What does a niche-market manufacturer do when the niche it has carved becomes surprisingly full of eager customers? Carve another one, of course, and raise the ante.

Mercedes-Benzs performance arm, AMGwith about 45 percent of its 20,000-unit annual production destined for the cleverly diversifying its range into various categories and levels of performance and trim.

Hence, AMGs Black Series version of its CLK63 hot-rod coupe. Patterned, its said, on the CLK63 used as a safety car at Formula 1 races, the Black Series is immediately identifiable by its aggressive air-scoop-rich front end and muscular wheel arches. The carbon-fiber ducts you see on the front fascia sides are the real thing from a material and functional standpoint as is the tail spoiler.

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Critics have described the standard CLK coupe, with its soft, generic look, as a bit of a girls car. Not the CLK63 Black Series. Theres more than a hint of the companys DTM (German Touring Car Championship) CLK race car in this vehicles appearance, what with its prominent front apron and rear diffuser, 19-inch forged alloys, and extroverted dual-exhaust tailpipes. The beast fairly screams high performance from every angle.

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2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG Black Series - Road Tests

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