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Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series (2012) first pictures

By Ollie Kew

First Official Pictures

09 November 2012 15:00

We’d be most surprised if you rejected the Mercedes SLS AMG for being too slow and too subtle, but if you crave a few racecar touches for your gullwing supercar then Mercedes will oblige with this: the SLS AMG Black Series.

Like the ‘BS’ models that’ve gone before, the SLS Black employs a weight reduction, ramped-up power and better aerodynamics to give more extreme looks and performance. Read on for the full spec of a Mercedes with more power than a McLaren 12C Spider.

So, how quick is the SLS Black Series?

Power is up from 563bhp to a Ferrari 599 GTB-besting 622bhp, though torque actually falls from 479lb ft to 468lb ft. The power jump comes from modified camshafts, a new air intake, plus raising the rev limit of the 6.2-litre V8 from 7200 to 8000rpm, and better oil and water cooling. Thanks to the extra poke, faster gearshift times and 70kg weight saving, the Black Series hits 62mph in 3.6sec – 0.2sec quicker than the standard car. Top speed is curiously down 1mph to 196mph, likely due to the extra drag from the widened bodywork.

Oh, and in case you’re interested about supercar economy, the SLS Black returns 20.6mpg and 321g/km of CO2. Now, let’s get back on topic…

So the Mercedes SLS Black Series isn’t actually that much faster than the normal SLS?

It’s still a very fast car, but the changes to the Black have been more about turning the SLS from soothing GT to road-racer than adding outright speed.

Visually, there’s a myriad of sporty addenda inspired by the SLS GT3 racecar. The flanks aren’t as boldly inflated as the C63 Black, but there is a 13mm expansion at the front and 26mm at the rear to enclose wider sports tyres (the front and rear tracks are also wider by 20 and 24mm respectively).

The rubber is wrapped around 20-inch lightweight forged alloys, enclosing standard-fit carbon-ceramic brakes. The carbon stoppers are an £8140 option on the standard SLS, but on the Black Series they’re just the tip of a carbon-composite iceberg.

What about the slightly dim-witted paddleshift transmission?

Improvements to the Black Series transmission include mounting the gearbox 10mm lower in the chassis to drop the centre of gravity, and quickening up the cog-swapping time. The throttle blips during downshifts are also claimed to be even more outrageous.

Carbon, carbon everywhere

Carbonfibre is used for the new front splitter, side skirts and large rear diffuser, which incorporates quad tailpipes. The carbonfibre aero pack, which comprises the adjustable rear wing and front dive planes, is an optional extra, improving high-speed stability and creating downforce.

Other Black Series upgrades include a carbonfibre driveshaft, and a new electronic locking differential, while the titanium exhaust system contributes 13kg to the SLS Black’s diet – the kerbweight is down from 1620kg to 1550kg. On the tech front, there’s launch control and adaptive sports suspension.

Inside, you’ll note the fully carbon centre console, the lightweight sports seats that save 15kg, and the Alcantara steering wheel. Red detailing marks out the Black Series' cabin as the flagship SLS, as does the lack of the Comand multimedia system – which saves another 6kg (though, as with lightweight Porsches, you can pay to add it back in). Another weight-saving touch is the switch to a lithium-ion battery for starting duty, which cuts out 8kg.

When does the new SLS Black hit the roads?

The car will launch in June 2013, and although Mercedes is being very coy on pricing details, expect the figure to be around £250,000, even before you’ve tinkered with the carbon-tastic options list. Also, despite the Black Series’ name, you will be able to choose from six exterior hues. We hope matt black is among them, Mercedes…