This is the new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series, which has finally made its global debut, bringing back the Black Series badge that has been absent since the SLS AMG was first unveiled at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. The wait may have been a long one, but the boys and girls at Affalterbach certainly put in the work to make sure it was well worth it.
Everything about the GT Black Series is geared towards performance, starting with the 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 lurking under the bonnet. Unlike the regular M178 unit used in other variants in the GT family, which uses a cross-plane crankshaft, the GT Black Series has a flat-plane crankshaft instead.
This isn’t something new, as we’ve already seen such a crank arrangement on other cars like the Porsche 918 and Ford Mustang Shelby GT350/GT350R. The setup sees the crankpins of the crankshaft be arranged on the same plane with a 180-degree offset (hence the name) instead of a 90-degree offset.
The benefits with the flat plane crankshaft is an engine that is even more responsive, while providing improved smoothness and high torque at low rotational speeds. The new firing order (1-8-2-7-4-5-3-6), where ignition jumps from one cylinder bank to the next, also improves the gas cycle, exiting via a new twin-pipe exhaust system made of thin-walled stainless steel.
A dry sump lubrication is still used here, but AMG engineers moved the exhaust side into the hot internal V of the two cylinder banks in the engine. Other changes include new camshafts and exhaust manifolds, larger intercooler, along with larger compressor wheels for the two turbochargers, which can now shift 1,100 kg of air per hour compared to 900 kg/hour for the GT R.
With these significant revisions, Mercedes-AMG saw it fit to designate the engine as the M178 LS2. The end product produces 730 PS (720 hp) from 6,700 to 6,900 rpm and 800 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm, allowing for a zero to 100 km/h sprint time of 3.2 seconds, zero to 200 km/h in under nine seconds and a top of 325 km/h.
For some context on just how huge the gains are, the most powerful, road-going version of the GT that you can buy today is the GT R/GT R Pro, which serves up 585 PS (577 hp) and 700 Nm, and is capable of a century sprint time of 3.6 seconds as well as a 318 km/h top speed.
To go along with the new V8, the seven-speed AMG Speedshift 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission has been beefed up and better cooled to handle the increased torque. A carbon-fibre torque tube is also used instead of an aluminium one as it weighs 40% lighter at just 13.9 kg, while the driveshaft rotating inside it is also made from carbon-fibre.
On the chassis side of things, the wishbones, steering knuckles and hub carriers on the front and rear axle are made entirely from forged aluminium in order to reduce the unsprung masses. Adjustable coilover suspension from the GT R is paired with AMG Ride Control adaptive damping, with several drives modes available via the AMG Dynamic Select system. The configurability extends to the camber and anti-roll bars as well for better fine tuning at the track.
The AMG Traction Control system also appears here, providing nine levels of intervention from the ESP system, with Level 9 allowing for maximum slip if going sideways is preferred. Also standard are 10-spoke forged wheels and a ceramic compound brake system with black calipers as well as motorsport brake pads and discs.
For aerodynamics, the team looked to the AMG GT3 race car for inspiration, which resulted in a larger front grille and a vented carbon-fibre bonnet to better cool the engine. The front apron also sports a manually adjustable splitter that has two settings – Street and Race – the latter meant to be used exclusively on race tracks. It is complemented by a diffuser that can be lowered to enhance the Venturi effect, effectively “sucking” the car onto the tarmac.
Elsewhere, prominent louvres on the front fenders, along with larger side sill panels that merge into the side blades, help to extract air from the wheel arches. Around back, there is a double diffuser and side wheel arch ventilators to channel air effectively away from the vehicle. The underbody is also almost fully panelled off, with longitudinal fins to further optimise air flow under the body.
To save even more weight, the car sports thinner glass and uses quite a fair bit of carbon-fibre , including for the front wings, roof, tailgate and rear aerofoil. The aerofoil is park of the aerodynamic package that helps contribute to a downforce of well over 400 kg at 250 km/h, with a larger upper blade and smaller one just beneath it, both being manually adjustable. The carmaker adds that the flap on the upper blade is adjustable by 20 degrees, either by pushing a button (a la DRS) or letting the onboard systems work it out automatically.
Moving inside, a mix of Nappa leather and Dinamica microfibre is applied to the cabin with orange topstitching (grey is an option) for contrast. More instances of weight saving can be seen with the door panels, which have loop pull handles instead of conventional ones.
Other items include AMG Performance seats, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, an AMG Performance steering wheel and an optional AMG Track Package that adds on titanium roll-over protection bars, four-point seatbelts and a fire extinguisher.
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