There are supercars and then there are Super Cars. And most assuredly, one of the latter made an appearance at the Los Angeles show—the 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL 65 Black Series. At first glance, the new Black Series appears to be a standard SL65 AMG, an aggressively styled car in its own right. But closer inspection reveals a car that is more menacing, with shoulders and hind fenders that look like they were lifted from Mercedes' 1997 CLK-GTR race car. Up front, the air scoops are bigger and deeper. The side vents just aft of the front wheels aid engine cooling. In back, a retractable spoiler extends to improve rear grip when the car exceeds 75 mph.
Climb aboard and strap into the driver's seat. Everything inside means business. The interior is furnished in Napa leather and Alcantara, with carbon-fiber trim. All in black. The 360-km/h speedometer and the 8000-rpm tach (with 6250 redline and LED shift lights) are front and center in the instrument cluster, also in black with white lettering. The carbon-fiber AMG sport bucket seats are comfortable, and provide a snug fit and plenty of lateral support for hard cornering.
The engine's specs — 661 bhp and 738 lb.-ft. of torque — are more fitting for the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans than Main Street. Accelerating out of corners is where the Black Series truly shines. Admittedly, with its slight turbo lag and 5-speed automatic gearbox (chosen for its robustness over the new, more responsive 7-speed), the Black Series is a tick slow answering to full throttle. But even before that thought is finished, the 738 lb.-ft. of torque rockets the Black Series down the straight at warp speed.
Will anyone buy an SL65 AMG Black Series for street use? Probably not. But for those few who might, the car is quite civilized on the road. The ride is firm, but not overly so. To truly appreciate the incredible prowess of the SL Black Series, take the car to the track. Its sheer power and speed, together with confidence-inspiring handling, make it one of the most satisfying supercars in the world.