Mercedes-Benz Reveals New SL65 AMG Black Series
Rumors of the V12’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
By Chris Haak
Yesterday, Mercedes-Benz pulled the wraps off of its new performance flagship, the SL65 Black Series. The car will start at an astronomical $320,000, but includes nearly every weapon in AMG’s quiver, including several new ones.
Power for the SL65 Black Series comes from a twin turbocharged V12, rated at 661 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. Unlike all other SLs, there is no retractable hardtop; instead, the car has a fixed roof with a factory roll cage. The non-power top, coupled with a carbon fiber hood, fenders, roof, and trunk make the Black Series an impressive 550 pounds lighter than the “pedestrian” SL65 AMG (although still a rather-hefty 4,122 pounds). Perhaps the SL is so heavy because it’s still over-engineered as Mercedes cars were in years past.
Regardless, the two ton weight isn’t enough to keep that blown V12 from mauling acceleration tests. Zero to sixty is promised in less than 3.9 seconds, and the car has a top speed of 199 miles per hour, although it’s allegedly geared to run up to 220 miles per hour in fifth gear, so the 199 figure may be electronically limited.
The exterior of the SL has been moved dramatically from mild to wild; like the CLK63 Black Series coupe of a few months ago, there literally is no mistaking the SL65 Black Series for any other vehicle in Mercedes’ lineup. Actually, it’s a pretty unique shape anywhere in the automotive landscape. The two main styling themes are huge fender flares and a plethora of air vents to provide cooling air to its big V12. It’s hard to tell from photos, but the fender flares (which are integrated into the fenders and not just tacked on) appear to be six inches wider than the rest of the fender. There are also no less than seven air intakes on the car’s exterior (three on the front bumper, two on the hood, and one on each front fender) to feed air to the V12. Although the car’s shape is clearly unique, the fender flares lend an obvious family resemblance to the aforementioned CLK63 Black Series. The result is a very menacing looking car, but also one that seems almost like it’s trying too hard to be menacing. If I were dropping $320,000 on a new car, I’d hope that it would look a little more exotic, and not look like an SL with the boy racer package.
The car’s spot in the lineup is really one of a very expensive, exclusive stopgap to tide the richest Mercedes buyers over between the just-discontinued McLaren-built SLR and the future Mercedes-Benz SLC ultra performance car. Only 200 copies of the SL65 Black Series will be exported to the US, so if you have a spare vacation home lying around and would like to trade it on the current top-dog Mercedes, run – don’t walk – to your dealer right away.
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