2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series first drive review Page 2

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SLS AMG GT Black Series: the basics

The badassery that is Benz' Black Series begins as AMG engineers sniff at the base car's 583 horsepower. Great isn't good enough? A few twists of the usual screws--engineering, workplace/HR, etc.--yield 39 more horsepower from the 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V-8, a net 622 hp in all. New cams and intakes and better cooling are responsible for the rise. Horsepower peaks way up at 7,400 rpm and the AMG engine's spectacular bel canto doesn't brap out until it hits an 8000-rpm redline.

Oh dear, just 468 pound-feet of torque. That is a slip from the stock car's 479 lb-ft, but if you can sense the difference, get your Wolverine-keen senses a drink. It's hardly missed, since there's 154 pounds less to tug around. Carbon fiber subs in for the driveshaft, crossbeams, hood, and tunnel; carbon-ceramic brakes shave off 35 of those pounds; the battery's a lithium-ion unit for another 19-pound drop. The exhaust system's fabricated from titanium alloys, a final concession to get weight down to 3,417 pounds. The sweat equity's paid back in the form of superior weight distribution.

For a final spritz of Black Series freshness, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission's been reprogrammed with a new shift schedule that's closer to race quickness than streetgoing softness. It matches revs on downshifts through its four shift modes, and it's also acquired dampers of its own, to filter out motion it might transfer to the chassis. The track is widened, forcing some mild body accommodation, which in turn cuts a mile per hour off the top end. The Black Series also gets an electronic rear diff lock, staggered 19- and 20-inch treads, and the same two-mode shocks as the rest of the SLS AMG GT lineup.

The bottom line: 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, a couple of ticks faster than the standard SLS, and a top speed of 196 mph, off 1 mph for those aero reasons. Spec hounds know that's not hugely quicker at the first time than a four-door E63 AMG, but warming up for the SLS in that very supersedan couldn't have been a better primer. Those first 3.5 seconds in a straight line? Pretty similar.

Everything that came after? Hmm...a flip through the Pocket Hipster dictionary offers only this: "Not..so...much."

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