Schnell! Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series

Click above for a high-res gallery of the SL65 AMG Black Series.

After months of spy shots and speculation, the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series is finally out in the open. And with a $320,000 price tag, a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 and only 200 units on their way to the U.S., it's a serious stopgap between the deceased SLR and Mercedes' 2011 SLC gullwing supercar.

Mercedes' in-house tuners applied their tried and true philosophy to the SL65 AMG Black Series, beginning with a carbon fiber hood, fenders and trunk, along with nixing the retractable hard top in favor of a fixed carbon fiber roof with an integrated roll cage. As such, the Black is 550 pounds lighter than the stock SL65, coming in at 4,122 pounds.

Seven vents – three in the bumper, two on the hood and two in the fenders – feed copious quantities of air to the 6.0-liter V12, fitted with a duo of upgraded turbochargers. Power is up to 661 hp available at 5,400 rpm, while torque remains the same at 738 lb.-ft. With a five-speed automatic gearbox equipped with AMG's speedshift software, the Black can hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds on its way to a gearing-limited top speed of 199 mph.

Expect the SL65 AMG Black Series to debut in Paris, with sales beginning in the U.S. early next year.

UPDATE: Press release added after the jump.

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Mercedes-Benz debuts SL65 AMG BLACK SERIES coupe

V12-Powered SL65 AMG Rockets from Zero to 60 MPH in 3.8 Seconds

MONTVALE, NJ – Mercedes-Benz is launching an exclusive new model designed to perform equally well on public roads and on the race track. Based on a highly modified and lightened version of the company's revered SL roadster, the new SL65 AMG Black Series coupe features a carbon-fiber fixed roof, front fenders, hood, trunk lid and front and rear aprons. With all these super-strong, lightweight parts, plus the absence of retractable roof hardware, the car is more than 550 pounds lighter than the standard SL.

A Dramatically Bolder Look

With its flatter roof, broader front fenders (nearly six inches wider), large air intakes in the front apron and hood, a rear apron with air diffuser fins and retractable rear spoiler, the new SL65 AMG looks dramatically bolder from all angles.

Weight-optimized AMG forged alloy wheels feature an unusual staggered diameter and width: 9.5 x 19 inches up front and 11.5 x 20 in the rear, with 265 / 35 19 tires in front and 325 / 30 20 tires at the rear. Vented and perforated composite ceramic brake discs are clearly visible through the filigree of the AMG double-spoke wheels – front discs are more than 15 inches in diameter, with six-piston fixed calipers to slow them down, and the rear are 14 inches, with four-piston fixed calipers.

An all-black interior exudes the no-nonsense functionality of a race car. Carbon-fiber bucket seats upholstered in Nappa leather with AMG embossed in the head restraints provide impressive lateral support in fast turns, and a smaller (by 15 millimeters) AMG Performance steering wheel is fitted with aluminum shift paddles for manual shifting. A white tachometer with four integral LEDs alerts the driver about optimal shift points, and a contrasting black speedometer reads to 225 mph.

Even More Twin-Turbo Power

The already formidable 6.0-liter AMG V12 engine has been modified to produce more than 650 horsepower and a staggering 738 pound-feet of torque. Its twin turbochargers are 12 percent larger, passages for intake air and the turbo wastegates have been modified, and the intake air intercooler is 30 percent more efficient. The result is zero-to-60 mph acceleration of only 3.8 seconds, and an electronically limited top speed of 198 mph.

Integrated within the trunk lid, a rear spoiler automatically raises nearly five inches whenever the car reaches about 74 mph, creating downforce on the tail of the car at high speeds. From the rear, the most eye-catching feature is its new carbon-fiber apron with air diffuser ribs. Hidden within it is an active cooling system for the final drive and 40-percent locking differential.

AMG SpeedShift Plus Transmission

The SL656 AMG Black series uses a beefed-up five-speed automatic transmission with AMG's SpeedShift Plus shift control that provides four shift modes: "C," "S," "M1" and "M2," which has 25 percent quicker shift times than "M1." The torque converter's lockup clutch assures direct shifting in all shifting scenarios, right from first gear, while an AMG automatic "throttle-blipping" feature makes downshifting smooth yet exciting, even in power-on turns.

Fully Adjustable Suspension

AMG has developed a fully adjustable sport suspension for the new SL65 AMG Black Series. Adjustable coil-spring struts provide a proven motorsports solution that allows fine tuning of shock absorber jounce and rebound, ride height and wheel alignment.

Spring links camber struts, push-pull rods and wheel carriers have been specially developed for this vehicle. Track width is nearly four inches wider on the new Black Series car. A three-stage ESP feature provides outstanding driving dynamics. With ESP on, the system senses understeer or oversteer and applies the brakes on one wheel to counteract the slide. In the "ESP Sport" mode, the driver can purposely slide the car to its limit of control before the system reacts, while in "ESP off," the system is fully turned off.

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