The SLS AMG was the first car designed in-house by Mercedes-owned tuning subsidiary AMG, and what a debut. Since it came out in 2010, it's been praised as one of the most graceful cars on the road and, thanks to its 583 horsepower V-8, one of the fastest. Ever since the car debuted, though, we've all been waiting for a "Black Series" version of the car. Previous Black Series cars have shown what AMG can do when they pull out all the stops, so the expectations for this car, the fifth Black Series model, were always going to be high.
Like its stablemates, the new SLS AMG Black is a pretty bonkers car that, first of all, makes hardly any sense as a street car and second of all will probably have a pretty limited customer base. But that's why people love these AMG-Blacks. It's for their lunacy that people admire them, and although this new iteration of the SLS isn't quite as over the top as some of the others, it's still a wild child worthy of the Black Series name.
SLS racing cars have been tearing it up on tracks all over the world for a couple of years now, and this SLS is essentially the GT3 racer tamed for the road. It makes for a car that will likely be irritating on the road, but a dream on the track. As far as power goes, the 6.2 liter DOHC V-8 gets a 39 horsepower bump to 622 thanks to new intake and cams, and with an 8,000 rpm redline the motor is a real screamer. Torque is down a few, but because of clever substitutions of carbon fiber (including carbon ceramic brakes), a lithium-ion battery, and titanium alloy exhaust, there are around 150 less pounds of car to worry about. The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox has also been reworked to be more track-oriented, and has been installed 10mm lower to reduce the center of gravity. Suspension is of course stiffer, and there is a rear-axle differential lock. The car has been widened and has a couple of other aerodynamic tweaks, including the obligatory rear wing.
In a straight line, all this tweaking makes for a zero to sixty sprint in the mid-3 second range, a few tenths faster than the standard car, a sub-12 second quarter mile and roughly the same top speed, just shy of 200. But it's around the fast sweepers and tight hairpins that this car will really shine. The sound department is another place where this car will stand out. That magnificent V-8 really does make a breathtaking sound. But, as is often the case, a car developed by engineers with minds focused on the track will be brutal on the street, and not the good kind of brutal. No, this is a weekend toy, not a commuter supercar like the standard SLS, and at $250,000, it's a pretty extravagant toy. So much of this car doesn't make a lot of sense in the real world, and therefore it ticks all the Black Series boxes.