Hardcore coupes: CLK63 Black Series vs 997 GT3 RS

BMW’s M3Porsche’s 911 and Mercedes-AMG’s C63 are all achingly desirable machines, cars that have the ability to perform as proficient, exciting road and track cars. But as well as appealing to you and me, they also need to work over a broader spectrum, to satisfy a wider audience, and this means that their ultimate potential to thrill isn’t being realised. Narrow such a car’s operating window, however, make it stiffer and noisier and its controls heavier, and it can deliver so much more for people like us.

What Porsche, AMG, BMW et al do to make their most hardcore sports coupes feel more at home around the Nordschleife than the North Circular will be familiar to scholars of the Demon Tweeks motorsport catalogue. Big brakes, stickier tyres, roll-cages, bucket seats, harnesses, Plexiglas windows, uprated springs and dampers, thicker anti-roll bars, solid-mounted or rose-jointed suspension, carbonfibre wings, lighter and louder exhausts – these cars already have everything you might otherwise earmark in that sacred catalogue. But the factory-prepped cars also get changes that only their manufacturer could or would make: stiffer and sometimes wider body shells, bigger capacity or unique engines, bespoke gearboxes.

It can be easy to forget just how thorough and comprehensive the work that goes into such cars is. The leap from 4-series to M4 GTS is colossal; put a C-class next to a C63 Black Series and it’s like they’re barely related at all. Tot it all up and the price premium – sometimes as much as 100 per cent – that such hardcore cars might command over the merely sporty originals starts to seem reasonable.

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