Mercedes-Benz has no mainstream product to show off to the world at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, so it brought some eye candy instead. The automaker on Wednesday unveiled the SLS AMG Black Series, an ultra-hot version of the company's SLS AMG supercar and seven-passenger GL SUV.
That Mercedes would use the L.A. Auto Show for this AMG showcase isn't a coincidence; the company says just under a third of all AMG sales are in California.
Only four other production models have had a Black Series variant, an even faster version of already modified AMG cars, the most recent being the 2013 C63 AMG.
"It's the highest expression of AMG performance," said Steve Cannon, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. As such, this SLS Black Series boosts the SLS GT's 583 horsepower to 622 horsepower, while torque actually drops from 479 pound-feet to 468 pound-feet. The engine's redline jumps to 8,000 rpm and it gets other revisions including a new oil pump, new crankshaft bearings and a revised cooling system.
The seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission now sits lower, and two of the gearbox's four drive modes have been retuned for more aggressive and faster shifts. The SLS Black Series also gets a revamped suspension system with two selectable modes, the car's track has been widened, and the speed-sensitive steering has been revised. This SLS also benefits from standard carbon-ceramic brakes.
Further weight savings come from a titanium sports exhaust system. All told, these changes add up to a weight savings of 154 pounds from the SLS GT, for a total curb weight of 3,417 pounds. The car will do 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds on its way to a 196-mph top speed.
Mercedes says the car draws its exterior design inspiration from the company's SLS AMG GT3 racecar. The Black Series gets flared fenders, tinted headlights, carbon fiber side skirts all around, a rear diffuser, a carbon fiber hood, and matte-black alloy wheels, 19-inch in the front, 20-inch in the rear. Buyers can also specify a carbon fiber rear wing.
Inside, the car comes with Alcantara trim in red or black, a flat-bottom steering wheel, a carbon fiber-lined center console, and an 11-speaker, 1,000-watt Bang & Olufson sound system.
The car will go on sale in summer 2013, Mercedes says. Though the company has not specified pricing, expect it to close in on $300,000.
This wasn't the only AMG product the company had on display. A GL63 AMG also made its North American debut. This seven-passenger SUV has 550 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. It will do 0-60 in less than five seconds, making it one of the quickest ways to get the whole family to grandma's house this holiday season.
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