Due for its public debut at the upcoming Los Angeles motor show, Mercedes-Benz AMG has finally revealed images and details of the SLS Black Series. Ever since the gull-winged wonder was first released in 2010, enthusiasts and schoolboys have been anticipating the inevitable ultimate (road-going) version. It'll come as no surprise that the beast in question is wider, harder, faster, and completely awesome.

"The new SLS AMG Black Series is a perfect study in the one hundred percent transfer of technology and engineering from motorsport to road," says Ola Källenius, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG. "We have drawn inspiration from the worldwide success of the SLS AMG GT3 customer sport racing car on both a conceptual and a technological level. Boasting numerous lightweight components and fascinating dynamics, our fifth Black Series model guarantees pure, unadulterated 'Driving Performance.' The SLS AMG Black Series is the ultimate choice for fast laps and a highly emotional driving experience."

Fair enough Ola. The uprated AMG 6.3-liter V8 engine generates a power output of 622 hp and 468 lb-ft of torque making the SLS AMG Black Series the most powerful AMG high-performance automobile with a combustion engine. Only the planned SLS AMG Electric Drive with a maximum output of 740 hp has more power.

The vehicle accelerates to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, and onward to a top speed of 196 mph (315 km/h). The additional 39 hp of power compared to the 583 hp delivered by the SLS AMG GT is courtesy of the following enhancements:

  • Increase in maximum engine speed from 7,200 to 8,000 rpm
  • Fully revised high-speed valve train with modified camshafts, adapted cam geometry and optimized bucket tappets featuring a special coating that is typically used on race vehicles
  • Modification of the intake air ducting: de-throttling and adaptation to match the new maximum engine speed
  • Adaptation of the engine mapping and increase in peak pressure

The AMG V8 engine in the SLS AMG Black Series also has an additional specialized mounting system. A gas-filled strut braces the eight-cylinder engine against the body, effectively eliminating undesired load shifts during highly-dynamic race-track driving (i.e. behaving like a loony).

With a curb weight of 3,417 pounds (1550 kg), the Black Series is not only 154 pounds lighter than the regular SLS, but unsurprisingly also attains the best power/weight ratio by far of all AMG Black Series vehicles to date. Numerous body parts, such as the hood, the rear panel behind the AMG sports bucket seats, the diagonal braces on the underbody and the torque tube between engine and transmission are made entirely from carbon-fiber. In contrast to its 58.6-pound counterpart with a sand-cast aluminum housing, the carbon-fiber torque tube weighs just 29.3 pounds. Carbon fiber components also replace a number of parts of the aluminum spaceframe, while a lithium-ion battery takes on the role of the conventional starter battery, saving an amazing 17.6 pounds – why don’t all cars have them?

The regular 7-speed transmission has of course been breathed on to provide faster shifts and a more pronounced "blip" on downchanges – which should sound hilarious through the the new, even louder, exhaust. The gearbox has actually been mounted slightly lower and, like the engine, is held in place with gas struts to help contain the violence.

Naturally the suspension has been modified for greater rigidity and a new lighter wheel design saves another 8.8 pounds of unsprung weight per corner.

Of course none of this engineering is of any use if the machine doesn’t look the part. The aforementioned wheels now carry 10.8 inch (front) and 12.8 inch (rear) wide sports tires that fill the widened arches. Front, rear and side skirts and a rear diffuser, all in a signature Black Series design style signal the vehicles intent. The package features extensive use of carbon fiber on the front splitter, side sills and rear skirt. The enlarged air intakes with carbon fiber “flics” also ensure optimum airflow into the cooling modules at the front. The rear wheel arches feature massive air-flow oulets.

As on the SLS AMG GT3 racer, the carbon-fiber hood features a central air outlet. Aside from effectively dissipating engine heat, this outlet also increases downforce at the front axle. The wing-like cross-fin and the star recessed into the radiator grille are finished in high-gloss black to match the exterior mirrors and the fins on the hood. The carbon-fiber insert on the sides with air outlet and a black fin is also reminiscent of the GT3; this feature helps reduce the temperature in the engine compartment.

If all of this isn’t quite extreme enough for you then you can option a massive carbon rear wing plus additional carbon flics at the front fro increased downforce, as the cars in the photos are wearing. Just the thing for the weekly shop.

It’s clear that a huge amount of real engineering development has been carried out over the past year to create what will be AMG’s flagship vehicle. It’s quite likely that many of these cars will be purchased simply as toys for posing, but its nice to know that you really are purchasing the closest thing to a GT3 racer for the road that will undoubtedly be a complete hoot on a track.

Available Mid-2013, the price is likely to be north of US$400,000

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