Mercedes SL65 AMG Black Series (2008)

Published: 25 April 2008

The people at AMG describe the SL63 as a ‘power roadster without equal’, and the introduction of the AMG SL65 Black Series later in 2008 won’t technically change that. Like its SLK55 Black Series predecessor the SL Black’s roof is completely fixed, being a carbon composite structure with an integrated roll bar. The removal of the folding roof and extensive use of composite bodywork – the only shared bodywork with its SL relatives being the doors – has helped AMG lose around 266kg from the SL65’s kerbweight. That should give the ultimate SL a power to weight ratio of around 360bhp/tonne.

I don't want to do any maths. How powerful will the Mercedes SL65 AMG Black be?

The twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12 has been tweaked to produce 670bhp, up from 604bhp thanks to bigger turbochargers running increased boost. Torque will remain unchanged over the existing car’s already ample 737lb.ft. Despite the Black Series’ technology showcase principle AMG’s new MCT wet clutch seven-speed transmission of the SL63 isn’t anticipated to feature in the Black Series. Instead, a version of the SL65’s more conventional five-speed torque converter automatic with a second, faster shifting mode allowing 20 percent quicker gear changes is likely. 

Insiders promise that the changes to the SL Black Series will enable it to accelerate to 62mph comfortably under the 4.2 seconds of the standard SL65, while its top speed is electronically limited to 200mph. 

So the SL Black might be lighter and faster, but will it be lithe?

Extensive changes to the chassis complement the changes under the heavily vented, lightweight bonnet. The track is significantly wider, the SL Black Series almost two metres wide at its wildly exaggerated rear wheel arches. Aerodynamic revisions include a front end that closely resembles that of the SL63 AMG-based F1 Safety Car, while a massive rear diffuser and a moveable rear wing which raises at 100km/h provide downforce and stability at speed. Fully adjustable suspension will allow owners personalisation for track use, the Black sitting significantly lower than the regular car.

Three hundred and fifty are expected to be produced, though that may increase to 400 depending on demand. Think of it as AMG’s farewell wave to the Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR.  A not so fond two-fingered wave, which should cost just short of £200,000 when it arrives later this year.