Get pushy with the loud pedal and the engine starts to wake up. There’s enough power down low to blister the asphalt and send the traction control into working overtime. The power builds exponentially, without dropping off as the tach needle flicks towards redline. Behind you, the unfiltered exhaust system lets out a feral howl with every run up the gears.
Ferocious power like this can oftentimes overwhelm a chassis but, in this case, AMG’s chassis engineers have made sure that almost any amount of extra thrust is kept in check. You can sense there are terabytes of setup data that AMG has gathered from its racing programs and applied it to the CLK63 Black Series. The result is the best-handling Merc I’ve ever had the pleasure to toss around.
For starters, it doesn’t feel like you’re carving canyons in a 4,000-pound car. It feels lighter than an M3 and more like 3,400. The steering is intuitively direct and informative, and thanks to a different front apron with relocated mounting points that give the front suspension more negative camber, the turn-in is sharp. While most Mercs feel nose heavy and enter corners with tire-scrubbing understeer, the CLK Black and its Pirelli P Zero Corsas cut a surgically precise line to the apex without fuss. From there it’s just a matter of measuring the amount of straightaway and how much devastation you’d like to wreak with the accelerator. Feed in too much throttle too soon in the corner and the rear tires will be overwhelmed, producing delicious power-on oversteer that’s easily controlled with the throttle.
Suspended with adjustable KW coilovers, the car rides firmly but acceptably for an enthusiast. According to Weistec, the suspension settings for height, rebound and compression remain as they came from AMG. The car stays unbelievably flat through corners and hardly dives or squats under hard braking and acceleration. That makes stringing along a series of turns, be they tight hairpins or fast sweepers, an exercise in fluidity, grace and easy speed.
The only other major changes Rahal made to the car are a set of 19-inch Volk G2 wheels encircled with the stock Pirellis. The Volk wheels are a pound or two lighter than the standard Alcoa-made forged wheels, improving unsprung weight.
Extra power and a slight decrease in unsprung weight are probably the only changes the Black Series needed. Although I hadn’t driven one before, it’s easy to assume that there was more chassis than engine, especially considering how well the stock setup copes with the extra power. Looks like Weistec found the right niche in the AMG 6.2-liter engine, and the cars that use it. The customers aren’t complaining. “It was a fun car before, but nothing like it is now. The only problem is I can’t keep my foot out of it!” Rahal says.
You can sense there are terabytes of data that AMG has gathered from its racing programs and applied that to the CLK63 Black Series.
Weistec CLK63 AMG Black Series
Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
6.2-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve. Weistec twin-screw supercharger system, Evosport long-tube headers and 3-inch X-pipe exhaust, BMC air filters
Six-piston calipers with 14.2-inch vented rotors (f), four-piston calipers with 13-inch vented rotors (r)
Wheels and Tires
Volk G2, 9x19 (f), 10.5x19 (r)
Pirelli P Zero Corsa 265/30 (f), 285/30 (r)
Peak Power: 549 hp @ 6000 rpm
Peak Torque: 543 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm