Nowadays, the whole car world transits towards small engines with massive turbos and electrification. But, not too long ago, there was a time when big engines, a lot of noise, and raw, brutal power were the norm. In this world of lunacy that is the stuff of nightmares for every environmentalist, AMG had one of the top spots reserved, and today, we should look at one of their best creations: the SL 65 Black Series.
Nowadays, AMG is starting to fall under the monotony that defines the evolution (or degradation) of our petrol-burning world – turbo four-bangers and electricity. Now, I can’t blame them; it’s where the world is heading, and if they want to continue existing, they must comply. But there was a time when AMG said, “Yeah, rules? Restraint? We don’t do that.”
Before looking at the car itself, we should quickly review AMG’s history to understand its philosophy correctly. The mad tuning scientists started life in the 1960s with two colleagues, Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher. The pair started working in Grossaspach, hence the name – AMG.
Their first extravaganza was modifying a 300SEL into a track monster. You would expect it was a flop – you’d be insanely wrong. The wide-bodied, 420 hp (426 ps) V8-powered monster called the Red Pig decimated purpose-built racers. That gave AMG massive “street-cred,” and soon after, everyone wanted a cool Mercedes tinkered with by AMG.
That moment started more than half a century of lunacy, with AMG cars suffering from a severe case of split personality. On the one hand, they are comfortable cars that can transport you in utmost luxury, but mash your foot on the gas and watch it become a savage beast ready to tear your face off and demolish tires.
And this split personality transfers us swiftly to the car we are talking about today -– a 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series. Before discussing the vehicle, we should see what that Black Series designation means.
The Black Series name is prestigious, as it was bestowed on only six AMG models since its first appearance in 2006. It was created as a part of refocusing at AMG. The Black Series models were a step above the normal ones and could be bought and configured through the new addition of Performance Studio.
The monster we have here is part of that select group. It is based on the R230 generation of the SL but shares very few things with the standard cruiser. Starting with the outside, specifically with the roof, the retractable hardtop of the regular SL is gone for the Black Series, in its place being a fixed roof, with a lower roofline and a more significant and more raked rear window.
A quick peek at photos of this car shows that it displays an aggressive stance. Thanks to the Black Series treatment, which comes with carbon-fiber bodywork, making it wider than the already girthy normal SL 65. The fender flares add 4.1 inches to the rear and 4.5 inches to the front, making room for big rubber – 325s in the back and 265s in the front. The Michelin Pilot Sport tires are wrapped around AMG twin-spoke alloy wheels, measuring 19 inches at the front and 20 at the rear. Topping the mean-stance is a sinister Obsidian Black paint job.
Moving on to the inside, the cabin is your classic Mercedes armchair-of-a-seat but with a sporty twist. The sports seats are upholstered in black leather, as is everything else in the cabin. Your comfort amenities are plentiful, with dual-zone climate controls, Keyless-Go, and a Harman Kardon LOGIC7 sound system, to name a few.
What you’ll use to keep this rocketship going in a somewhat of a straight line is a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, which fronts a 220 mph (354 kph) speedometer and an 8,000 rpm tachometer, among a few other gauges.
Now, it’s time we get to the main attraction of this car – the power plant. And what a power plant it is. It measures 6.0 liters (366 ci) in displacement spread across 12 cylinders. Of course, some lunatic at AMG thought that was not enough and decided to slap two turbochargers into the formula. The result is an insane 661 hp (670 ps), 50 hp (51 ps) more than the normal SL 65. But the real kicker is this – the torque. It has 1,000 Nm (738 lb-ft) of torque! That’s enough to restart a dead planet, to quote Mister Clarkson.
All that monstrous power is sent to the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic gearbox and a limited-slip differential. This enables it to hit a top speed of 199 mph (320 kph), that is, get this, electronically limited. How is 199 mph a LIMITED speed? Slowing you down from that hyperspace you’ll jump into are slotted and cross-drilled rotors on all four corners and AMG-branded calipers over them.
See, this is the lunacy I was talking about. This car represents the insane AMG that lights up the rear tires at any speed in any gear. Yes, the ones of today are fast and marvels of technology, but I think they lost their spirit along the way, when it comes to sheer psychotic driving. But, if you want to experience that and have deep pockets, this particular SL 65 Black Series is up at auction in Upper Holland, Pennsylvania. It has 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers) on the clock, and it comes with the original window sticker, a clean Carfax, and a clean Montana title. It currently sits at a hefty 333,000 dollars, with another eight whole days left on the auction, so we should keep an eye out as it’s prone to go for a lot more than this.