The upcoming GT R Black Series has some big shoes to fill.
There once was a time when an AMG-badged Mercedes-Benz was a rare, mystical thing. It represented the absolute apex of Mercedes performance, and while AMGs still do, it's become normal to see an AMG within a few minutes of hitting the road. Enter the Mercedes-AMG Black Series family - here, exclusivity is still very much in evidence. It's why we're so excited to meet the track-focused GT R Black Series, which was leaked a few days ago and will debut on July 15.
As part of building momentum for this special car, which will produce 720 horsepower according to our sources, Mercedes took a trip down memory lane to look back at the Black Series cars that came before, starting with the SLK 55 AMG Black Series, which landed in 2006. This potent roadster wasn't available in the US and just 120 units were produced.
The SLK 55 Black Series sported a 5.5-liter V8 making 400 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, and was almost 100 pounds lighter than the regular SLK 55. It remains the rarest of the five Black Series models to have been released.
Following this was the demented CLK 63 AMG Black Series in 2008, of which 700 units were produced globally. We called it one of the best AMGs made under Tobias Moers' leadership. Its DTM-inspired widened body is instantly recognizable and, like many other AMGs of the time, it would bite your head off if you weren't careful.
Just a year later, the SL 65 AMG Black Series arrived with a 661-hp 6.0-liter V12 twin-turbo engine. Far from the serene cruiser that the normal SL was, this one was constructed with carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic panels and the retractable hardtop was fixed in place.
In 2013, while the C63 AMG sedan was giving the BMW M3 its toughest competition yet, the C63 AMG Black Series was unveiled as the most powerful C-Class ever. The 6.3-liter V8 made 510 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque. It also had a wider body and a coilover suspension. 800 examples were made.
Finally, there was the SLS AMG Black Series of 2014, which demonstrates just how long it's been since a new Black Series was unveiled. Its outputs were 622 hp/468 lb-ft from the 6.3-liter V8 engine. It was a monster, both visually and to drive, and it's this car that the upcoming GT R Black Series will need to surpass to become the greatest AMG Black Series yet.