AMG has kicked off development of a powered-up and pared- down version of its soon-to-be-launched SLS following an official green light from Mercedes-Benz chairman Dieter Zetsche.
The new German super-coupe, tentatively due to go into limited production in 2013, is planned to join an exclusive range of Mercedes-Benz performance cars wearing the AMG Black Series name at a price, Stuttgart insiders hint.
It will add at least 50 per cent to the standard SLS’s UK price of around £155k - a move that looks set to pitch it into direct competition with the recently upgraded Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano fitted with Maranello’s latest handling package upgrades.
Describing the SLS AMG Black Series - plans for which have existed ever since a decision was made in 2006 to revive the Gullwing - Mercedes-Benz insiders have told Autocar it will be differentiated from the standard SLS in very much the same vain as the Chevrolet ZR1 is removed from the Chevrolet C06.
At the heart of the go-fast Gullwing is a reworked version of the SLS’s M159 engine. The 6.2-litre V8, already far removed from similar-sized and configured units found in other AMG models, kicks out 563bhp and 479lb ft of torque in standard guise.
For the SLS AMG Black Series, however, its reserves are set to be raised beyond 600bhp and 500lb ft through the inclusion of a larger air manifold, higher compression ratio, reprofiled camshafts and other unspecified tweaks.
“We’re not at the limit with what’s out there the moment. There’s still a good deal more to come from the engine,” says AMG engine boss Friedrich Eichler. “We’re saving the best until last.”
The uprated V8 will continue to place drive through the SLS’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox to the rear wheels, with a mechanical locking differential set to be included as part of the upgraded driveline package.
Despite running similar gearing, the added engine reserves, together with detailed aerodynamic tweaks and a 50kg reduction in kerb weight, promise to bring the 0-62mph time down from the standard car’s claimed 3.8sec to under 3.5sec, while raising top speed from 195mph to 208mph.