Nov 23

Black Friday: Driven the Mercedes Benz SL 65 AMG Black

By now you have probably heard of the Mercedes Benz SL 65 AMG Black. It is a bit legendary and why wouldn’t it be with a 6.0 liter V12 sporting bi turbos 661hp and 738lb-ft of torque. Driving one is not something you do, it is an event you attend. I attended that event and here is what happened.

Until the Lamborghini Aventador showed up the SL 65 Black was my dream car. I love muscle cars and that is what it is, a German muscle car. The 738 torque is actually limited because if Mercedes would let all of the torque the bi turbo V12 produces loose it would spin the earth backwards….. Well maybe not, but it would certainly destroy some drive line parts. That only adds to the mystic. The car also looks the part, it takes what is a nice looking but a bit drab SL 65 AMG and adds huge wheel flairs and lots of aero bits to make the car look the part of a Black Series.

To drive the Black is sublime, it is like no other car, it is certainly like no other Mercedes. It’s not comfortable, it’s ride quality is harsh, and it’s quite cramped because of the bolsters on the seats. When you drop this kind of money ($320,000)on something this special you want to know that your neighbors wife won’t have one a week later. She might show up in an SL600, but she won’t be driving the Black. That’s reassuring. Not to mention there are only a few hundred of these in the country.

Aside from the stiff ride and seats the rest of the car is classic Mercedes. You’ll get tons of gadgets and refinement. In fact the car is quite quiet. When it’s turned off. Actually under light driving the car is docile but the harsh ride always reminds you to be careful with the right foot. You should certainly look far head, maybe a couple counties or so before dropping the hammer. Dropping the hammer unleashes the beast with in. The exhaust explodes with sound that is kind of a cross between an old war plane and a large tractor. It’s certainly industrial sounding. In the tradition of Mercedes AMGs of yore it makes a great burble sound when you get out of the throttle. It’s just enough to make you laugh, and to make the guy in the lane next to you wonder what in the hell that noise was.

Dropping the hammer is where the fun starts. As you can imagine there is torque everywhere. In fact the big V12 make peak torque just off idle and carries it all the way to redline. I’ve read complaints about the cars traction control system being a buzz kill. It is not! It won’t let you kill yourself, but it will let you get into plenty of trouble. The car rockets to 60 in 3.6 seconds but the real fun is when you are already moving and you press the warp drive accelerator pedal and it thrusts you back into your seat. We have all heard the old adage of “if you put $100 dollar bill on the dash you couldn’t grab it off.” That certainly is the case with the Black.

Braking is another event all in itself. It hurts, the giant fifteen inch six piston calipers up front could very well pop the eyeballs out of your head. You’ve been warned. The car also feels extremely planted which tells me those brakes are made for the trackin. Of course corners are scarce around here but the car exudes confidence and stability. It has to be an absolute blast on the track. Body roll is non existent. I’ve never been in a car so stiff, there is just no give. This makes those racing seats a must and means you have the confidence to push the car all the way to the limit.

I once had someone describe the BMW M3 to me as a Samurai who uses precision to kill it’s enemy with 1000 cuts. If the M3 is a Samurai, the SL 65 AMG Black is a nuke. There is nothing subtle about it, from it’s aggressive looks, titan rocket like thrust and glorious sound track, it’s one for the ages. They say you should never drive your dream car because you will be disappointed. They are liars. Check another one off the bucket list. Driving the Mercedes SL65 AMG Black is a happy memory I’ll take to my grave.