Compromise is an unavoidable fact of life. What looks fantastic on paper is often subjected to series of revisions that can all but emasculate a once-great idea.
I get the feeling the suits at Mercedes were all on vacation when the Black Series first rolled from the assembly line. Here was a car so unlike anything before it; it was difficult to imagine it came from Mercedes’ AMG division. The CLK63 Black Series has no comprehension of term compromise. You figure this out the moment the 6.2-liter V8 barks to life and your entire body begins to vibrate. The sensation borders on erotic. Should you ever see a Black Series just idling, take a look at the driver. Chances are he (or she) is all sweaty and flush.
The Evosport Mercedes CLK63 Back Series was a study in sensory overload. It has a purity that’s becoming all too scarce these days.
A limited production vehicle from Mercedes-Benz AMG division of which only 350 examples were imported into the U.S., its 6.2-liter V8 generates 500 hp. No rear seats are made available so as to maintain the lightweight characteristics of a true sports car. This is the Porsche GT3 of Mercedes-Benz and it is as lethal on the street as it is on the track.
The Evosport CLK is fast enough to open a wormhole, with brakes strong enough to pull the polio vaccine out of your body. And its cabin was first class, a fine mix of sporting luxury. That it lacks a rear set is a non-issue. This is a car you want to be alone with.
But what really intrigues the senses is how quickly this vehicle changes from a well-heeled coupe to hellhound. Its low-pitched exhaust burble instantaneously erupts into something so dynamic it causes rocks to tumble from the canyon walls. If the Greek gods had a deity for horsepower, this is what he’d sound like.
In stock trim, the CLK63 is no slouch. Packing 500 hp and 469 lb-ft of torque, it’s capable of eclipsing 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. Quarter mile times are in the high 11s with 121 mph trap speeds. Given North America’s propensity for the stoplight grand prix, you’d think Mercedes designed this car with North America in mind.
Evosport essentially amplified the goodness already there, replacing the lion’s share of the intake and exhaust plumbing with parts from its shop. Evosport’s long-tube stainless steel race headers (tri-Y configuration) and its 3-inch performance exhaust (with cross pipe) and an Evosport intake system ensure the engine is well ventilated. The headers are ceramic coated and the entire system offers significant weight savings over stock. Evosport also fitted its fully dampened underdrive crankshaft pulley. The lightweight design dramatically reduces rotating mass and uses continuously variable active damping technology for optimal smoothness throughout the rev range. Wrought from T-6061 aluminum, it functions with the OEM serpentine belt and a modified crankshaft bolt. All the internal engine bits were polished, ported and balanced to perfection with an upgraded Evosport oil cooler to keep temps in check.
Evosport’s ECU was used to optimize the new hardware’s performance. The program removes top-speed limiter and improves throttle response and ignition timing. The Evo ECU can also toggle between 91 and 93 octane fuel programs, which can be fun for the odd track session. The Evosport CLK63 spun the dyno wheel to an impressive 630 hp and 589 lb-ft of twist. And it’s power that is available right now—no waiting for turbos or superchargers to spool up, no NO2 bottles to fill.
While few would argue the aesthetic value of AMG’s factory wheels, it is difficult to imagine the car without its current running gear. The car now wears a set of stunning HRE CF43 wheels measuring 10x19 in front and 11x19 out back. These carbon composite rims are hand assembled and are one of the few wheels that successfully combine high strength with lightness. They’ve been shod with steamroller-like Pirelli Corsa DOT-R rubber measuring 285/30 and 305/30 front and rear, respectively (stock runs 235/40-18 fronts and 255/35-18s out back).