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First look: Benz goes back to Black

Back in Black: Mercedes-Benz has revealed the 380kW C63 AMG Black Series coupe, set to arrive in Australia in the second quarter of 2012.

Mercedes C-class Coupe gets AMG’s Black Series treatment, complete with 380kW

25 Jul 2011

MERCEDES-BENZ has unwrapped its most powerful C-class, the 380kW C63 AMG Coupe Black Series, gazumping the ‘standard’ 336kW C63 AMG Coupe before it has even arrived in Australian showrooms.

The M3-smashing Black Series – capable of the 0-100km/h sprint in just 4.2 seconds – is set to appear in the flesh at the Frankfurt motor show in September before touching down in Australian showrooms in the second quarter of 2012.

Mercedes-Benz Australia is yet to determine price and number of vehicles to be allocated to local dealers, but that has not deterred would-be customers from forming a queue for the track-ready muscle machine, attracted by rumours out of Europe.

MBA corporate communications manager Jerry Stamoulis told GoAuto that, while production of the Black Series would be limited, Australia was likely to get a larger slice than many markets because of the popularity of AMG models in this market.

“Already dealers are taking inquiries on C63 Black because there have been a lot of spy shots and rumours and so on,” he said.

“We have some more information and images now, and when it gets announced in Frankfurt we will know a little bit more again.

“From there we will start working with the factory on some of the finer details and then come up with a number.

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“Regardless of what the demand is, we will be aiming for quite a high number because of the popularity of C63 in Australia.” Last year, Australian customers snapped up about 1000 AMG vehicles, about half of them C63s.

Mr Stamoulis said Black Series pricing was not yet known and would be partly dependent on production volumes in Germany.

“We don’t know the numbers globally,” he said. “If there are more, it could be a little bit more competitive, and if it is less, then the price might be a little higher.” The C63 AMG Black Series – the fourth to wear AMG’s ultimate performance tag since the SLK55 AMG Black Series was launched in 2006 – packs an extra 44kW of power over the standard C63 AMG Coupe, which is due to go on sale in Australia in September along with the AMG-enhanced C-class sedan and estate.

The Black Series even outshines the ‘Performance Package’ C63 AMG, which has 358kW of power.

The extra grunt for the Black Series’ normally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 slices three-tenths of a second from the standard model’s 4.5-second 0-100km/h sprint time, and two-tenths from the performance pack’s 4.4-second elapsed time. All of them show a clean pair of heels to the BMW M3 and Audi RS5, which both cover the sprint in 4.6 seconds.

Maximum torque of the Black Series jumps 20Nm to 620Nm, at the same 5000rpm as the standard car.

A new engine control unit was central to the performance increase of the M156 engine, which Benz says was specially refined for the new two-door model.

The car borrows heavily from the SLS AMG, getting the same crankshaft, forged pistons and lightweight connecting rods.

An engine oil cooler is said to have a 50 per cent larger surface area to help the car keep its cool on the track, where Benz expects many of the Black Series cars to end up on weekends.

Such drivers will enjoy the double-declutching ability of the four-mode AMG Speedshift seven-speed automatic transmission with its ‘race start’ facility.

All the extra performance has only a minor impact on fuel efficiency, with the Black Series recording a combined fuel rating of 12.2 litres per 100km, compared with the C63 AMG Coupe’s 12.0L/100km. CO2 emissions rise from 280 grams per kilometre to 286g/km.

Like the powertrain, the enhanced body of the Black Series means business, with bulging fenders to accommodate the wider track – 40mm wider at the front and 79mm at the rear.

Gaping front air scoops, bonnet vents and massive squared-off quad exhaust pipe tips reveal the performance intent, as do 19-inch forged alloy wheels – collectively weighing 11kg less than conventional alloys – shod with 255/35 R19 tyres on the front and 285/30 R19 rubber on the back.

The Black Series gets an SLS-style black rear air diffuser and a boot-lip spoiler, along with a discreet Black Series badge.

Motorsport-style coil-over sports suspension is standard, offering numerous settings for road and track.

Stiffer anti-roll bars and retuned speed-sensitive sports steering are claimed to ensure optimum steering precision.

As well, the ABS has been retuned for the bigger brakes – 390mm/36mm compound discs on the front and 360mm/26mm steel discs at the rear – gripped by red-painted six-piston fixed callipers at the front and four-piston fixed callipers at the rear.

This red theme is continued inside, where red highlights – such as seat belts and stitching – contrast against a black interior.

Race-style bucket seats are standard – the rear bench seat of the C-class coupe is removed – although owners can option another two single seats for the rear.

Instead of leather, the seats and door trim are faced with light synthetic microfibre fabric.

The squared-off AMG steering wheel – with flat top and bottom – is trimmed with a combination of the microfibre and Nappa leather.

If all that is not enough, Black Series customers can order even more hard-core packs, including the AMG Track Package and AMG Aerodynamics Package.

The track pack includes sticky 255/35 R19 front and 285/30 R19 rear sports tyres – developed by Dunlop for the Black Series – and an active rear-axle transmission cooling system with a radiator in the rear apron.

The AMG Aerodynamics Package adds carbon fibre front splitter and rear aerofoil, the latter with an adjustable blade.

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