L.A. Auto Show preview: Mercedes-Benz to debut SLS AMG Black Series

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Because the extreme version of Mercedes-Benz’s current supercar, the gullwinged SLS AMG GT, clearly needs more power and less weight, the company announced Friday that it would be bringing to the 2012 L.A. Auto Show, you know, a faster model.

The car is the SLS AMG Black Series.

Black Series is to AMG what AMG is to Mercedes. Only four other production models have had a Black Series variant, the most recent being the 2013 C63 AMG. The philosophy is very simple: turn everything up to 11. We love you, Cleveland.

Photos: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series

This SLS Black Series ups the ante by boosting 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 like revised mapping, a new oil pump, new crankshaft bearings and a revised cooling system.

The seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission now sits a scootch 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 completely 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 lithium-ion battery (a loss of 17.6 pounds) and a titanium sports exhaust system (a loss of 28.7 pounds).

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 (.1 second faster than the GT) 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 back). Buyers can also specify the carbon fiber rear wing you see here.

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.

Unfortunately, as is the case on the SLS AMG Roadster we tested in early 2012, the car still has Mercedes’ outdated center console setup and design. Customers who want to really save weight can delete this Comand multimedia system, a move Mercedes says saves you another 13 pounds.

If all this sounds like something you’d like to drive, you’ll have to wait for it to go on sale the summer of 2013, and though there’s no official word on pricing, expect it to close in on $300,000. If you’d like to stare at it in person before next year, head to the L.A. Auto Show -- which is open to the public Nov. 30 to Dec. 9. -- to see this and several other Mercedes-Benz products the company will debut at the show.



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