Entrance-engine and rear-wheel drive in a two-door physique shell is the tried and examined recipe for a sports activities coupe. Regardless of the motoring panorama having modified significantly in current instances, fairly a couple of automakers nonetheless supply these automobiles; the Ford Mustang, Lexus RC F, Nissan 400Z and BMW M4 all fulfil the factors in their very own approach.
Then there’s the Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black Collection, which when launched took the sports activities coupe to a brand new degree.
Whereas not the primary of the Black Collection – that accolade goes to the SLK 55 AMG – the CLK 63 AMG Black Collection was the primary to characteristic the 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8, which was bespoke to the AMG lineup and launched within the common CLK 63 AMG. The ’63’ badge is a little bit of a misnomer given the 6,208cc engine capability, however German automobile tax is predicated on capability in 100cc levels, which means the mannequin sits within the 6,300cc bracket.
Bernd Ramler, the AMG engineer that oversaw Mercedes’ race engine program within the Nineteen Nineties returned after a tenure at Porsche (throughout which he designed the V10 within the Carrera GT) to design the thunderous V8 engine which has since been utilized in quite a few different AMG merchandise.
Identified internally because the M156 variant, the engine was not as frenetic as others in Bernd’s resume, but it surely nonetheless made 507 horsepower and 567lb-ft of torque with a 7,200rpm redline.
Whereas aimed squarely on the Porsche 911 GT3 of the time as a track-biased excessive efficiency variant, Mercedes went concerning the CLK 63 AMG Black Collection in their very own approach. The inside was typical of the vary, and regardless of concessions to weight having been made, the Black Version truly weighs greater than the common CLK 63. Mounted bucket seats change the heavy electrical entrance seats, whereas the rear seat has been eliminated completely.
Externally, the automobile wears solid 19-inch wheels in any respect corners, with the pumped-up arches measuring a pretty substantial 75mm wider on the entrance and 66mm on the rear. Ample stopping energy is supplied by AMG-branded 6-pot callipers entrance and 4-pots on the rear.
The different exterior adjustments are barely extra refined, with carbon fibre vents and a deeper lip on the entrance bumper. Fender vents assist take away pressurised air from the entrance arches, and deep aspect skirts observe the coupe’s widened traces. Out again, a refined carbon fibre lip sits atop the boot lid, and a carbon fibre diffuser frames the 4 exhaust suggestions. What you possibly can’t see is the differential cooler, hidden behind the slotted rear grill.
AMG additionally ensured suspension settings had been infinitely configurable; the management arms, trip top, and damper compression and rebound are all adjustable.
In-built a time earlier than numerous digital settings dominated each facet excessive efficiency automobiles, it’s simply the gearbox that has a number of modes (Consolation, Sport or Guide) to dictate both the pace or the management over shifts. In any other case it’s merely on or off for the ESP. There’s no side-slip management, lively exhaust or variable aero which appear commonplace these days.
Whereas the CLK 63 AMG Black Collection could not have lived as much as the requirements of the 911 GT3, it was nonetheless met with constructive opinions.
This being one of many 25 automobiles allotted to the UK – of simply 700 produced in complete – makes it much more uncommon than the GT3, too. Whereas I’d think about a lot of the remaining UK-delivered automobiles are sat in heated garages as a part of bigger automobile collections, to me the one factor higher than proudly owning a uncommon automobile is utilizing it as a lot as attainable. So to see this one out at Pistonheads’ December Sunday Service at Thruxton Circuit coated in highway grime positively put a smile on my face.