Orange Is The New Black
MOTOR Magazine Australia|December 2020
The outlandish and extreme AMG GT black series is affalterbach’s beating heart of darkness. Should Porsche be worried?
Ben Miller
BLACK SERIES IS to AMG what AMG is to Mercedes. They’re the fastest, most extreme cars to carry the threepointed star, and only five machines have carried the Black Series name since the first one, the unlikely SLK Black Series exploded out of the Afalterbach factory in 2006. But even by AMG’s standards, the GT Black Series is borderline certifiable.

If it looks more like the full-blown GT3 racing version of the Mercedes-AMG GT, that’s the point. That’s how it feels, too. Not even the fabulous SLS Black of 2014 blurred the boundaries between road and track car like this one does. Or pushed the boundaries of price: at $796,900 the Black Series costs a massive $479,465 more than the regular GT S and $428,565 more than the already serious GT R.

But unlike some car makers who’ll scrape away a few kilos, add a little aero and 50 per cent to the price, the Black does at least deliver something significantly different from a regular AMG GT.

And that starts with the way it looks. The high-rise twolevel rear spoiler, saw-tooth front wing vents, aggressive bonnet scoops and huge grille opening will swivel heads in a way even the GT R never could. The bumpers, bonnet, front wings, roof and rear hatch are all made from carbon fibre, contributing to a 35kg reduction in kerb weight. Also chipping in are lightweight glass and a thin-wall stainless steel exhaust, while carbon-backed bucket seats and a Track Pack that adds four-point harnesses, a roll cage and fire extinguisher is optional.

Even the transmission mounts have been put on a diet, though the handful of grams they save is far less impressive than the sight of them on a display stand in the pit garage at the launch event. Made from single stretch of woven carbon fibre thread wrapped around a metal structure, they look like something you expect to see in the Tate Modern, not an ordinary pit garage.

The aero devices are fully functional of course, working either to deliver more cold air to the repositioned radiator, extract hot air from the under-bonnet area, draw highpressure air from the wheelhousings, or simply crush the GT into the ground.

That colossal rear wing is actually two wings, and both the upper and lower sections can be manually fixed in one of three positions. The top one features an active centre section that tilts an extra 20 degrees into the airflow according to the driving situation and the selected driving mode. At the other end of the car, the ankle-eating front splitter can be extended by 80mm for track use by unclipping some latches and physically pulling it out.

Together with a rear diffuser and underfloor vortex generator those tricks deliver a massive 400kg of downforce at 250km/h, though AMG claims they actually deliver a meaningful increase in stability on 140km/h German road sorties, too.

But they really come into their own on terrifyingly quick tracks like the Nürburgring Nordschleife, where, if rumour is to be believed, this car has just set a time of 6min 43sec, breaking the 6m 45sec production car record previously set by the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ.

The Eurospeedway Lausitz across the other side of Germany, where we’ve come to drive the Black Series, is substantially less terrifying than the ’Ring, but has its own dark history. This is the track where former F1 star and now Paralympian, Alex Zanardi, lost his legs in a nasty 2001 smash, and where another ex-F1 star, Michele Alboreto lost his life in an even worse one the same year.

We’re using a mix of the Speedway’s fast banked curves that should showcase that extra downforce, and a section of the twistier infield track that is better suited to some of the other technical upgrades. But before we get to that, we have to thumb the starter button and experience one of the most important, but completely unseen, AMG GT Black Series modifications.

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