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  • Writer's pictureSaku Kusa

Is This Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series Recession-Proof?

It launched during the Great Recession, so maybe this 661-hp roadster is ready for the next one.

Right now, the economy is in sorry shape, careening toward unapologetically bad. But, for the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series, that's nothing new. We first drove one in 2008, during the last major economic crisis, and it seemed right at home, shrugging off the world's financial woes with a $299,000 starting price and a twin-turbocharged V-12 engine making a stump-pulling 661 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque on tap.

Exclusive then, the limited-edition Black Series is more so now. Just 175 made it to America out of 350 total built, which makes it suitably rare. And its swollen, chiseled styling gives it an exotic DTM-racer aura—not to mention the fact that the body, save the rear fenders and the doors, is all carbon fiber. You can see the wing in its up and down positions in the gallery, which raises automatically at 75 mph and pairs with an underbody diffuser to help keep this rocketship planted at Autobahn velocities.

The engine is the star of the show, a hand-built V-12 that displaces 6.0 liters. It's improved from its lesser SL65 sibling with a modified intake tract, a reengineered exhaust, and turbos that breath better. So much better, in fact, that back in 2008 the AMG engineers told us that without an electronic limiter, the engine would make 885 lb-ft of torque, too much for its five-speed automatic transmission.

Staggered wheels wrapped in extreme summer rubber and unique coilovers help the Black Series handle, and large six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers grip vented and perforated rotors. It's no slouch, hitting 60 mph in a still-impressive-today 3.6 seconds and running the quarter in 11.6 seconds at 124 mph. It's limited (remember?) to only 199 mph.

But really, what makes the SL65 Black Series special is its overall vibe—pairing legit performance cred with truly sinister styling. Not to mention that it's built around the SL, a luxury vehicle that hasn't always been as performance oriented as its first iteration or as this one. With its limited production run and ultimate 'Bahn-stormer attitude, this SL65 Black Series—seen here on Bring a Trailer—might just be the best way to ride out a recession in style. Again. โดมิโน่ QQ

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