Everything we know about the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT Black

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

It’s endowed with big wings, big power and could well take some big scalps. The upcoming AMG GT Black Series is complete with GT3-inspired aerodynamics, a new AMG engine and tech from the AMG One hypercar.

There’s also the not insignificant matter of power, said to be in excess of 520kW. For the likes of the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, consider this your notice. With the most power and torque of the current AMG range, it’ll more than fulfil its status as the halo model.

Sitting down with the boss of Mercedes AMG, Tobias Moers, it’s clear to see he’s excited for his creation to be revealed to the world – just not quite in full yet. Moers is a car guy, and his passion for the project is palpable. 

Stopping short of revealing all the juicy details, Moers alludes to the fact that the Black will gain a “new” powerplant with tech that’s a first for AMG, but not the broader car-making industry. “It’s still a 4.0-litre engine and twin turbo, but it’s a different engine. It’s not a typical AMG V8.”

However, we do know Merc’s 48V mild-hybrid technology (EQ Boost) won’t generate the increased performance. While the block will remain unchanged from the M178 unit, it’s likely the Black Series will score new cylinder heads and could usher in a revised crankshaft. Videos of testing mules sporting an entirely new, high-rpm soundtrack support this theory, plus it’s a change that would bring the Black Series in line with rivals like the Ferrari 488. It would also keep the engine compact and offer benefits due to a lower rotational mass.

Either way, Moers explains that we should “expect something different.”

While the next-gen GT is set to move to all-wheel drive (with drift modes), the Black Series is likely to be one of the last rear-drivers from AMG.

The Black Series will sit above the hardcore GT R and GT R Pro as the ultimate model in this line, taking cues from both while amping up the aggression and sense of occasion. “Expect something different. Engine, power output, suspension, aero – everything. There’s not much in common with the GT R,” says Moers.

An uprated version of the GT R Pro’s coilover suspension set-up (adjustable for bump and rebound) is expected to be fitted and, interestingly, tyre tech will be borrowed from the AMG One. File that one under reassuringly overengineered then. Unsurprisingly, there are no plans for a manual gearbox.

The long-bonnet, cab-back coupe will add serious aerodynamic changes to glue it to the tarmac. The massive maw of the redesigned Panamericana grille helps cooling while a deeper front air dam, redesigned bonnet and substantial rear diffuser also massage the airflow. If it looks like an escaped GT3 car, that’s not accidental. Flared wheel arches feature top vents to reduce air pressure in the wheel wells while carbon fibre front flics reduce frontal lift.

When asked about the huge wings spotted on the test mules and whether or not the Black Series would include active aero, Moers simply laughs and says, “Yes – there was no chance to camouflage that. They look similar to the production car.”

The GT R Pro already uses an active AirPanel which controls radiator shutters that close to improve efficiency or open for cooling, so we expect to see at least this. Although, despite the aggro aero (including a wild dual rear wing) and double bubble roof to enable the use of race helmets, don’t expect a stripped-out racer. Other Black Series models blend performance with a certain degree of interior refinement.

Speaking with Moers, there’s an overarching sense of pride with the Black Series project, as if AMG is sending the pure internal combustion, rear-drive, analogue supercar out with a resounding fanfare.

“When we brought the GT R to market, everybody told me, ‘Okay, what are you going to do with the Black Series?’ I told everybody that it should really be a step up and it took time to get all the things together. Now we’re there and the car is on the Nordschleife. I think it’s something really surprising. Surprising for everybody.”

Unlike the Pro, the Black Series is headed to Oceania, however, before you get your wallet out, we’d expect a sticker north of $400K.

Three reasons why you should always bet on black

1. The GT Black Series will feature a huge Panamericana grille with a GT3-style bonnet including detailed cooling aids. Active aero from the GT R Pro is also expected at a minimum.

2. The dual-plane (fixed) rear wing is a first for AMG, while the rear diffuser helps suck the Black Series to the ground. Testing mules also suggest a move to a revised quad-exhaust system.

3. Tobias Moers says that the Black Series will continue with ICE powertrains despite the push towards EV and hybrid set-ups, stating there will “still be room” for traditional engine configurations.

In focus: Benz’s bent-eight brute

The current Mercedes-AMG hero is the 470kW/900Nm M178 V8 found in the GT63 S 4-Door, but its status is set to be usurped by the Black Series. It’s expected that the 0-100km/h time to will dip below 3.6sec (set by the Pro). While the Black sidesteps hybridisation, plug-in hybrid technology will find its way into the V8 AMG range, with the 4-Door gaining the EQ Power set-up. Said to be branded GT73, it will take on the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid when it’s released next year.