It’s Black power

Mercedes un­veils its quick­est and costli­est car to hit Aus­tralian shores, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE most ex­pen­sive car to wear a Mercedes-Benz star in Aus­tralia has been un­veiled in Ger­many. It will also be the quick­est and one of the most exclusive.

The SL 65 AMG Black Se­ries will cost close to $600,000 when it hits the road, with a top of 320km/h and a 0-100km/h time of 3.9 sec­onds.

In a lot of ways the SL Black is the suc­ces­sor to the Mercedes-McLaren SLR, an F1-in­spired car­bon-fi­bre road rocket which was never brought to Aus­tralia.

Benz is work­ing on a gen­uine su­per­car con­tender for 2010, af­ter let­ting its road car deal with its McLaren grand prix team lapse, but un­til then the SL is its show­piece.

‘‘This is a dream car. It is a car which would be ideal for the race­track, but can also be driven on the road,’’ Mercedes-Benz Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Horst von San­den says.

It is the sec­ond Black Se­ries car for Aus­tralia, af­ter the CLK 63 coupe was in­tro­duced ear­lier this year. The orig­i­nal Black, an SLK, was never im­ported.

AMG, the per­for­mance di­vi­sion of Mercedes-Benz, be­gan build­ing Black Se­ries cars to meet cus­tomer de­mands for some­thing be­yond its reg­u­lar V8 hotrods.

For the SL 65 Black, it has fit­ted a tweaked twin-turbo V12 en­gine with 493kW and 1000Nm. There are sus­pen­sion and body ugrades, as well as mas­sive 20-inch rear wheels and spe­cially tweaked trac­tion con­trol and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol.

The high-tech stuff runs to car­bon-fi­bre-re­in­forced pan­els for the roof, boot, bon­net and front mud­guards. They con­trib­ute to a 25kg weight sav­ing from the pre­vi­ous SL hero car, the 65.

Other im­prove­ments in­clude a wider track, ad­justable sports sus­pen­sion and up­rated brakes.

The big ques­tions now are the price and num­bers.

‘‘We haven’t even got the in­for­ma­tion on how many we will get. We have got our hands firmly up and we’re hop­ing to get 10 cars,’’ von San­den says.

‘‘If you look at our cur­rent price struc­ture, it will be be­tween $500,000 and $600,000. But when you see the car it blows you away.’’

The SL Black is ex­pected around the mid­dle of next year.

Road rager: the Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Se­ries has a twin-turbo V12 en­gine pro­duc­ing 493kW and 1000Nm, and mas­sive 20-inch rear wheels.

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