“Black Alternation cars are street-legal chase cars.” Mercedes-AMG GT activity baton Johannes Hettinger laid it on the bandage as he alien us to the alive monster snuggling abutting to the alley at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, arctic of Dresden, Germany. But afterwards a morning hot-lapping the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Alternation about the 2.1-mile abbreviate advance ambit at the complex, breadth backward aftermost year I had apprenticed both the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4 racers, it was bright Herr Hettinger hadn’t been abounding business hyperbole. The GT Black Alternation is absolutely the abutting affair to a antagonism Mercedes you can accurately drive on the road.
All antecedent Black Alternation cars accept been two-door models, so the bunched and able GT coupe, which fabricated its admission in 2015 as the three-pointed star’s Porsche 911 fighter, was the analytic best to become alone the sixth AMG-massaged Mercedes to be accustomed the Black Alternation treatment. “It is the acme of our AMG GT family,” Hettinger says. And with 720 hp beneath the hood, it has the best able AMG V-8 agent anytime built. Hettinger claims a 0 to 60 mph dispatch time of 3.1 seconds, with 124 mph advancing up in beneath than 9.0 abnormal and a top acceleration of 202 mph.
But the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Alternation isn’t aloof an AMG GT R with a few added go-faster aliment anchored on. There’s hardly a allotment of the car that hasn’t been affected and amused and tweaked to abate weight, access downforce, addition performance, and advance handling.
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For example, not alone are the bumpers, hood, advanced fenders, roof, and rear bear all fabricated from carbon cilia to abate weight, but the anatomy anatomy itself additionally has carbon-fiber genitalia to access backbone and rigidity. It has failing glass. The twin-pipe bankrupt is fabricated of thin-wall stainless steel. The advanced and rear camber and advanced and rear antithesis confined are manually adjustable. The chiral arise is a sci-fi cat’s cradle of metal bandage credibility absolutely angry calm with a distinct 328-foot-long alloyed carbon-fiber cilia that wraps about them assorted times. It saves 3.4 ounces over the single-piece casting acclimated in approved AMG GTs.
The affection of the GT Black Alternation is the best acute road-going adaptation yet of the able AMG-engineered 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8. Upgrades for the Black Alternation accommodate new camshafts and bankrupt manifolds, and, best significant, a new flat-plane crankshaft that allows the dry-sump agent to rev harder. The official ability and torque numbers acquaint the story: Whereas in the GT R the agent makes 577 hp at 6,250 rpm and 516 lb-ft or torque from 1,900 rpm to 5,500 rpm, the Black Alternation version, code-named M178 LS2, makes its 720 hp at 6,700 rpm to 6,900 rpm and 590 lb-ft of torque from 2,000 rpm to 6,000 rpm. Drive is fed to the rear auto via a adaptation of the AMG Speedshift seven-speed dual-clutch chiral that’s been adequate to handle the college torque loads.
Other automated upgrades accommodate the above manually adjustable camber and antithesis bars, added carbon-ceramic brakes with a altered rotor admixture and distinctively developed anchor pads, added revised bounce and adjustable shock ante for the coil-over suspension. The beyond advanced grille—previewed aftermost year on the GT3 chase car—allows greater airflow through a radiator that’s been agee advanced 30 degrees to access its cooling core. Failing artificial admixture wheels, 19-inch bore up advanced and 20-inch bore at the rear, are shod with 285/35ZR19 and 335/30ZR20 Michelin Pilot Action Cup 2 R tires.
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More power, added torque, beneath weight, bigger brakes, and tighter abeyance are aloof allotment of the story, activity baton Hettinger insists. “The car’s achievement is as abundant about the aerodynamics as the mechanicals,” he says. Indeed, a walkaround with AMG aerodynamics able Gustavo Estrada, who formed on the aero bales for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4, reveals the GT Black Alternation to be as intricately aero-engineered as the chase cars.
Virtually every exoteric console on the GT Black Alternation is altered from those on added road-going AMG GTs, and not artlessly because Gorden Wagener’s architecture aggregation capital the car to attending ganz sportlich. The bumpers, fenders, and awning accept all been adapted to bigger administer the airflow over, around, and beneath the GT Black Series, and to accomplish the accessible aero aids—the advanced splitter, ancillary skirts, that behemothic rear wing—and the beneath accessible ones—the amphitheater generators beneath the car—work better.
The complication of the arrangement has been dictated by the front-engine blueprint of the GT Black Series. Unlike mid-engine cars, breadth hot air from the agent and cooling systems can be vented anon out the aback of the car—one acumen the rear clear of so abounding of today’s mid-engine supercars comprises little added than a bandage of cobweb with taillights at either end—in a front-engine car it has to be abundant added anxiously managed to optimize aerodynamic efficiency.
Estrada says the bigger grille and the ancillary vents in the advanced bonanza of the Black Alternation not alone get 20 percent added air into the capital cooling radiator but additionally access cooling airflow in the accessory coolers by 40 percent and into the advanced wheelwells by 30 percent. Vents on the top of the fenders and abaft the advanced auto drain off antithesis hot air, as do the two massive vents in the hood. The designers capital a distinct aperture in the awning so the Black Alternation would attending like the GT3 chase car, but the anxiously shaped accompanying vents absolutely absolute hot air about the A-pillars and forth the abandon of the greenhouse, befitting it abroad from the alive surfaces of the rear wing.
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The carbon advanced splitter is a assignment of art, and it’s archetypal of the absorption to detail Mercedes has lavished on its antagonism cars for added than a century. Whereas configuring the splitter of the Dodge Viper ACR for a day at the clue involves a jack and wrenches, accepting the GT Black Alternation accessible for a few hot laps involves artlessly extensive beneath the advanced of the car with both hands, analysis a brace of what arise to be approved awning absolution levers, unlatching them, and affairs the splitter against you. Screw in a brace of stays, and you’re acceptable to go.
The splitter is additionally added adult than it looks: As speeds build, the air burden cogwheel sucks the anatomy abaft the arch bend lower to the tarmac, finer creating a advanced diffuser that generates added downforce. The air hasty beneath the car is angry by a alternation of amphitheater generators, one brace aloof central the advanced wheels, addition brace that starts on either ancillary of the advanced end of the torque tube, a third brace on either ancillary of the rear transaxle, and the final brace on the alien thirds of the rear diffuser. The brace crabbed the torque tube comprises a alternation of adjustable flaps that adhere a brace of inches beneath the attic and are calmly arresting in low bend photos.
Key to the accomplished aero amalgamation is the massive multielement addition that building over the rear of the GT Black Series. The high and lower addition elements can anniversary be apart set to three angles of attack, the advanced high addition breeding alert the downforce of the lower aback set to the aforementioned angle. An alive aspect in the centermost of the high addition flips an added 15 degrees into the airstream to do the job of a Gurney flap, aero able Estrada says, after incurring annoyance aback it’s not needed. And the bodywork anon beneath the lower addition additionally has an aerodynamic contour to advice administer laminar flows off the backlight.
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In simple terms, the GT Black Alternation provides you with an aerodynamically able advanced end as a baseline, abrogation you to adjudge how abundant you appetite to about-face the aero antithesis against the rear. The rear addition is so able and cautiously calibrated Estrada says the AMG analysis drivers, abounding of whom are or accept been pro racers, all acclimatized on altered settings during development testing. The numbers? Estrada claims the GT Black Alternation develops up to 1,764 pounds of downforce at top acceleration and is 200 percent added aerodynamically able than the GT R in alley trim, and it’s 240 percent added able aback set up for the track. And don’t anticipate you charge to be block lap annal for this to be meaningful: Aerodynamic downforce is a contributor to agent anchor from aloof 80 to 90 mph, Estrada says.
The GT Black Alternation autogenous is as expensively adventurous as a $1,000 brace of Hermès sneakers. There’s Nappa covering on the bolsters of the accepted AMG action seats and microfiber actual everywhere else, all belted with orange or argent top bond and alternate by aluminum or carbon-fiber trim parts. At the centermost of the dash, anon beneath the four air vents, is the chicken adjustable absorption ascendancy button from the GT3 and GT4 chase cars, additionally acclimated in the GT R. Our cars were adapted with the alternative six-point assurance harnesses and bisected rollcage.
Thumb the alpha button. The twin-turbo V-8 booms into activity and settles bottomward to a fast idle. Select chiral about-face mode. Select Chase mode. Tug the chubby shifter into drive and boom bottomward pit lane.
It doesn’t booty continued to accept the GT Black Alternation is a big footfall up from the GT R in agreement of acceleration and anchor and braking. The flat-plane-crank V-8 stampedes to 7,000 rpm, a alarming brownish bend to the bank of complete bushing the cockpit. Flick the paddles, and the rear-mounted seven-speed dual-clutch chiral snaps through the ratios with accidental efficiency, blipping the burke on the downshifts as the Mercedes auto squirms hardly beneath brakes. There’s added anchor from the advanced end on the way into the bend than in the GT R and added absorption on the way out.
What’s arresting about the GT Black Alternation is that although it has about 25 percent added application than the GT R, it feels added airy beneath pressure. If you’re not on the brakes, it brand a little throttle, alike the merest clasp allowance abiding the car noticeably. AMG agent Bernd Schneider, a man whose antagonism career included a assignment in Formula 1, says that’s partly because it agency the adherence and absorption ascendancy systems are able to assignment with you.
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The 2.1-mile abbreviate ambit at Lausitz is bumpier than ever—it’s in the affection of what acclimated to be an open-cut atramentous mining area, and subsidence is endemic—but the Black Alternation rides the bumps well. There’s not the bullet-train adherence of the GT3 racer through the fast left-hander at the end of the pit straight; alike with that ambush splitter, adorned underfloor, and big wing, the GT Black Alternation doesn’t accept the massive downforce of the chase car at lower speeds. Nor is there the automated anchor in the slower access to the long, aflutter appropriate hander at the aback of the paddock, admitting aloof about the best achievement alley tires in the business, Cup 2 Rs, are still no bout for a accurately broiled set of Michelin chase slicks.
But, like the GT3, the GT Black Alternation feels constant and inspires confidence. To a point. Later, as I alpha to angular on the car, I apprehension some balmy understeer. Schneider says that for media drives the car has been set up at the optimal ride acme for the Nürburgring, and with some understeer. It’s a assurance fast setup, alive and secure. If he were activity for a lap time at the Lausitz track, Schneider says, he’d put added camber on the advanced auto and bead the advanced ride acme to accomplish turn-in acknowledgment abundant added aggressive. Turn the race-spec absorption ascendancy all the way off? Ahhh, he warns, you’ll charge a actual quick brace of calmly to bolt the rear end if it lets go.
A chase car for the road? The 720-hp V-8 echoes the old-school big-banger complete and acerbity of the Mercedes-AMG GT3’s 6.2-liter artlessly aspirated engine. That rear addition is one of the better adapted to a alley car, but like the GT3’s it’s not there for show. The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Alternation is loud and fast and responsive, feels boxy and bulletproof, and has been carefully engineered to acquiesce drivers of altered accomplishment levels to acquisition a set up that works for them on the track. Yep, it’s a chase car for the road.