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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - SL-class - SL65 AMG Black

First look: Mega-Benz with a mega price

Flares are back: The ground-hugging SL65 AMG Black Series model spent most of its development life on race circuits around the world.

Mercedes-Benz to hit new high with awesome SL65 AMG Black Series in 2009

17 Jul 2008

THE most expensive Mercedes-Benz ever offered for sale in Australia will arrive here in about June 2009 – priced at close to $600,000.

But you had better move quickly if you want to buy the exclusive SL65 AMG Black Series because only 10 are coming to Australia and four of those are already spoken for. We know you would kick yourself if you missed out.

Although this is the fourth Black Series model offered by the German car-maker, the hardtop SL will be only the second to come here, following the recent CLK63 version, of which 40 came here (including eight for New Zealand) priced at ‘just’ $299,000.

Being so far away from local release, Mercedes-Benz Australia is not giving a firm price at this stage but a spokesman said that it will start with a ‘5’ and will almost certainly be at the upper end of that scale. Not that it will matter one iota to anyone contemplating buying one of these utterly outrageous and awesome devices.

The AMG Black Series has quickly established an intimidating reputation as the ultimate expression of Mercedes performance – some kind of status when you’re talking German marques – and the latest model certainly stretches the envelope.

4 center imageConsidering that AMG told us recently that it no longer wants to chase power outputs, the numbers for the SL65 AMG Black Series are nothing short of amazing.

The twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 engine pumps out 493kW of power and some 1000Nm of torque – and torque figure is kept down because the engine is electronically limited to save the transmission. Without the nanny electronics, AMG reckon the biturbo would peak at about 1200Nm.

Do you need to know any more? Oh, acceleration? Well, it is a little quick, roaring to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds and onwards to 320km/h before the electronic nannies strike again.

AMG’s boffins assemble the engines by hand – one man, one engine – and for the Black Series V12 they fit special turbochargers that are not only 12 per cent bigger than the regular SL65 AMG but also work more efficiently and ultimately result in an extra 43kW of power.

Benz also claims that modified inlet air ducting improves the power delivery throughout the rev range while a new exhaust system not only boosts power but adds to the already awesome sound made by the AMG V12.

It is not just the engine that makes the Black three-tenths of a second faster to 100km/h than the ‘regular’ SL65 AMG because it has also shed some 250kg of weight.

Carbon-fibre reinforced plastic is used extensively – for the flared guards, the front air dam and rear spoiler, the bonnet and bootlid – as well as the redesigned roof that replaces the regular SL ‘vario’ roof. Eliminating all the electric retraction systems obviously saves quite a bit of weight as well.

Of course, there is also plenty of carbon-fibre in the all-black interior, including the big bucket seats (without built-in airbags). Other interior features include a stop/start button, built-in roll bars and a new instrument cluster with gearshift lights and a speedo that goes up to 360km/h.

The solid roof is aerodynamically more efficient, with a significantly flatter profile and a less upright rear window (which is bigger than on the regular SL), while the rear spoiler looks built-in until the car reaches 120km/h, when it rises 12cm to aid stability.

Another aerodynamic feature is the carbon-fibre rear apron with a built-in diffuser that also conceals an active cooling system for the rear axle locking differential. The multiple-disc limited-slip diff has a 40 per cent locking effect for improved traction.

Those bulging wheelarches are full of AMG forged alloy wheels measuring 19x9.5-inch at the front (with 35-series Dunlop Sport Maxx GT tyres) and 20x11.5-inch at the rear (with 30-series tyres). The front track is 97mm wider than an SL65 AMG at the front and 85mm wider at the rear.

Massive braking power is provided by composite 390x36mm discs at the front clamped by six-piston fixed calipers and 360x26mm discs with four-piston fixed calipers at the rear.

The five-speed ‘Speedshift Plus’ manumatic transmission has four shift modes (C, S, M1 and M2), a lock-up torque converter tuned for performance, a double-declutch function for downshifts and, of course, steering wheel paddles.

AMG has employed its motor sport experience to introduce a fully adjustable suspension system that enables the driver to adjust the shock absorber rebound and compression stages, the ride height, wheel alignment and camber for personal preference, especially on the track.

Development testing around Europe included some 30,000km on race circuits – 15,000km alone on the famed Nurburgring north circuit – using ten prototype vehicles.

Read more:

First look: Wild new SL-AMG twins emerge

Slicker SLs a month away


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