As Mercedes-Benz rolls near its final production of the SLS, they have decided to go out with a bang. In comes the mighty SLS AMG Black Series. Lightweight, wider and lower; this would be slickest rendition of the SLS AMG yet. The last of the 6.2 Litre naturally aspirated V8 that racks up a might punch and more importantly its magnificent aural delight. We had to have it, to experience the mechanical prowess created by the beautiful minds of AMG’s mythical engineering department. This is not the last of the SLS for those who are dropping tears; AMG would have the “Final Edition” which should be coming up soon. But the Black Series would the special one; it is in-fact the last hurrah of the SLS and an apt homage to the 300SL with its famous gull-wing doors.
2014 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Black Series Review
At 631 hp, the SLS AMG Black Series is the mightiest gasoline powered, fire breathing, tarmac shredding vehicle that can switch a docile mind into a state of motoring euphoria faster than Clark Kent’s transformation into Superman. Yes, that was a lot of adjectives to describe it, but one should understand that this edition is more than a slight massage to the existing superb SLS. It’s actually an SLS AMG GT3 in street legal trim. It’s what AMG call “a perfect study in the 100% transfer of technology and engineering from motor-sport to the road. The uprated V8 gains the extra 60 horses by having the its max rpm raised to 8000 from 7200. A revised high-speed valve train with modified camshafts, adapted cam geometry and optimised bucket tappets featuring a special coating, that is otherwise exclusive to racing vehicles and modifications of its intake air ducting adaptation to the new maximum engine speed.
The SLS AMG Black Series mechanical grip comes from its bespoke coil-over ‘AMG RIDE CONTROL’ performance suspension, ceramic high-performance composite brake system and the weight-optimised forged AMG light-alloy wheels with the super sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres combine with the electronically controlled AMG rear-axle differential lock and the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission.
That’s not even half the effort; enter AMG’s Lightweight Performance strategy. The Black Series goes into this regimental program and sheds extra flab by switching to a titanium exhaust system (13kgs saved), carbon-fiber prop shaft (13kgs saved), lithium ion battery (8kgs saved), carbon fiber hood and super light-weight allow wheels. But to top it all, the AMG Aerodynamics Package which gives it wings (a big one) and front splitters and massive rear diffusers. Yes, I drooled gallons while shooting it.
As is the case with this homologous version, the seats are full race-spec sans the five-point harness and allow for just forward and reverse movement to adjust to ones sitting position. Other than this the rest of the interior is the same as the, shall we say, SLS but with lots of alcantara lining. The steering wheel trim, the rooflines and parts of the dashboard are draped with alcantara, what’s left is with leather. The center console is trimmed with carbon-fiber. Who said that we’d have to sacrifice creature comfort to experience a die-hard race-car experience. Thankfully not this time, the AC works just fine and so does the radio. Talking about the radio or the usb dock, why would one need to listen to music in the Black Series, the exhaust, OMG, the exhaust note is deep and throaty; Beethoven wouldn’t have been able to compose such a masterful symphony even while popping hallucinogenics of his time.
The firing of the engine is followed by an angry snarl as the best wakes up from its slumber. The gearbox makes the grinding and crunching noise as characterized by the same sound we experienced in the Nissan GT-R. That was a monster in its own right and hearing the all too familiar noise did bring back fond memories and a big smile on my face. Yes, the ingredients are right, the SLS Black Series is a weapon that would need the jaws-of-life to pry me out of it.
Finding my way out to Sh. Zayed Road and gingerly pacing it at the recommended speed limit did not feel like a jaw shattering ride as one would expect from such a homologous series. The ride is harsher than the stock SLS but not hard enough to get out and stretch ones back and legs after a short stint in it. The brakes, though Carbon Ceramic that needs considerable heat to effectively work did an admirable job in city traffic.
Once the city is left behind and I arrive towards the empty stretch where I can work up a sweat, the exhaust note starts crescendoing through the titanium exhaust system and soon reaches an intoxicating level of sensual nirvana. As the objects beyond the windscreen turns into a blur as the speedo passes lift-off speed the SLS feels starts feeling in its element. The aerodynamics, both on and below the car starts to work and you can actually feel the down force sucking the car down like an invisible Dyson vacuum pump. As the corners starts coming up, we switch the suspension to its hardest and pray that the Black Series lives up to its task. The rear end steps out a bit slightly past the apex of a long 90-degree oval turn before being tamed down by its stability electronic wizardry. A series of turns later we were convinced that this monster would tolerate out rather over-enthusiastic right foot. Having the Michelin Cup 2 tires helps too and is able to convey its limits to us. What seems like an eternity is but a few minutes of experience of endless turns obliterated in the SLS Black Series. It turns fast into a corner and claws its way deep into the tarmac with very little under-steer; past the apex and no thanks to our right foot which developed a mind of it own, the tail comes out before being anchored down into submission. Past the apex and while straightening out the steering and the accelerator given a good dose of nudge the gull-winged behemoth obliterates what would have been a straight road before the cycle starts all over again. The brakes worked its magic and scrubbed those over enthusiastic speed with no brake fade and worked in clinical German fashion time and time again.
Lets not be too formal with the SLS Black Series, once you annoy it with a ridiculous pedal input the rear would step out and would require a longer berth to get the front end right side pointing. It is not a machine to be careless with, the traction control would allow for limited slip but would smack the driver if he acts up, just to punish him up. But behave well towards it and it will return the favor ten folds. The SLS Black Series is what we would call the last of its kind. A true free spirited wild animal that needs nerves of steel to tame and once done the experience with it is unmatched. One would love to tango with a German blonde all day and all night long, this is that German blond but in this case she’s a trained KSK (a German equivalent to the US Navy Seals).
|2014 SLS AMG Coupé Black Series|
|Displacement||6208 cc, naturally aspirated V8|
|Rated Output||631 hp @ 7400 rpm|
|Rated Torque||635Nm @ 5500 rpm|
|Kerb Weight||3417 lbs|
|Max. Engine Speed||8000 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||3.6s|
|Max Speed||315 kmph|
|Price (AED)||1,036,000 or USD 281,900|
|Power to weight ratio||2.14 kg/hp|
Images by Brian Donegan & Arnab Saha :