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01 December 2008

2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series

The SL 65 AMG Black Series:
When a "Regular" SL-AMG is Just Too Common

The Mercedes-Benz AMG division has been building serious German sports cars, fast and agile enough to run with anything in the world for several years now, but the Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series is unlike anything ever to come from the German luxury mark.

AMG cars, similar to BMW's M-Series and Audi's S and RS lines, take already outstanding German luxury sports cars, beef up the engine and fine tune the handling, slap on some fancier leather and raise the price by tens of thousands of dollars.

Mercedes-Benz has realised, though, that for some discerning--read: way too rich--buyers a "regular" AMG Mercedes sports car is not enough. For these trendsetters and newsmakers, Mercedes has begun to release ultra-exclusive AMG Black sports cars, which take the AMG treatment Mercedes now gives nearly every model in its range and turn it up to 11.

The Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series, with its top speed of 199 mph (electronically limited, AMG reminds us), is now the top performing Benz south of the ridiculous SLR McLaren. The beefed up SL 65 styling, though, may be preferable to some, with its wide body kit, tasteful high-speed deploying rear spoiler and huge rear end, ready to make Autobahn drivers cry.

Power comes by way of a sweet 6.0 liter 12 cylinder motor, and there is plenty on tap. Even an Audi R8 looks positively anemic when compared with the SL 65 AMG Black, leaving Mercedes-Benz' German rivals with some catching up to do in the ultra sports car segment. No base price is listed, but bet the SL 65 AMG Black will run for north of $200,000 when it is available through special order soon.

The Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series - the exclusive high-performance coupé for the discerning motorist

[Courtesy Mercedes-Benz Press Release]

Affalterbach - Sensational appearance, unique performance data, with light-weight design throughout and total exclusivity - that's the new Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series. This high-performance coupé is a motorsport engineering thoroughbred, opening up new drive dynamic vistas to sports car enthusiasts. The AMG 6.0 litre V12 biturbo engine, with a maximum output of 670 hp and 1000 Nm of torque, guarantees super sports car level performance. The powerful two-seater was developed in the AMG PERFORMANCE STUDIO and represents the continuation of the highly successful Black Series strategy pursued by AMG, the Mercedes-Benz Cars Performance brand.

Broad, muscular and ready to pounce - that's the new Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series. Even when stationary, the coupé'ssuperlative dynamism can arouse great passions. The strikingly broad mudguards, the retractable rear spoiler and the rear apron with diffuser fins point unmistakably to its motorsport origins, part of the Mercedes-AMG corporate philosophy for more than 40 years. One glance at the new SL 65 AMG Black Series and you are reminded of the successful AMG racing sports cars like the present DTM C-Class or the 1997 CLK-GTR from the FIA-GT series.

Wide cooling air apertures in the front apron and the bonnet are the clearest indication of the massive power of this AMG twelve-cylinder, biturbocharged engine. From its 5980 cubic capacity, the AMG V12's engine generates a maximum power of 670 hp at 5400 rpm and an electronically limited torque of 1000 Nm between 2200 and 4200 rpm. Without a limiter, the AMG 6.0 litre V12 biturbo engine, which is hand-built in the AMG engine factory in accordance with the "one man - one engine" philosophy, would achieve a maximum torque of 1200 Nm. Compared with the basis power pack in the 612 hp SL 65 AMG, new turbochargers were developed for the 12-cylinder SL 65 AMG Black Series engine.

The turbochargers' spiral cross-section, now 12 per cent larger, and the optimised wastegate ducts permit increased air throughput and an even more impressive display of power in all engine speed ranges. The modified intake air ducting results in an even more spontaneous response. The new design for the AMG sports exhaust gas system's rear silencers reduce the exhaust gas backpressure and help increase the power output. The acoustic side effect of this is to produce a distinctive 12-cylinder sound, typically evocative of AMG engine tuning, from the two trapezoidal tail pipes. The low-temperature charge air cooler, now 30 per cent more powerful, and the optimised water cooling system guarantee not only that the power generated under extreme dynamic driving conditions is exploited to the maximum but also the greatest possible fatigue strength at high outside temperatures.

Unique performance thanks to attractive power-to-weight ratio

The extraordinary engine specifications, which make the SL 65 AMG Black Series the most powerful AMG model yet, help to produce unique performance data: from a standing start, it takes just 3.9 seconds to reach 62 mph; top speed is 199 mph (electronically limited).

Equally responsible for its excellent dynamics is the attractive power-to-weight ratio of only 2.79 hp/kg, resulting from the comparably low unladen weight of 1870 kg, according to EU standard measurement. This makes the SL 65 AMG Black Series some 250 kg lighter than the SL 65 AMG - a respectable weight saving due specifically to the use of lightweight construction.
Numerous bodywork components are made of high-strength and particularly light carbon fibre composites (CFRP), a well-proven motorsports technology. The 14 cm wider front mudguard, the front apron with the visible carbon front splitter, the bonnet and the boot lid are all made from CFRP. Large apertures in the bonnet ensure that excess heat is reliably ducted away from the engine. "V12 Biturbo" lettering on the front mudguards gives an indication of the engine's power.

New CFRP roof with integral roll-over bar

The whole CFRP roof shell has taken on a completely new design. Not only does it now have an integral roll-over bar but, by no longer having the typical SL vario roof installed, the roof line has a significantly flatter profile. This is also evident from a glance at the bigger rear window, now placed at a less sharp angle to the boot lid. The CFRP rear spoiler, concealed in the boot lid, automatically extends 12 cm at 75 mph, effectively reducing the lift force on the rear axle at high speeds. Looked at from the rear, the conspicuous feature is the new rear apron with its visible carbon diffuser. Concealed within it is the active cooling system for the rear axle locking differential.

New, weight-optimised, twin-spoke design, AMG forged alloy wheels - 19 inch wheels at the front and 20 inch at the rear - impressively occupy the whole of each wheel housing. With their black paintwork, high-sheen surface and matt finish, they lend a note of extravagance to the side profile.

Power transmission with double-declutch function and four transmission modes

Matching the outstanding performance potential and the versatile drive dynamics, the SL 65 AMG Black Series also displays its power pack and suspension at their best. An AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS five-speed automatic gearbox transmits power to the rear wheels. There is a choice between four transmission modes: "C", "S", "M1" and "M2" which has gearshift times 25 per cent quicker than the "M1" mode. The torque converter's lockup clutch guarantees extremely direct gearshifting in all driving situations right from first gear. The automatic double-declutch function not only makes shifting down a more pleasurable task, it also ensures that the load alteration effect is reduced.

AMG adjustable coil spring sports suspension and 3-stage ESPÒ

As for the suspension, the AMG experts have put their trust in a new design. The AMG sports suspension has been designed on adjustable coil spring lines; this well-proven motorsports solution allows the shock absorbers' rebound and compression stages, the ride height, wheel alignment and camber to be adjusted. This means that the driver can adjust the suspension to suit his own personal specifications when driving on racing circuits. The spring links, camber struts and pull/push rods on both axles are new developments and each axle has a weight-optimised aluminium wheel carrier. Compared with the standard SL 65 AMG, the Black Series front axle track width is 97 mm wider and the rear axle track width 85 mm wider. The new front axle kinematics produce an 8 per cent more direct steering ratio; and the completely re-designed elastokinematics ensure noticeably greater steering precision. A multiple-disc limited-slip differential on the rear axle with a 40 per cent locking effect guarantees optimum traction.

The 3-stage sports function ESPÒ is a by-word for maximum driving pleasure and outstanding drive dynamics: The driver can choose between "ESP ON", "ESP SPORT" and "ESP OFF" by pressing the ESPÒ button; the AMG instrument cluster will then show whichever mode is currently activated on the central display.

Sports tyres and composite disc brakes for best performance

The wheel-tyre combination chosen is also responsible for a superb performance by the SL 65 AMG Black Series on racing circuits. 265/35 R 19 tyres are fitted to 9.5 inch wide AMG light-alloy wheels on the front axle. The impressive format for the rear axle is AMG 11.5 x 20 light-alloy wheels with 325/30 R 20 tyres. Dunlop, DTM's motorsports partner, supplies the "Sport Maxx GT" sport tyres which provide particularly good grip and permit astonishing cornering speeds.

The large AMG high-performance brake system can be seen through the filigree structure of the AMG twin-spoke light-alloy wheels. Internally ventilated and perforated disc brakes engineered in particularly strong composite materials are employed all round. On the front axle, braking is undertaken by six-piston fixed callipers and 390 x 36 mm discs; on the rear axles, this task is carried out by four-piston fixed callipers and 360 x 26 mm discs.

A functional and lovingly designed interior

Nappa leather, Alcantara and carbon: the interior of the SL 65 AMG Black Series provides the perfect ambience to set the pulses of sports car enthusiasts racing. The interior, entirely in black, exudes the functional atmosphere of a genuine racing sports car while the lovingly designed details have the power to captivate.

Newly developed AMG sports bucket seats made of CFRP (ECE version only) provide perfect lateral support for the occupants when taking bends fast. The seats without side airbags are upholstered in fine-grained nappa leather and Alcantara with embossed AMG lettering in the head restraints. With its 15 mm smaller diameter, flattened lower profile and with both sides perforated for easier grip, the AMG Performance steering wheel provides maximum vehicle control. The silver-coloured aluminium shift paddles allow manual gear selection.

Additional highlights in the centre console are the high-quality carbon trim parts, the gleaming matt start/stop button, the new selector lever with carbon inlay and the AMG logo with "Black Series" lettering. Matching features are the carbon door centre panels with embossed AMG lettering, together with the roof lining and the A and C-pillars upholstered in Alcantara anthracite.

The AMG instrument cluster is a completely new design. The black speedometer with its scale reading up to 220 mph has also been re-designed; and the same is true of the white rev counter which has four integral LEDs to advise the driver of the optimum gearshift points.

Exhaustive development in all the world's climate zones

Exhaustive development and testing of the SL 65 AMG Black Series began in 2006. AMG engineers and technicians test drove 10 prototypes and experimental vehicles in all the world's climate zones. Whether it was fast circuits of the Nürburgring, high-speed test driving in Nardo (Italy), wind tunnel testing, intensive test driving in summer heat or the cold of the Arctic or actual crash testing - the new AMG high-performance coupé had to prove its production readiness under all conditions. In total, the SL 65 AMG Black Series was test-driven for roughly 30,000 km on various circuits, 15,000 km of which were on the Nürburgring north loop alone, acknowledged to be the world's most difficult race circuit.

Like the SLK 55 AMG Black Series and the CLK 63 AMG Black Series before it, the SL 65 AMG Black Series was also developed in the AMG PERFORMANCE STUDIO, which opened in 2006. The first vehicles will be delivered to customers, starting in November 2008. Further information about the SL 65 AMG Black Series is on the Mercedes-AMG website under

2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series SpecificationsDrivetrain
Transmission AMG Speedshift Plus 5-speed Automatic With Manual Shift Control
Layout Front Engine, RWD
Differential Multiple-Disc Locking Rear Limited Slip


Displacement 5980 cc
Engine Type 36 Valve 12 Cylinder
Horsepower 670 hp @ 5400 rpm
Torque 738 lb-ft. @ 2200 rpm
Compression Ratio 9.0: 1
Bore X Stroke 82.6 x 93.0

Exterior Wheels (F) 19 in. x 9.5 in. AMG Alloy
Wheels (R) 20 in. x 11.5 in. AMG Alloy
Tires (F) 265/35 R 19
Tires (R) 325/30 R 20


Top Speed 199 mph (Electronically Limited)
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) 3.9 sec
Power-to-Weight Ratio 2.79 hp/kg

Base Price: 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series - Rumored Above $200,000

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