Wings of de­sire

For some, the $500K twodoor is not a flight of fancy

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

be­gan with a pocket-rocket SLK and most re­cently brought a CLK with Bathurst-style wings to Aus­tralia.

The SLS Black Se­ries re­tains the sig­na­ture gull­wing doors and lux­ury kit but the up­grade is all about the num­bers.

That means 464kW/635Nm, 3.6 sec­onds to 100km/h, 315km/ h at the top end and 70kg less to carry. The engine spins to 8000rpm but also claims a thirst of 13.7L/100km.

Did I men­tion the price— top­ping $500,000— and the fact that fewer than a dozen will come to Aus­tralia?

‘‘ Yes, it is com­ing. We al­ready have a hand­ful of or­ders,’’ con­firms Mercedes spokesman David McCarthy. There are al­ready 69 Black Se­ries cars in Aus­tralia, com­pris­ing C63, CLK and SL ex­am­ples.

The SLS is the work of the tal­ented and fo­cused en­gi­neers at AMG, the hot-carHQ­for Benz in Ger­many and also the source of the E-Class looka­likes that will com­pete in the V8 Su­per­car ti­tle from next year.

The style of the speed­ster is drawn from the GT3 rac­ing ver­sion of the SLS, which is al­ready win­ning in Aus­tralia.

That ex­plains the wild wings front and rear, forged alu­minium rims and gi­ant tyres. But the Black Se­ries car still comes with air­con, power steer­ing, top-end Bang & Olufsen au­dio sys­tem and the expected top-end ex­otic kit.

All of the run­ning gear has been tweaked and tuned, from lower and stiffer sus­pen­sion to big­ger car­bon-ce­ramic brake discs, lithium-ion bat­tery and car­bon fi­bre-re­in­forced plas­tic tail­shaft that weighs only 4.7kg. So, what’s the bot­tom line? ‘‘ We don’t know the price yet. Let’s just say that it won’t be crossed-shopped against any­thing from Hyundai,’’ laughs McCarthy.

That means some­where hand­ily north of a half mil­lion, since the reg­u­lar SLS coupe al­ready costs $468,320 here.

But the price will not be a hur­dle and McCarthy says there are nearly 100 SLS ex­am­ples, both gull­wing coupe and the re­cently in­tro­duced Road­ster, in Aus­tralia

The first Black Se­ries cars will arrive about the mid­dle of next year. Mercedes is con­sid­er­ing an air-freight pre­view car— as with the CLK Black Se­ries— for its cus­tomer drive day on the eve of the Aus­tralian Grand Prix.

‘‘ We might get one. We’ll see,’’ says McCarthy.

Off the track, is there any point to the SLS Black Se­ries?

‘‘ The point is that there will al­ways be peo­ple who can ap­pre­ci­ate what the car is about,’’ McCarthy ri­postes. ‘‘ We’re in the busi­ness of ful­fill­ing dreams.’’

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