Every once in a while a car comes along that we term a “crossover”. Now, when we say crossover, we are definitely not talking about a Buick Enclave or a Toyota Venza here. Make no mistake, in no way are we referring to a car that crosses over two different vehicle genres. Oh no, when we talk about a car that can be termed a “crossover-car”, it means something else entirely. A crossover-car is a car that is so beautiful, so special, that it can take a die-hard enthusiast from one car company and make them crossover to become a true lover of another car company. These cars don’t come along too often, but when they do, they are something special. The most recent addition to the crossover-car list is none other than the 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series.
An argument could be made that the SLS AMG could turn quite a few Corvette and Porsche lovers hearts on its own, and a very compelling argument at that. It is a beautiful, intoxicating piece of machinery that has supermodel good looks and a purpose-built motor that not only hurries the gull-winged wonder around the track at a speedy clip, but also manages to stir the soul in the process. That being said, the Black Series of the SLS AMG makes arguing a virtual impossibility. This hi-po variant of the already stunning SLS takes everything we loved already about the car and turns up the obsession factor to the max.
The Black Series gets a hot-rodded version of the standard DOHC 32-valve aluminum V8 SLS engine—revised valve timing, shorter intake runners, and better ignition timing all help to bump the power up by 39 horsepower to the tune of 622 total horsepower at 7400 rpm. Torque does suffer slightly due to the engine changes towards the top end, but Mercedes engineers did counteract the 11 pound-feet loss (down to “only” 468 lb-ft at 5500 rpm), by tweaking the final-drive ratio up from 3.67:1 to a more stout 4.44:1, which should compensate the low-end grunt nicely enough so that no one misses a little bit of engine torque.
The Black Series also managed shave off 154 pounds from the stock SLS AMG for a total of 3550 pounds. Extensive use of carbon fiber help achieve this goal as the torque tube, driveshaft, hood, and a few body panels are all made of the lightweight material. Using titanium for the exhaust cuts off almost another 30 pounds, while a lithium-ion battery and carbon-ceramic brakes combine to drop another 53 pounds. The weight savings combined with the increased horsepower make for a hot-rodder’s dream come true, and the Black Series has the numbers to prove it is the real deal. Fast would be an understatement with 0-60 mph coming up in 3.3 seconds, 0-100 mph in 7.3 seconds, and a quarter mile time of 11.3 seconds @ 127 mph. All of those times are a few tenths faster than the stock SLS AMG, just what you’d expect from a car that is lighter and more powerful, and virtually tie or rival the superstars from both GM and Germany. The Black Series also has stickier tires than the standard car, as well as a firmer suspension, which will no doubt make the Black Series faster around the track as well, because, you know, people were complaining about how slow the standard SLS was around the track normally …
The only downside to the AMG SLS Black Series is that it is about as rare as a unicorn covered in four leaf clovers riding on Halley’s Comet. Only about 200 models were scheduled to hit the US shores, which is a damn shame indeed. Even at a hefty $260,000 a piece, we have no doubt that every one of those 200 have been scooped up, and probably were almost immediately. Mostly because the Black Series isn’t going to draw just the Mercedes faithful, it is sure to bring quite a few new crossovers from all over the world.