Jeremy Clarkson’s Old CLK 63 Black Series Is Still on the Road Blowing Car Reviewers’ Minds
This car was, somewhat famously, one of Clarkson's favorites.
Recently, British car journalist Mat Watson of Carwow fame reviewed a 2008 Mercedes AMG CLK 63 Coupe Black Series on his personal YouTube channel, Mat Watson Cars, and it’s a very entertaining look back at where big German horsepower in track-centric kit was like back in the late-aughts. This particular example has some extra cache, as it used to be owned by Jeremy Clarkson, a significantly taller British car journalist.
What’s quite notable about this Benz isn’t just the amount of characters in its name, but the fact that it was a souped-up, stiffened, and purposefully produced CLK, meant to be Mercedes’ version of the Porsche 911 GT3. Rowdy, sharp, fast, loud -all of those adjectives that are used to describe more knife-edge and track-centric versions of luxury cars that are otherwise just generally fast, and more suited for comfy daily cruising.
Mat utilizes his own brand of humor and thorough description to discuss the Black Series’ iconic interior and exterior, some insight about its power plant and what to look for if you’re in the market, as well as provide some driving impressions. Unfortunately, there’s not much for twisty road footage, for that you’ll have to check out The Smoking Tire‘s video.
To reiterate, the Black Series was Mercedes’ line of track-ready hardware for a number of years. This CLK in particular came from the factory with manually adjustable coilovers, wide, lightweight wheels, a bit more power, a bit more decibels coming out of its tailpipes, and various other custom touches throughout. These include a smaller automatic shifter, presumably to shed a teeny bit of weight, as well as what look like recovered Recaro fixed-back racing seats. The rear seats are deleted as well, and in their place under some paneling lives the battery for better weight distribution. Hilariously, Mat points out that there are AMG branded floor mats in the rear… to sit under absolutely nobody’s feet.
This W209-generation CLK Black Series is one of my favorite European cars, ever. It looks so good with its widened fenders, carbon fiber work, and other various race-car’ified accents. It truly looks like a livery-less, street-legal DTM car of the era. Then there’s its engine, Mercedes’ venerable, hand-made, M156 6.2-liter V8. 500 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque was a shit-load of power back in the late aughts and still is today. Even in a 3,829-pound German coupe. It might have a conventional, torque converter automatic transmission, but by all accounts, including Mat’s, its shift times aren’t too bad by modern standards. Surely any downsides here, and really anywhere beneath the angry W209’s skin, are outweighed by the sound this thing makes at wide-open throttle. Also its rarity: Just 349 examples were sold here in the USA.
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