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RE: Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series: PH Heroes

RE: Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series: PH Heroes

Saturday 20th January

Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series: PH Heroes

AMG's regular W204 was memorable; its Black Series version was unforgettable



First, some history. The Black Series has plainly not always been. Herr Aufrecht and Melcher, former Mercedes engineers both, inaugurated AMG in 1967, and it wasn't until three decades later that the mothership finally absorbed the celebrated tuner into what was then Daimler Chrysler. The firm's watershed year, though, had occurred 13 years earlier with the introduction of the AMG Hammer.

If there is an Affalterbach origin story to tell, and an ethos to elucidate, it begins and ends with the Hammer. For a start, no car was ever more adroitly named. AMG had been tuning and modifying Mercedes products for all the years preceding 1986, but had produced nothing in the same league as its bruising W124. The formula, of course, like the name, was elemental. Squeezed into the engine bay was Daimler's own 5.6-litre V8, except with the stock cylinder head contemptuously jettisoned in favour of a custom-made twin camshaft, four-valve-per-cylinder alternative that helped deliver 355hp and 388lb ft of torque - more, if you had AMG round capacity out to 6.0-litres.


Naturally it was the V8's newfound ferocity - particularly its supercar-pummelling mid range - that earned the car its name. (When Car and Driver performance tested an early prototype Stateside, it managed 30-50mph and 50-70mph in 2.8 and 3.1 seconds respectively - the quickest times it had ever recorded.) But the legend too solidified like quick drying cement around the car on the basis of sheer presence. No wonder: on shorter springs and huge wheels, the Hammer had the intimidatory charisma of a yakuza syndicate. Rather fittingly, its price tag too bordered on extortion: £50k for the 5.6-litre model - back when an E28 M5 would have cost you around £30k.

I mention this because there's more than a little Hammer about the Black Series. True enough, the spirit of '86 lives on in virtually everything AMG has done since - but with the wilfully extreme Black variants (there have been just five models since 2006: the SLK55, CLK63, SL65, C63 and SLS) it tends to feel like Affalterbach has steadied itself for the most almighty swing. Nowhere is this more true than with the W204 C63 AMG, launched in 2011. Where its predecessors wavered between hit and miss, the low volume coupe went sailing over the boundary; in no small part because it was the first (and second to last) Black to possess the stupendous M156 engine.


Like a numbered Led Zeppelin album or sight of a Handley Page Victor, AMG's comparatively short-lived V8 lives long in the memory. Mercedes hadn't let its subsidiary design an engine from scratch before so when the chance came, Affalterbach went straight for the jugular. Ostensibly meant for racing, the unit displaces 6.2-litres (although it was popularised as 6.3 in a marketing homage to the '63 M100 motor) and is naturally-aspirated. For the Black, AMG included the lighter pistons, con-rods and crankshaft from the SLS, helping the C63's V8 onto 517hp and 457lb ft of torque - the most Mercedes had ever installed in a C-Class.

Nevertheless, that hardly describes the net effect, which - less than a decade later - is pinch-me good. Modern enough to be voracious without feeling profligate or inefficient, the M156 gurgles, burrs and bellows (in that order) to 7,200rpm with such unhindered fury that it's all you can do not to pull over and embrace the bonnet. Officially, 62mph appears in 4.2 seconds, but really it's the throttle response and the hulking progressiveness of the delivery which has you marvelling at each and every input. No fuel-preserving pause, no bagginess, no blower swell or stricture - just euphoric, tank-emptying headway made the atmospheric way.


So free-revving is the Black-grade M156 (those lighter internals are to thank for a further reduction of inertia) and so precise is its relationship with the loud pedal, that the comparative lateness of its peak torque barely registers. Mated to a seven-speed automatic, the coupe still feels endlessly flexible - and it would be enthralling to drive if it handled like a barge. But doesn't, of course. Not even a little bit. Despite tipping the scales at 1,710kg (or 1,800kg according to Autocar, which makes it 1,900kg with yours truly aboard) the car exudes a wonderful, stiff-backed composure, underpinned by the vastly wider track front and back, and adjustable coil-over suspension at the corners.

Sure, its heft ultimately stifles the kind of delicacy that made the 997 911 GT3 justly famous - and the bullish secondary ride seems all the more unsparing in 2018 - but it has edge and guts and grip in spades; and because the V8's collaboration is so palpably on tap and the limited-slip differential standard, it is precisely as adjustable as you want it to be. Better still, while AMG aimed the Black specifically at track use, its enhancements don't tend to hinder it on the road; save for the huge noise and occasionally abrupt wheel control, the coupe is comparatively well mannered - and it's no less thrilling to steer when the chassis loading is at a more modest level.


Really though, much of the pleasure of being in it is jumbled up in its improbable, prison-shiv presence. Its design package has aerodynamic implications, of course, but it's hard to think of them when confronted with the thing in the cold light of day. Where contemporary AMG products had entered Mercedes styling slipstream, the Black Series coupe stood brutally, knowingly apart. And its abrasiveness - its Hammer-ness - was not mere posturing: it perfectly encapsulated the way that Affalterbach had decided to make the car sound, go, corner and stop. It is that uncompromising attitude that still floods the stripped-out cabin like intoxicant, carrying you right along with its implacable sense of drama and rather nailing on the idea that the formidably expensive M156-powered C63 - like its distant 80s forbear - was AMG running at its high-octane best.


SPECIFICATION - MERCEDES C63 AMG BLACK SERIES

Engine: 6,208cc, V8
Transmission: 7-speed AMG MCT automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 517@6,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 457@5,200rpm
0-62mph: 4.2secs
Top speed: 186mph
Weight: 1,710kg
MPG: 23.2 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 286g/km
On sale: 2012 - 2013
Price new: £138,514.61
Price now: £85,000 - £105,000

Inspired? Buy a Mercedes C63 AMG here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

Craigwww

Original Poster:

821 posts

95 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
..off to the classifieds.

DJT14

20 posts

9 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
Strange these haven't gone the same way with price as everything else that was produced in limited numbers in the last few years, what a car though, would have one in a heart beat

janesmith1950

1,448 posts

21 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
Some constructive criticism. This article is horribly written. It's like the Babara Cartland parody they used to do on The Fast Show. Yuk.

samoht

647 posts

72 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all

A really good read, I enjoyed that, thanks! And fantastically moody photographs :-)

They are very cool, but I can't help feeling that for that sort of money I'd personally head for something designed as a sports car, rather than heavily modified from what was originally a small executive saloon. Hearing an M156 on the road always puts a smile on my face, though !

Riverside Red

482 posts

61 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
The M156 is an itch that I want to scratch, if only an SL63 would fit in the garage....

For me the Black Series to own would be an original SLK55 Black, madness evidently

RR
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aarondbs

620 posts

72 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
I thought the article was well written about a fantastic AMG product. Sometimes more is just more. Prose doesn't need to be boring and matter of fact nor do Mercedes so it seems..

sparta6

627 posts

26 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
Very good. But in the lead photo this car makes its driver look like a midget

Waploadtabernacle111

2 posts

23 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
Riverside Red said:
The M156 is an itch that I want to scratch, if only an SL63 would fit in the garage....

For me the Black Series to own would be an original SLK55 Black, madness evidently

RR
My SL63 is out-side all year round and has been for 5 years plus. It gets used most days when boot space allows. Why would you buy one to store it?

Guffy

2,117 posts

191 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
I enjoyed the article as well, obviously you can't please everyone.

One of my favourite AMG models, the angry looks and god of thunder noise make up for any shortfalls in my book.

mnx42

187 posts

89 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
That, to me at least, looks epic! Would have one in an instant.

tomw2000

2,203 posts

121 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
janesmith1950 said:
Some constructive criticism. This article is horribly written. It's like the Babara Cartland parody they used to do on The Fast Show. Yuk.
FYI - that’s just criticism.

HTH.

G13NVL

85 posts

10 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
It’s impossible not to fall in love with that engine! Having a standard c63 and it’s far from the perfect ‘drivers’ car, you constantly have a childish grin on your face from the moment you turn the key and that’s why I love it! A black series would be first on my lottery winning list.

FerdiZ28

623 posts

60 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
janesmith1950 said:
Some constructive criticism. This article is horribly written. It's like the Babara Cartland parody they used to do on The Fast Show. Yuk.
Your irony Kung fu is strong.

giggity

549 posts

87 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
Love the W204 M156 C63. I cant wait to get a late coupe (non-BS). Just waiting for the prices to drop a little further.

In the meantime I’ll have to make do with my M113K 5.4 which is a beast anyhow.

I wonder how the two will compare when it comes to it!

There is a massive fan club for both the M156 and the M113K

Edited by giggity on Saturday 20th January 16:20

franki68

5,394 posts

147 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
The interior quality was just not a 100k car.

northwest monkey

6,020 posts

115 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
A neighbour had one of these for about a year - his wife hated it because of the noise (it was extremely loud). He sold it and bought a much more sensible SLK55 for the weekends and an RS6 for being practical. I'm not sure she's talking to himhehe

Consumer info - the C63 was by & large reliable, the SLK55 seems very reliable and the RS6 extremely unreliable. He used to have a 360 (Ferrari, not an Xbox) and says that was cheaper to run than the Audi.

CaptainEejit

2 posts

196 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
Best Nic Cackett article I’ve read. I actually got what he was talking about and felt the passion, hurrah!
Love the car to start with mind, I need to own an AMG one day.

OddCat

1,013 posts

97 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
sparta6 said:
Very good. But in the lead photo this car makes its driver look like a midget
Perhaps he is ?

IanH755

798 posts

46 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
I'm not a fan of MB but that car and the CLK Black make my pee-pee tingle biggrin

Highway Star

3,235 posts

157 months

Saturday 20th January
quotequote all
CaptainEejit said:
Best Nic Cackett article I’ve read. I actually got what he was talking about and felt the passion, hurrah!
Love the car to start with mind, I need to own an AMG one day.
Top lurking!