Tearing Up the Track in Mercedes’ Fastest Model

The world is healing, folks. Laughter is back, airport lines are back, tiny shorts are back. Add to that list hyper-expensive sports cars. COVID most definitely didn’t kill those, but what good is a $325,000 Mercedes if no one’s around to appreciate it?

Thankfully the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series is hitting our shores at just the right time. For a few hundred lucky buyers, this will be the summer of speed: They’ll take ownership of a wild sports car that recently set the production car record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany. (Watch here if you haven’t eaten your lunch yet.)

To catch you up: The Mercedes-AMG GT is a front-engined sportscar built to rival Porsche’s almighty 911. It first arrived in 2015; the Black Series model arriving now represents the concept tweaked to its quickest essence. A new, hand-built 4-liter bi-turbocharged V8 engine uses a flat crank for more torque and a quicker throttle, and makes 720 horsepower. Its bodywork is heavily (yet incredibly lightly) reworked for the track. Along with the requisite carbon-fiber swaps—hood, roof, fenders, sills, rear hatch—there’s a bunch of aero improvements, chief among them a massive, two-piece carbon fiber spoiler sailing off of the decklid. Meaning, even the wing has a wing. Whoah, man.

Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series

The folks at Mercedes thought we might like a spin in it. They were right. Last week the brand hauled a few of the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series cars to the Concours Club, a private racetrack located across the street from Miami’s Opa-Locka Executive Airport. The track is so new that when you peer through the heat shimmer, you can barely see a racing line on the velvety, scar-free tarmac.

Our time with the GT Black Series was brief but memorable: for a single 25-minute session we tailed a professional who coached us on braking and turn-in points. The single biggest revelation was that the quicker you push the car into a turn, the cleaner your exit. This is courtesy of the aerodynamic work mentioned above: It’s all there to reduce drag and build downforce. At high speeds, that huge double wing essentially sucks the car closer to the road. Instead of losing grip, you seem to gain it. It feels almost counterintuitive.

Concours’s 2,100-foot straightaway allowed the GT Black Series’s unique engine to take a star turn, shouting toward its 7,000-rpm redline. In race mode, the seven-speed paddle-shifted automatic quickly finds you the needed torque. Just as quickly, massive carbon-ceramic composite brakes allow you to precisely set up for the next turn. In the sauna-like 91-degree heat of the day, the A/C compressor went out in my model a few times. The downside: Sorry about the sweat-soaked microfiber seat, Mercedes. The upside: Windows down, I could better hear the flat-plane soundtrack of the GT Black Series ahead of me.

mercedes nighthawk boat

In keeping with the theme—exclusive, gasoline-powered excess to welcome us back into the after times—Mercedes-AMG chose the event reveal its latest powerboat, too. Called the Cigarette 41-foot Nighthawk AMG Black Series, the “Magmabeam orange” machine was styled by the Mercedes-AMG design team with cues from the GT Black Series car. It does 90 on the open water, which we can confirm. We can also confirm that you can’t buy the multi-million dollar boat—it’s already spoken for. Like we said, party time has begun once again.

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