A-Z Supercars: Mercedes SL65 AMG Black

With even more power than the McLaren SLR, the Mercedes SL65 AMG Black was AMG showing its wicked side

The SL65 Black has the presence of a flame-thrower in a ticker-tape factory. It doesn’t even look much like the car it’s based on. Apart from the grille, lights and doors, the SL bits have been completely subsumed by the mostly carbon Black Series bits, which add girth, attitude, price and exclusivity in unprecedented quantities but, via some clever re-engineering and ditching the folding Vario roof for a fixed one, cleave a handy 250 kilos from the kerb weight, too.

You’d imagine that the benefit of this – along with a hand-built 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 generating 661bhp at 5400rpm and a capped torque output of 737lb ft between 2200 and 4200rpm (otherwise it would be a transmission-trashing 900lb ft plus) plus a completely re-worked chassis – would be hard to overestimate.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

But despite its visual potency and turbo-massaged firepower, the SL65 Black lacks the true drama of a full-on mid-engined supercar. It has a curiously calm aura, an implied ‘don’t make me angry, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry’ threat, but securely locked away until needed. The cabin is much like any other SL’s. The aluminium paddles provoke a twinge of extra excitement, but then you remember they’re hooked up to Merc’s old five-speed auto – albeit with uprated hydraulics for faster shift speeds – rather than the properly sophisticated seven-speed semi-auto from the much cheaper SL63 AMG.

Then there’s the sonic contribution of the engine, which seems to have no mechanical ‘edge’ at all, merely numerous, minutely varied layers of ‘whoomph’. It’s subdued from the inside, too, and fails to make the electrical connection with the small hairs on the back of your neck. For all its jaw-dropping pace and sensational on-road presence, the SL65 Black is neither a hardcore track tool nor a truly inspiring supercar.

Specifications

Years made 2009-2010 Engine V12, 5980cc, twin turbochargers Max power 661bhp @ 5400rpmTorque 737lb ft @ 2200-4200rpm 0-60mph 3.8sec Max speed 199mph (limited)Price £250,000 new, c£200,000 today

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/ford/focus-hatchback/202030/2019-ford-focus-ecoboost-review-a-family-favourite-past-its-prime
Ford Focus Hatchback

2019 Ford Focus EcoBoost review

Some might suggest the UK is falling out of love with family hatchbacks, but the Focus EcoBoost is a good reminder of why it remains a compelling pack…
9 Dec 2019
Visit/mercedes/18211/mercedes-amg-one-hypercar-shown-in-new-teaser-video
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG One hypercar shown in new teaser video 

AMG’s F1-powered ultimate hypercar has been shown on track in a new clip
6 Dec 2019
Visit/mclaren/202028/mclaren-620r-goes-for-the-gt3-rs-jugular
McLaren

McLaren 620R goes for the GT3 RS jugular

Limited run extreme Sports Series McLaren 620R road car brings GT4 aero to the road.
9 Dec 2019
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019