The new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Black Series: GT3 performance for the road
Black Series – a name that resonates with automobile experts and enthusiasts. Following on from the SLK 55 AMG Black Series from 2006, the CLK 63 AMG Black Series (2007), the SL 65 AMG Black Series (2008) and the C 63 AMG Coupé Black Series (2011), the fifth exponent sees the Black Series entering a new dimension with the gull-wing model.
"The new SLS AMG Coupé Black Series is a perfect study in the one hundred percent transfer of technology and engineering from motorsport to the road. We have drawn inspiration from the worldwide success of the SLS AMG GT3 customer sport racing car on both a conceptual and a technological level. Boasting numerous lightweight components and fascinating driving dynamics, our fifth Black Series model guarantees pure, unadulterated 'Driving Performance'. The SLS AMG Coupé Black Series is the ultimate choice for fast laps and highly emotional driving experiences", says Ola Källenius, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
"The most dynamic gull-wing model of all time goes by the name of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series. Fans of high-performance super sports cars will be fascinated by its high-tech package. The basis for passionate performance and supreme driving dynamics is provided by numerous new developments in the area of the engine, power transmission, suspension and aerodynamics – also according top priority to our "AMG Lightweight Performance" strategy. Great efforts in the field of lightweight design have resulted in a DIN kerb weight of 1550 kilograms," notes Tobias Moers, head of overall vehicle development and member of the management board of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine a byword for thrilling driving dynamics
The uprated AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine generating a power output of 464 kW (631 hp) and 635 Newton metres of torque is a byword for thrilling driving dynamics, making the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series the most powerful AMG high-performance automobile with a combustion engine at present. Only the SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive with a maximum output of 552 kW comes with greater power reserves.
The SLS AMG Coupé Black Series accelerates to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds. The top speed stands at 315 km/h. The additional 44 kW (60 hp) of power in comparison to the 420 kW (571 hp) offered by the SLS AMG has been achieved by the following measures:
- Increase in maximum engine speed from 7200 to 8000 rpm
- Fully revised high-speed valve train with modified camshafts, adapted cam geometry and optimised bucket tappets featuring a special coating which is otherwise exclusive to racing vehicles
- Modification of the intake air ducting: derestriction and adaptation to the new maximum engine speed
- Adaptation of the engine application and increase in peak pressure
The engineers at Mercedes-AMG have further optimised the crank assembly in the interests of optimum stability in tough racing use. The measures carried out here include modified oil bores in the crankshaft, new crankshaft bearings, a new oil pump and high-strength screwed connections for the conrods. The entire water and oil cooling system for the engine and transmission has also undergone further optimisation. The AMG V8 engine in the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series is additionally provided with a special support system. A gas-filled strut braces the eight-cylinder engine on the body, effectively eliminating undesired load change reactions in highly dynamic driving on the race track. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine is hand-built at the AMG hand-finishing section in Affalterbach, according to the philosophy "one man, one engine". This hand-made quality is confirmed by the black AMG engine badge bearing the responsible engine fitter's signature which is a hallmark of the Black Series models.
The key data at a glance:
Systematic application of the AMG Lightweight Performance strategy
Lightweight at its core: with a kerb weight of 1550 kilograms (DIN), the new SLS AMG Coupé Black Series is not only 70 kilograms lighter than the SLS AMG, but also attains the best power/weight ratio of all AMG Black Series vehicles to date by far. The figure of 2.45 kg/hp will also bear up to comparison in the super sports car scene. Such a ratio is made possible by systematic application of the "AMG Lightweight Performance" strategy. Numerous body elements, such as the bonnet, the rear panel behind the AMG sports bucket seats, the diagonal braces on the underbody and the torque tube between engine and transmission consist entirely of the motorsport material carbon fibre (carbon fibre-reinforced plastic). In contrast to its 26.6-kilogram counterpart with sand-cast aluminium housing, the carbon-fibre torque tube weighs only 13.3 kilograms. As previously, power transmission between the engine and the dual clutch transmission (transaxle principle) which is flange-mounted on the rear axle is effected by means of a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CRP) drive shaft weighing only 4.7 kilograms. A number of parts on the aluminium spaceframe have also been replaced by CRP components. A lithium-ion battery which is used in place of the conventional starter battery saves a further eight kilograms.
Dual clutch transmission for even more emotional dynamism
The overall power transmission system is also a major contributory factor to the outstanding driving dynamics of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission is installed ten millimetres lower in order to achieve a lower centre of gravity for the vehicle and is braced against the body by gas-filled struts in order to avoid stress cycles. The dual clutch transmission features four driving modes (C, S, S+ and M). "Sport plus" and "Manual" in particular provide for markedly sportier performance than with the SLS AMG and SLS AMG GT models. In addition to an increase in shifting speed, the reduced response time to shift commands from the driver and the shifting hardness provide for pure dynamism.
An even more thrilling feature is the automatic double-declutching function during downshifting: the throttle blips when shifting gear are more pronounced and more strikingly audible than ever, due to the AMG titanium sports exhaust system. There is also a new temporary M mode. In C, S or S+ mode, this enables the driver to activate manual mode without having to remove a hand from the steering wheel, by pressing the "up" or "down" shift paddle once. In temporary M mode the driver experiences the dynamism and performance of gear-shifting in manual mode in all of the automatic driving programmes, with automatic up- and down-shifting into the bargain. This allows the driver to devote his full attention to the vehicle's impressive performance.
New, electronic AMG rear-axle differential lock
A newly developed, electronically controlled AMG rear-axle differential lock with a shorter rear-axle ratio replaces the mechanical variant; it is integrated in the compact transmission housing. This system operates with a variable locking effect in acceleration and deceleration mode; in addition, the electronics respond more sensitively than to date, enabling excellent traction for the driven wheels at all friction levels. The electronic AMG rear-axle differential lock also benefits driving safety: in slaloms or when changing lane at high speeds the system has a stabilising effect, as it is able to attenuate the vehicle's yaw rate around its vertical axis. The standard-fit 3-stage ESP® system featuring the functions "ESP ON", "ESP SPORT Handling Mode" and "ESP OFF" is precision-tuned to the electronic AMG rear-axle differential lock. The same applies to the RACE START function, which provides for perfect traction when accelerating from a standing start in conjunction with the electronic differential lock.
AMG RIDE CONTROL performance suspension and sports tyres
The chassis and suspension of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series are also new. The basic layout with double wishbones all-round in aluminium remains unchanged, but barely a component has gone untouched in the interests of much enhanced race track performance.
The new developments in detail:
- AMG RIDE CONTROL performance suspension with tauter basic tuning and electronically controlled two-stage damping (Sport, Sport +) for individual adjustment to the preferred personal driving style
- Coil-over spring retainers to enable adjustment of wheel loads for personal race track set-ups
- Elastokinematics 50 / 42% more rigid (front/rear axle) for greater stability in fast double bends
- Track width increased by 20 / 24 millimetres (front/rear axle) for added grip in fast bends
- New wheel carriers on front axle and new front stabiliser tuning for added grip, reduced roll angle in fast cornering
- AMG 10-spoke light-alloy wheels, in particularly light forged design with optimised strength, painted matt black with high-sheen finish, dimensions: 10x19 at fron; 12x20 at rear. Weight saving: 4.0 kilograms
- Newly developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 sports tyres. Dimensions 275/35 R 19 at front and 325/30 R 20 at rear, for added grip and sporty cornering limit
- AMG speed-sensitive steering with newly defined power steering characteristic for optimum steering precision and outstanding control of the vehicle
- AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system as standard
The brake system of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series boasts excellent deceleration performance and outstanding stability. The AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system comes as standard. The ceramic brake discs measuring 402 x 39 millimetres at the front and 360 x 32 millimetres at the rear feature increased hardness for enhanced thermal stability, accompanied by a weight reduction of around 40 percent. As a result of the reduced unsprung masses, they optimise both comfort and grip. The reduced rotating masses on the front axle provide for more direct steering response. Weight savings with the AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system compared to a conventional steel/aluminium brake system: 16 kilograms.
Design inspired by the SLS AMG GT3 customer sport racing car
The design of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series derives a special fascination from its similarity to the SLS AMG GT3 customer sport racing car. The gull-wing racing car developed in accordance with FIA GT3 rules has quickly become established as a serious contender among the super sports car elite. In the 2012 motorsport season the SLS AMG GT3 is competing in more than 15 series on four continents. The triple victory in the 24-hour Dubai race in January 2012, three driver and team titles in the FIA GT3 European Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and the FIA GT3 World Championship along with numerous places on the podium at various short-distance, 4- and 6‑hour races demonstrate the SLS AMG GT3's sporty performance in impressive style. To date, the car has notched up 37 victories in the 2012 season (as per 28 October 2012).
Wide flared wings with an added width of 13 mm (front) and 26 mm (rear) on each side create the necessary space for the 275 mm and 325 mm sports tyres. Darkened headlamps and black surrounds for the rear lights provide the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series with a muscular and aggressive look. The vehicle's aerodynamic balance is optimised by the front apron and rear apron with diffusor along with side sill panels in Black Series-specific design featuring carbon fibre-reinforced plastic front splitter, carbon inserts in the side sills and the rear apron made of carbon fibre. The enlarged air intakes with carbon-fibre flics additionally ensure an optimum air inflow into the cooling modules at the front.
As on the SLS AMG GT3, the carbon-fibre bonnet features a central air outlet. Apart from effectively discharging the engine heat, this outlet also increases downforce at the front axle and improves the Cd value. The wing-like cross-fin and the star recess in the radiator grille are finished in high-gloss black to match the exterior mirrors and the fins on the bonnet. The carbon-fibre insert on the sides with air outlet and a black fin is also reminiscent of the GT3; this feature also helps to reduce the temperature level in the engine compartment. The upshot is maximum stability, even in tough race track use.
Matt black AMG forged wheels in Black Series-specific design
A striking feature on the sides is the attractive integration of the side skirts, which combine with the side feature line in appealing fashion. The carbon elements fitted along the bottom at the sides continue the line of the carbon-fibre front splitter along to the rear. AMG forged wheels in a series-specific 10‑spoke design, painted in matt black with a high sheen finish, provide glimpses of the AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system. AMG forged wheels in matt black with high-sheen rim flange are alternatively available.
The rear of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series presents a brawny appearance on a par with that of the front end. The wide wings and the striking rear diffusor are the predominant features here. The diffusor extends beyond the profile of the rear apron and produces additional downforce at the rear axle. This results in greater driving stability at high speeds. Visible air openings behind black grilles serve to control the dischrage of hot air in the area of the AMG titanium sports exhaust system. The two sets of twin chrome tailpipes with a square cross-section provide a visual demonstration of the gull-wing super sports car's power and dynamism – an impression that is backed up by a corresponding sound. The exclusive AMG logo with contrasting Black Series lettering in black adds a discreet yet striking touch at the top right of the boot lid.
AMG Aerodynamics package with carbon-fibre components
The SLS AMG Coupé Black Series can be upgraded with the optional AMG Aerodynamics package. This package features a fixed, adjustable carbon-fibre rear aerofoil in the style of the SLS AMG GT3 in place of the standard-fit aerofoil which extends automatically at speeds of over 120 km/h. The rear aerofoil is braced by aluminium elements on a special insert on the boot lid and provides for even greater negative lift force on the rear axle – not least of all as a result of the Gurney flap, named after its inventor, Dan Gurney, a former racing driver, designer and team owner. This eight millimetre-high spoiler lip fitted to the rear aerofoil at an angle of 90 degrees results in a further increase in downforce without significantly increasing drag. The rear aerofoil is complemented by additional carbon-fibre flics on the front apron which further reduce downforce at the front axle, as opposed to the more inward-lying standard-fit carbon-fibre flics which serve to optimise the inflow of air into the cooling modules.
The optionally available expressive colour AMG solar beam is exclusive to the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series. Six other exterior paint finishes from the SLS AMG range are available, including the matt paint designo magno alanite grey.
Sporty, functional interior exuding high quality
A functional, sporty racing-car atmosphere is prevalent inside the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series, with high-quality materials demonstrating precision workmanship and exquisitely designed details. There is a choice of two colour variants: Alcantara® black or Alcantara® black/red. With the two-tone variant, the door centre panels and the applications on the centre console and above the glove compartment are finished in red. The AMG Performance steering wheel with flattened bottom rim section features Alcantara® all round for a good grip. In the top section the steering wheel features a sporty red 12 o'clock marking. The real metal bezel features a high-gloss black paint finish to match the high-gloss black surrounds of the air vents. A particularly high-quality and exclusive Black Series detail is the so-called "3D seam" which runs horizontally along the dashboard: a fine Alcantara® strip in anthracite features across the entire width of the leather covering. Red contrasting stitching in the leather lend an accomplished finish to the 3D seam, underscoring the hand-crafted character.
The combination of designo leather and Alcantara® features throughout the interior – on the bottom section of the dashboard, for example, on the door centre panels and on the AMG sports bucket seats, whose centre sections are covered with Alcantara®. Embossed AMG emblems on the head restraints are further exclusive eye-catchers. In addition to providing first-class lateral support at high cornering speeds, the AMG sports bucket seats are also 15 kilograms lighter than the standard AMG sports seats.
The absence of the COMAND APS multimedia system reduces the vehicle's weight by an additional six kilograms as a further demonstration of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series' uncompromisingly purist character. In place of the screen between the air vents, a carbon-fibre trim element exudes an authentic racing atmosphere. COMAND APS is optionally available ex-factory. The vehicle's occupants will also discover the motorsport material carbon fibre on the entire centre console with the AMG DRIVE UNIT. Bold highlights are added by red seat belts and red contrasting stitching on the AMG sports bucket seats, the centre console, the upper and lower section of the dashboard and the door panelling. The floor mats similarly feature red edging.
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system
A highlight among the optional equipment and appointments is the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system, developed by Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG together with renowned Danish audio specialist Bang & Olufsen. The Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system with Dolby Digital 5.1 enables an exclusive music experience of the very highest standard. This is made possible by a 1000 W amplifier and 11 loudspeakers in conjunction with precise distribution of the music signals by the sound processor according to the selectable seat positions – driver, co-driver or central. The DSP digital sound processor additionally enables the user to switch between the high-end studio sound ("Reference") and a surround sound option. All functions are controlled via COMAND APS (optional item) in a special Bang & Olufsen menu. The illuminated 50 W lens tweeters are a special highlight on the dashboard. The 250 W subwoofer is accommodated in the rear shelf. High-quality loudspeaker covers sporting the Bang & Olufsen logo indicate the high-end system's exclusive character.
Further individualisation options are also available (selection):
- AMG carbon-fibre exterior mirror
- AMG carbon-fibre engine cover
- AMG Interior Carbon-Fibre package
- AMG infotainment system (incl. COMAND APS, AMG Performance Media and backup camera)
- Media Interface
The market launch of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series will begin in June 2013.
* Official photos and details courtesy of Mercedes-AMG GmbH *
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