When AMG first graced the Mercedes 300SEL in the late ’60s, a legend was born. Dubbed the “rote sau” (German for red pig), the full-size Mercedes was no lightweight. But with AMG’s help, the 300SEL went on to win its class at the 1971 24 Hours of Spa, placing second overall. From then on, AMG’s name was synonymous with pure performance.
AMG is at it again with their Skunk Works-inspired Black Series models: the CLK63 AMG Black Series and the new SL65 AMG Black Series. The German tuning giant is out to one-up the competition, and if the initial reports are any indication of the performance enveloped within the Black Series lineup, the competition stands to lose sizeable sleep.
First sold in the United States in 2007, the public has gotten to know the CLK63 Black Series’ carbon fiber-clad front fascia, massively flared fenders and signature gunmetal black badging quite well. For 2009, the CLK63 Black Series gets an extra 25 horsepower thanks to a revised intake and exhaust system, bumping total engine output to an even 500 ponies. This allows the CLK to accelerate to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. To maintain the same aggressive stance, no significant changes have been made to the CLK63 Black Series’ exterior. Looking thoroughly like a DTM car, the CLK63 Black Series will do a good enough job of convincing your neighbors that you are in fact Hans Stuck in disguise. That is, until you upgrade to the SL65 AMG Black Series, where your secret identity will then be suspected to be none other than Lewis Hamilton.
Nothing short of Mercedes’ own soon-to-be-retired SLR McLaren even comes close to the SL65 Black Series. With an ungodly 661-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 6-liter V12 engine, the SL65 Black Series is easily the most powerful Mercedes-Benz ever built for civilian consumption. While no official testing has been performed yet, 0-60 time is rumored to be in the low 3-second range. With 738 lb-ft of torque at your disposal, that’s no surprise. However, such impressive acceleration would never be possible without the help of electronic driving aids such as Mercedes’ advanced traction control system.
What’s most exciting about the rumors surrounding the SL65 Black Series’ performance is the possibility of a sub-7.5-minute lap around the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife. While it’s still just speculation, the idea is not so far-fetched. Through the use of composite materials such as carbon fiber, AMG has gotten its Black Series SL nearly 300 lbs. lighter than the standard SL65. Combine this with Mercedes’ Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and the wide, sticky Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tires, and you’ve got all the makings of a wickedly fast car. But could it be the fastest street-legal car ever to lap the ‘Ring? Only time will tell.
AMG’s latest creations hearken back to the days when silver arrows reigned over road courses all around the world. While we may be celebrating and remembering the success of the “rote sau” today, years from now, people will certainly recall the Black Series models as being some of the most potent machines of its time.