Recently, we have introduced a scheme for optimizing atom-based nonlocal external potentials within the framework of d. functional theory (DFT) in order to systematically improve the description of mol. properties [Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 153004 (2004); J. Chem. Phys. 122, 014113 (2005)]. In this study, we investigate a small library of dispersion-cor. atom-centered potentials (DCACP's) for C, Ar, Kr, and Br. To this end, we calibrate DCACP's in order to reproduce the equil. distance and binding energy of MP2 potential energy surfaces of the weakly bonded homodimers Ar2, Kr2, and (Br2)2. In all cases studied, using DFT with the generalized gradient approxn. functional BLYP and the DCACP's, the influence of dispersion forces on equil. and transition-state geometries, interaction energies, and transition barriers can be reproduced in good agreement with MP2 calcns. and without any significant increase in computational cost. The transferability of the DCACP's to other systems is assessed by addressing various weakly bonded complexes. We investigate (i) ideal van der Waals clusters of the type ArnKrm ( n,m={0,1,2,3,4} and 2?n+m?4), (ii) the effect of DCACP's on covalent bonds and conformers of the hydrocarbon mol. cyclooctatetraene which features a system of p bonds, and (iii) the competition of simultaneous electrostatic and dispersion forces for the equil. structure and transition states of the hydrogen bromide dimer (HBr)2. In all cases, the performance of the DCACP's to these extended set of systems is remarkably good. [on SciFinder (R)]