What If? 2012 Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG Black Series
Welcome to What If, a new feature from imaginative illustrator Abimelec Arellano and Hagerty. We’ll be taking you back in time—and possibly forward into the future—to meet alternative-universe automobiles. Even better, our time machine is working well enough to bring “short take” reviews along with the photographs and advertisements. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
(Editor’s Letter, originally published in C/S magazine, Winter/Spring 2011/2012)
Welcome to the inaugural issue of C/S. This truly elite automotive lifestyle publication will be published between thirty-six and zero times per year, depending on what our Chief Content Officer’s therapists and astrologists tell her. Right now we’re planning on semi-annual publication, so this is the Winter/Spring issue. If you were previously a subscriber to Car and Steerer, you’ll be receiving one free issue of the magazine for every year you renewed your subscription in advance.
My name is Matt Fellow, and I’m honored to be the new editor-in-chief of C/S, and I’m very pleased to bring you this massive (43 pages!) magazine. We’ve built a powerful, iconic team of former mommybloggers, “Car Tweets” hangers-on, trust-fund babies with literally zero awareness of how normal human beings live or even how to buy their own food, and lifestyle writers who will be able to tell you everything about a car except how it works, how it drives, how fast it can actually go, and what’s wrong with it. We’ll leave that worthless stuff to the lap-timer crowd and the autocross nerds out there who have never known the joy of spending $1000 to rent a watch to wear for their high school graduations. (Check out B.Y. Wright’s iconic, erotic piece on page 17, How Watch Rentals Are Getting More Expensive (And Why That’s A Good Thing).)
You’ve probably noticed the R63 Black Series on the cover of our magazine. That’s not a real car. We actually built a toy R63 and suspended it over a fake street. Bet you didn’t realize that, because you’re not as iconic as I am. The R63 Black Series, like C/S, is the very most iconic thing that has ever, ah, iconned. With 510 hp @ 6,800 rpm and 457 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm, it’s a great follow-up for the original R63. You might remember that people thought the R63 wouldn’t sell—until, that is, it got a starring role in Homeland as the van of choice for “Nicholas Brody”. In the blink of an eye, over 8,000 R63s were ordered and sold, making it the most popular model in the AMG lineup.
With this kind of marketplace momentum, the Black Series was the next logical step. Two hundred of them will be made, each costing $167,000 and available in several no-extra-cost amazing paint finishes. The track is wider to accommodate massive wheels, and there’s bespoke bodywork to cover it all up. A spoiler on back adds 6,300 pounds of downforce, according to my notes. That seems like a lot. Very iconic. We estimate 0-60 in 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 273 mph, according to my notes.
On page 15 you’ll be able to read about how our lifestyle writer Jan Griel took it to her high-school reunion. But since the average C/S reader lives the life that others can only dream of—or is that the life of which others can only dream? I wasn’t much of a student, really—we have plenty of ways for you to experience the R63 Black Series for yourself, thanks to our six levels of membership.
C/S Paddock Toilet Members will have a chance to see an R63 from a distance, behind some sort of wall. This level of membership can be yours for just $99/month.
C/S Unpaved Campground Members will be allowed to touch the R63 Black Series for between three and seven seconds, depending on how many of you there are. At a price of just $299/month, we’re thinking there will be thousands of you. And remember, you get up to three issues a year of this magazine!
C/S Registration Tower Members will be invited to join our elite team of iconic writers as they test the R63 Black Series. You’ll be allowed to drive the car. All for the low price of just $399/month. You can’t buy an R63 for that kind of money! And we will have sandwiches.
C/S Trackside Condo Members will be permitted to crash the R63 Black Series and up to three additional cars per year, just for fun. Plus you get the magazine. All for just $599/month.
C/S Illuminati Members will get free car washes every day from yours truly, Mark Fellow. I’ll pretend to be your best friend as we eat a variety of two-Michelin-star meals together. I’ll be sleeping in your house pretty much every night. Watch out, I like to snore! $999/month.
Finally, the iconic and isotonic people who pay $19,999/week for the C/S Tropospheric Northern Lights “DaVinci Code” Membership will have a unique opportunity. We are going to fly you to a remote island and outfit you with the finest in hunting gear chosen by our Wilderness Correspondent, Zesty Wiser. Once there, you’ll be placed in the back of a specially-equipped R63 Black Series Jagerwagen with roll-back canvas top. We’ll then release my predecessor Editor-In-Chief into the wilderness, clad in a leather thong and armed with just a sharpened stick. You will have the chance to engage in “The Most Dangerous Game” as you hunt him with the assistance of fifty genetically-engineered dire wolves. Afterwards, enjoy a selection from a Costco charcuterie board before a fireside chat with the one and only Fernando Alonso, two-time F1 World Champion! (Or similar.) You also get the magazine mailed to your home, in a special discreet envelope so nobody knows you actually read it.
I know you’re as excited as I am for our iconic new publication that will absolutely not fail spectacularly and be renamed in just six months. We have so much to share, so many infographics to make, so many new fonts to explore. But as every door opens, another closes, so I am absolutely gutted to announce that the C/S family lost our New Vehicle Catastrophe Editor, Spaniel Felson, earlier this month, during a company lunch trip to Panera Bread.
If anybody finds him, please let us know.