Mercedes-Benz starts testing the SLS AMG Black Series at Nurburgring

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 20, 2011

The 208mph Black Series version of Mercedes-Benz’s SLS AMG supercar was spied being tested at the Nurburgring. This Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series is more powerful but its weight is reduced. It is slated to go on sale in 2013 and is priced at 50% higher than the ‘standard’ gullwinged-coupe. Autocar believes that the automaker first thought about building a Black Series version of the SLS in 2006, which is when the standard AMG supercar started its development.

The SLS GT3 racer seen at the 2010 New York Motor Show displays the Black Series’ dramatic bodywork such as a large fixed rear wing, front splitter, rear diffuser and extra cooling on the bonnet, as well as a wider track.

In 2009, AMG engine boss Friedrich Eichler said that we could expect much more from the SLS’s 6.2-litre V8 engine, which boasts an output of 563bhp and 479lb ft when fitted in the standard car. According to sources, the Black Series may deliver around 600bhp and 500lb ft. Among the modifications that it’s expected to receive are a bigger air manifold, a higher compression ratio and reprofiled camshafts.

The Black Series upgrades may even include a mechanical locking differential. The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox may be tweaked to manage the additional torque.

With the boost in performance, a better aerodynamic package, and the 50kg drop in kerb weight, the model is expected to accelerate from zero to 62mph in 3.5sec and to hit a top speed of 208mph. In comparison, the standard SLS can sprint from a standstill to 62mph in 3.8sec and achieve a top speed of 197mph.

The new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Black Series – featuring a kerb weight of 1,550 kilograms (DIN) -- is around 70 kilograms lighter than the SLS AMG and boasts of having the best power/weight ratio (at 2.45 kg/hp) among all AMG Black Series vehicles so far. This ratio – comparable to that of super sports cars – has been rendered possible thanks to the systematic application of the "AMG Lightweight Performance" strategy.

To achieve such lightweight nature, several elements of the car’s body are made entirely of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). These elements include the bonnet, the diagonal braces on the underbody and the rear panel behind the AMG sports bucket seats, as well as the torque tube between engine and transmission. To note, a torque tube made from aluminum weighs 26.6 kg, while the one made from carbon fiber weighs only 13.3 kg.

In addition, power is transmitted between the engine and the dual clutch transmission through a CFRP drive shaft that weighs around 4.7 kilograms. Further weight savings were also achieved by replacing several parts of the aluminum spaceframe with CFRP components. Instead of using a conventional starter battery, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Black Series employs a lighter -- by eight kilograms -- lithium-ion battery. For a more dynamic drive, the new SLS AMG Coupé Black Series is specified with the AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed sports transmission, which is positioned lower by around 10 mm to bring down the center of gravity.

Moreover, this dynamic dual clutch sports transmission, which is braced against the body by gas-filled struts to better avoid stress cycles, features four driving modes – Comfort (C), Sports (S), Sports Plus (S+) and Manual (M). In particular, S+ and M modes allow the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series to deliver a sportier performance than the SLS AMG and SLS AMG GT models. Dynamism is ensured by the fact that the AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed sports transmission does not only boast of quicker shifting speed, but also offer a faster response to shift commands.

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