Dan Trent: A taste of the dark side with the CLK63 AMG Black Series

13th June 2016
1960s-revival-fashion-guide-main-07032022.jpg Dan Trent

The Americans may well have invented the muscle car. But the Germans arguably perfected it. Or, specifically, AMG did back in 2007 with the CLK63 Black Series.


There's a whole lot of geekery in the back-story for this car that adds to the mystique, be that the roots as a rolling test mule for AMG's magnificent M156 6.2-litre V8 engine or spell as the F1 safety car. The fact, although still heavy, it weighs 150kg less than a standard CLK63, has more power and race style fully adjustable suspension to let you set it up as you'd wish. More on this in a moment…

But you don't need to know any of that to go a little weak at the knees when you see it. This is just one of those cars that absolutely nails the look, the extra metal in the wheelarches, the gorgeous forged wheels filling them and the stance telling you all you need to know about its intent. It's both subtle and yet totally unapologetic and much, much cooler than the be-winged C63 Black Series that followed it. And then there's the noise.

Everything about this car suggests a sense of mischief among the AMG engineers seeing just how much they could get away with in a car to be sold in Mercedes dealerships alongside SLs, S-Classes and A-Classes. And the noise is typical of this. It is, for want of a better word, outrageous. I once drove a Black Series up a suburban street late at night and had a Mexican wave of curtains being drawn back in my wake. I'm guessing not everyone was quite as enthused by the V8 racket as I was. But it's got to be up there with the very best of the breed.


It's driving style is equally extrovert. I'm not sure what chassis settings the Mercedes UK press car was on but I reckon the AMG engineers were probably sniggering as they set it up. I have never in my life driven a car as keen to go sideways as the Black Series. This is no motoring hack hyperbole either; every roundabout was a study in languidly delivered oversteer as subtle or lurid as your sense of denial permitted. This with all the electronic aids supposedly in place.

Of the 700 built it's reckoned around 30 were sold here in the UK, stuff like the £97K asking price, lack of rear seats and the intimidatingly uncompromising driving style weeding out the posers from those who really, really got the car. I last wrote about the Black Series three years ago and prices were in the 70s then; they're still at that kind of level now suggesting it's still somewhat underappreciated, especially given the hype around the comparable M3 CSL that can fetch similar money these days. A prominent figure in motoring hackdom has just bought a Black himself in fact; I called him some very rude words to his face when I found out, such was my burning jealousy. Were I to find the necessary £70K knocking about I'd be following his example. This one would do nicely, thanks. Well, it had to be a black one didn't it!

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