When used as an adjective, “savage” translates to something fierce, violent, and uncontrolled. Having spent some time behind the wheel, I can’t think of better words to describe Rondolf Moreno’s 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series.
“I first lusted after the Black Series after an episode of Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson,” Moreno said. “He said something like ‘it doesn’t track very well, it wants to kill you, but it’s a hoot to drive.’ It had a yellow paint scheme, the wild wide body panels, and crazy canards which made me think about getting one.”
Moreno shared he found the car on eBay after his 2009 BMW M5 got caught in a hail storm and he received an insurance payout. “I was hard pressed to find a Black Series that I could afford because it’s a special car. Around 80 examples were imported to the United States” Moreno said, adding that the car he bought had high-mileage which out it in his price range.
While Moreno’s car is not the same bright yellow as it appeared on Top Gear, the Benz came with its flamboyant flared fenders that widen the vehicle by 2.2-inches up front and 3.3-inches outback, KW Sports V3S coilover suspension with adjustable dampers, pistons, connecting rods, and crankshaft from the SLS AMG supercar, a diff from the world of heavy engineering, and a set of Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes.
Despite all the evident racecar engineering, it’s not really a serious track-day rocketship but its a car designed just to make you smile and packed with enough power and performance to make anyone giggle.
The C63 AMG power output, 451 hp and 443 lb-ft, is certainly nothing to scoff at but the Black Series builds on that and offers a violent 510 hp and 457 lb-ft from its naturally aspirated M156 6.2-liter V8.
The car sounds just about as nasty as you can imagine – the throaty engine note is very reminiscent of the SLS AMG it shares some of its engine components with.
The car makes its presence known with the help of the AMG Speedshift seven-speed multi-clutch transmission which, depending on the semi-auto gearbox mode you set, automatically matches revs on downshifts.
Behind the wheel, I set the car to “sport-plus” which places the steering, damping, gearbox and electronic-stability program all in their most extreme settings. In “sport-plus” the car feels stable and planted, it inspires confidence and begs you to take the corners a little faster each time. Acceleration throws you back in the seat when prompted, the brakes work well though are a little touchy for my taste. The car provides the feedback you need and want to feel in control, but it still has an undeniable chaotic feel about it that makes it fun.
“People think I am joking when I tell them the body is stock with the optional Mercedes-Benz front canards,” Moreno said. The body style is one that’s often replicated, but Moreno shared he was able to identify his car as a real Black Series because, at the time of production, only Black Series cars had red seat belts with red stitch accents and Dinamica seat inserts.
After six years, the Benz shows some wear and Moreno wants to restore the Dinamica on the steering wheel and gear shift selector. “I also plan to get a second set of seats with thick Alcantara cloth, like the ones seen in the race cars.”
One of the things I love most about Moreno’s car is that aside from a custom tune by Eurocharged in Texas, its largely stock. Don’t worry, it feels as weird writing that as it does reading it, but Moreno is mindful of the cars limited production and that’s something anyone can appreciate.
“I would like to keep the car as clean as possible, anything done to it needs to be able to be reversible so when this is a true collectible I can take it to a concours” Moreno said, though he admits he toys with the idea of doing a few Weistec upgrades from time to time and hopes to add a rear spoiler.
Photography by Nicole Ellan James