2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series first drive review Page 3

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Quite the opposite (lock)

Here's the part where we step aside and let the Black Series speak volumes for itself. Mostly.

You don't have to strain to see the Black Series' beefier coachwork--the matte-black wheels are a dead giveaway--or to hear the incredulous gasp and roar of that tremendous AMG V-8, or the frantic light pitch of its Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 treads. But the Black Series doesn't spill all its secrets to the nearest GoPro. It transmits reams of information, sub rosa, through the tires and low-assist hydraulic steering rack. It's not just more communicative than the non-Black SLS as a result, it's more relaxed.

Push the start button, dip a toe into the throttle, and this SLS elides its distinctions very briefly. Roll out of pit lane, bank past a cone, and hear it bark out a four-letter equivalent from deep within those titanium pipes. Whenever this big AMG engine finally goes away, we'll miss it: like the SLS itself, it's one of the most subconsciously American pieces of work to come from Mercedes, including the Alabama-built SUVs.

Flick a paddle and the dual-clutch clings to gears manually as long as you're able and into it. After a half-minute it relaxes back into full automatic cruising, but there's never a stretch at Paul Ricard where that's an option, where a double-downshift isn't warming up on deck. Or just wicked good fun.

Rip around and, try to wipe that smile off, would you please? The Black Series clearly is in love with its leaner body. It's alive, from the faintest feint right or left.

Dig as deeply as you want in the pair of right-handers. Sport-moded stability control lets a righteous amount of oversteer play with the rear end, then clips it safely when the SLS gets too close to a relapse. It's naturally inclined to swing luridly, but the electronics enforce balance on its particular alchemy of power, weight, and distribution.

Finally, when you're totally dialed in--when you're really ready to show off--give the Black Series a half-dose of gas on the 90-degree bend that angles onto the main straight. Perfectly executed, it's the fastest line around.

No time to waste on golf claps. You're on again, this time for a full-throttle assault on the next lap. Try not to do what the car ahead at the very start of the video did.


Ah, wait, before we go, one more thing. It's rare we get sidetracked by an actual track, but we never answered our own question from all the way back in paragraph one.

"Have we driven the SLS AMG GT enough?"


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