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A Brace of Blacks

July 26, 2011 by Matt

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe Black Series

Three, actually, if you count both Mazdas. Hot on the heels of Mercedes’ recent unveiling of their tectonic C63 AMG Coupe Black Series, Mazda has released a pair of UK-only cosmetic packages for their MX-5 roadster and Mazda 2 hatchback: The Black Sport and Black, respectively. I guess you can’t copyright a color if it’s part of a car’s name.

In keeping with the tradition of earlier Black Series cars, Mercedes has stuffed an earth-moving 6.2l, 509 hp V8 under the hood and outfitted the body with aerodynamic touches and DTM-style boxy fender flares. The peripheral mechanical organs are upgraded as well, the suspension is stiffened and the interior receives race-like buckets, among other details.

I have to admit I’m still at a bit of a loss as to what exactly Mercedes is trying to achieve with the car. Are they going for the hardcore track day enthusiasts? If so, why not strip even more weight out of the car and push the specifications further into racer territory, like BMW did with their (overpriced) M3 GTS? At least the car is equipped with a dual-clutch manual as opposed to a traditional automatic, as in the unloved SLR McLaren. If they’re after the typical Mercedes customer who wants a bit, well, more, surely the idea of trundling along the highway in butt-hugging Recaros, knowing every plebeian in a Mustang GT is eying the garish fender flares is somewhat…beneath them, no? As with previous Black Series powerhouses, this one seems like it suffers from something of an identity crisis. That said, I’m sure it goes like stink.

For Mazda’s part, the changes to the cars in question aren’t nearly as extensive, but it’s still interesting that they’d assign the name “Black” to the option packages, given the German automaker’s prominent use of it for several years now. Perhaps limiting them to the UK market dampens any potential trademark conflict; who knows.

Mazda 2 Black

The MX-5 Black Sport and Mazda 2 Black basically offer a limited exterior and interior palette, special gunmetal-colored wheels and in the case of the Mazda 2 Black, a black vinyl roof. That’s pretty much it. Nice to move some volume, but I wouldn’t run around bragging to all my friends and relatives that I had purchased a limited-edition Mazda Black! Just not really worth it, you know?

Exit question: With the “claiming” of random letters of the alphabet by the in-house tuning divisions of various automakers (Cadillac has V, BMW claims M, Lexus nabbed F and Audi has spoken for S and possibly R as well), are colors the next logical step in staking out a brand’s special-edition territory? Might we see, say, an Acura “Blue Line” or a Dodge “Orange Blast” some time in the near future?

Filed under: Mazda, Mercedes, News


  1. John D says:

    Brings to mind an episode of Top Gear (UK, of course) where they compare the M3, RS4, and C63 AMG on a race track in Spain. (Season 10, Episode 10) As amazing as the C63 is, there really is nothing that car is good at…as demonstrated in the test. I guess it’s just an overpowered GT car that one would own for the thrill and bragging rights of it all. Nothing wrong with that, but it seems that anyone who knows anything about cars would buy one with one main purpose in mind that they would expect the car to fulfill. And no matter what your single most important desire is for a car, you can find one that fulfills it better than the C63 AMG (of which the Black is a minor variant).

    If you have Netflix and a spare few minutes you should watch the last ten minutes of the episode (when this test takes place). Its is both informative and entertaining…which is pretty typical for Top Gear UK.

    • Matt says:

      “anyone who knows anything about cars would buy one with one main purpose in mind that they would expect the car to fulfill.”


      And that’s a great episode—one of my favorites. The “cock-o-meter” scene is hilarious. :)

  2. There have been some color-based naming conventions, as well — the now-defunct Saturn Red Line (and Green Line eco-mod) springs to mind.

    • Matt says:

      Very true. Forgot about the Saturn Red Line, and Mercedes named their ultra-low emissions (or was it higher fuel economy?) engine range “Bluetec” for a while there, and still might.

      • BlueTEC is Mercedes’ name for its current turbodiesel cars. It refers to the tricks they’ve developed to reduce NOx (a big hassle with diesels), which include injecting a solution of urea in distilled water that Mercedes calls AdBlue. VW and Audi also use most of the same technology, under license.

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