted with the 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine, which is bespoke for the AMG range, And introduced 63 AMG in regular CLK. The ’63’ badge is a bit of a misnomer given the 6,208cc engine capacity, but German car taxes are based on capacities in the 100cc stage, meaning the model sits in the 6,300cc range.

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Bernd Ramler was an engineer at AMG who oversaw Mercedes’ racing engine program in the 1990s, and during his tenure at Porsche (where he designed the V10 in the Carrera GT), he designed the thundering V8, the The engine was later used in many other AMG products.

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Known internally as the M156 variant, the engine isn’t quite as fanatical as others on Bernd’s resume, but it still packs in 507 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque with a 7,200-rpm redline.

Mercedes, while directly targeting the then-Porsche 911 GT3 as a track-biased high-performance model, went their own way with the CLK 63 AMG Black Series. The interior is typical for the range, with the Black Edition actually being heavier than the regular CLK 63, despite the weight concessions. Fixed bucket seats replace the bulky power front seats, while the rear seats have been removed entirely.

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From the outside, the car is fitted with forged 19-inch wheels at all corners, which are 75mm wider at the front and 66mm wider at the rear. AMG-branded front 6-pot calipers and rear 4-pot calipers provide ample stopping power.

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Other exterior changes are slightly more subtle, with carbon fiber vents and deeper edges on the front bumper. Fender vents help vent pressurized air from the front arches, while deep side skirts carry over from the coupe’s widened lines. At the back, a refined carbon fiber lip sits atop the decklid, and a carbon fiber diffuser surrounds the four tailpipes. What you can’t see is the differential cooler hidden behind the slotted rear grille.

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AMG has also ensured that the suspension settings are infinitely configurable; control arms, ride height, shock compression and rebound are all adjustable.

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Building on a time before countless electronic settings ruled every aspect of a performance car, it was just a transmission with multiple modes (Comfort, Sport or Manual) to dictate speed or control shifting. Otherwise it’s just on or off for ESP. There’s no side-slip control, active exhaust, or variable aerodynamics that seem like commonplace these days.

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While the CLK 63 AMG Black Series may not have lived up to the 911 GT3’s standards, it still garnered positive reviews.

It’s one of 25 cars allocated to the UK – only 700 were built in total – which also makes it even rarer than the GT3. While I think most of the remaining UK delivery cars sit in heated garages as part of larger car collections, for me the only thing better than owning a rare car is using it as often as possible.So see this on Thruxton Circuit’s Pistonheads December Sunday service cover Dirt on the road definitely puts a smile on my face.

Chardon Ford
Instagram: Chai Ke

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