by Gerhard Horn
The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series is only the sixth model to feature the "Black" designation. These models are a step above the full-fat AMG models, which seems like a crazy idea, right? Someone - probably Chuck Yeager - drove an AMG and thought, "You know what this needs? More power!" But the GT Black Series is not a GT dialed up all the way to 11. The Black goes beyond 11 and all the way up to 17. Possibly 20. It's equipped with the well-known 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, but AMG made enough changes to justify a completely different engine code, including changing the way the engine fires by equipping a flat-plane crankshaft. The result of these changes is 720 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, a 3.1-second 0-60 mph dash, and a Nurburgring lap time of 6:48.047 - putting it in the same league as the Porsche 911 GT2 RS and Lamborghini Huracan Performante. It has an equally ridiculous $325,000 base price, making this the AMG that costs true supercar money. But as with every Black Series model produced, it's worth every cent.
The new AMG GT Black Series is a highly re-tuned version of the already impressive Mercedes-AMG GT that is new for 2021 and effectively replaces the GT R in the automaker's US lineup. AMG only deploys the Black Series moniker when something extraordinary is required. Our first driving experience with the badge was the CLK 63 Black Series. That car was so fierce it came with a warning letter, and the GT Black Series is no less fierce. To abuse an old cliche, it's a racecar for the road. Not only does it have heavily revised suspension, but the engine is now a flat-plane version of the twin-turbo V8 to allow it to generate such mega performance.
The price of the AMG GT Black Series is an astronomical $325,000. Fortunately, options are limited, so even all-in with the most expensive paint and all available options tacked on, the MSRP is still under $345k, including the $1,050 destination charge.
See trim levels and configurations:
|AMG GT Black Series||
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
The standard AMG GT was already an impressive vehicle, if a bit tail happy in slippery conditions. However, AMG rectified that with the GT R adding a multi-stage stability control system that let you tailor the experience from locked down to full-on drift hero. The Black Series model has the same adjustable traction control, allowing you to choose the amount of assistance you want via an obnoxious little dial located in the middle of the center console.
The Black Series' party piece is the various aerodynamic additions, however. Merc claims they add around 1,764 lbs of downforce at the car's top speed and over 880 lbs at 155 mph. You don't need to push that hard to feel the front splitter and rear wing work. There's a noticeable difference at 80 mph as the front splitter pushes the front axle into the tarmac. That massive rear wing does the same job at the rear.
In addition to a sharper turn-in and more grip, the GT Black Series has three-stage adaptive damping (Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus) and manually adjustable front and rear camber and coil-over springs. It clings to the tarmac like a fat kid clutches a cupcake. You can get it to misbehave, but that's missing the point. One has to learn to trust the aero, and that takes time. Eventually, you'll be confident enough to lean on it through the bends.
Part of this car's charm is the sheer nerdiness of the adjustable suspension. It won't make you more appealing to the opposite sex, but there's something oddly intimate about setting up your car. You won't look cool, but you'll feel good adjusting the setup for Laguna Seca.
While the GT Black Series has a "comfort" setting, it never feels anything but firm. This particular setting should have been labeled "marginally less bone-rattling than Sport mode."
As for the brakes, big power and big speed means you need big stopping power, which is why AMG fitted ceramic composite brakes measuring 15.8 inches up front and 14.2 inches at the rear. Needless to say, the brakes don't fade, and the massive rear wing tips up on hard braking to act as an air brake.
We like the idea of the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series. Its grandfather, the CLK 63 Black Series, took no prisoners. That was an angry car with a wicked V8 and a rudimentary traction control system. It would snap sideways for a split second before it cut the power to the wheels. This made for some impressive skid marks, and not just on the tarmac.
The GT Black Series takes a different approach. The various driving modes, adjustable traction control, adjustable suspension, and aerodynamics make it a much friendlier car to drive, and yet it's no less intimidating. We think this car offers enjoyable long-term ownership. It's highly adjustable, which means you can set it up for safety and work up to the more hardcore settings over time.
If a few years ago you'd said that an AMG GT would cost the same as a Ferrari F8 Tributo, we'd likely have laughed and said no one would ever buy one. But the Black Series isn't an ordinary AMG GT. No, it's been thoroughly overhauled from the inside out, and the results speak for themselves. Not only is it a record-setting supercar, but it has supercar presence, too. The final AMG GT assault on the Porsche 911 throne has targeted the GT2 RS, and even if it hasn't outright dethroned the GT2 RS, it's dealt a blow that proves the two are on an even keel.
There's only one model and not much you can do with it apart from choosing the color and your choice of sound system. We had a look at all of the colors on the configurator, and there isn't a single one that sucks. All of them contrast nicely with the 19/20-inch AMG Black Series wheels. You can add a car cover for $370 or one of two Burmester surround-sound systems, but we wouldn't bother, although we would pay an extra $875 for blind-spot assist and lane keeping assist. This is an extremely focused car, and it makes no sense trying to make it more luxurious. If you want comfort and luxury on your way to the track, might we suggest investing in a Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 and a trailer?
The AMG GT Black Series is to the regular AMG GT what the McLaren LT is to the standard McLaren 720S. It has more power, more grip and downforce, and less weight. The Mac is also a more traditional supercar in the sense that it has a mid-engined layout, as opposed to the Merc's front-engine transaxle RWD layout. The Mac's specs are massively impressive: 755 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbo V8. It gets to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds and will cover a quarter-mile in less than ten. The Black Series's twin-turbo V8 produces 720 hp/590 lb-ft, which is good for a 3.1-second sprint to 60 mph.
Both are 2-seater coupes, but the McLaren is a little more hardcore inside, where whatever hasn't been removed is covered in Alcantara, and as standard, it doesn't have climate control or a sound system. McLaren will put them back in at no extra cost, however. There's some trick aero to help you blast through the corners and an advanced traction control system to keep you in a straight line that works a little better than the AMG's systems. Some will complain about the interference, but we prefer it in a car that can spin its tires in third gear on a dry track.
Both super sports cars are engineering masterpieces, and we think you can make a case for owning both. The new world is all about embracing the global, so you need a representative from both the UK and Germany in your all-inclusive garage. We'd have the Mac in orange and the GT Black Series in green.
There's a high probability that you already own a GT2 RS if you're interested in buying the GT Black Series. Both are the ultimate version of their respective manufacturer's sportiest model.
The GT2 RS is for the individual who thinks the GT3 is just a bit too tame. So, to fix this problem, Porsche bolted two turbochargers to the flat-six, giving it 700 hp at 7,000 rpm and 553 lb-ft from 2,500 rpm. And all of that power goes to the rear wheels only, with the engine positioned out behind them making for some scary dynamics if you decide to initiate a high-speed drift.
We were expecting the GT2 RS to be a bit of a widowmaker as previous iterations were known. Thankfully, Porsche also has perfected the art of a high-powered rear-engine machine, and the GT2 RS is stupidly fast but not intimidating. It gets to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, only slightly faster than the Merc's 3.1. But the only time that matters here is the time needed to get around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. The Porsche managed to nail a 6:47.3 around the 12.8-mile circuit, beating the Lamborghini Huracan Performante. Then the Black Series came along and rained all over Porsche's parade with a 6:43.61. Over the course of 2021, Porsche returned with a Manthey Racing Performance Kit-equipped GT2 RS - an option available from the showroom - to reclaim the record, setting a 6:38.84 lap over the same distance.
We adore the 911 GT2 RS, and we suspect you do too. There's a misconception that you have to choose between one or the other, but the super-wealthy can afford to have both. These two cars are very similar in many ways but also different enough to justify owning both. The GT2 RS is no longer in production, and if you don't already have one, be prepared to pay a hefty premium. Porsche only made limited numbers, and used examples are currently going for around $400,000. Not bad, considering Porsche only charged $292,200 when it was new.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series: