Hagerty Video: GT vs SLS: AMG Black Series Head-to-head Review | Henry Catchpole – The Driver’s Seat

Reading Time: 9 minutes
Posted: 2023-10-11 15:00:36
Author: Hagerty
Mercedes’ SLS AMG Black Series and AMG GT Black Series are two of the wildest, rarest, most expensive (and longest-named) cars ever to emerge from Affalterbach. But the reason they feel so extreme might not be the one you imagine.

Think AMG and traditionally you think monster engines. And yes, both of these cars have very impressive V8 hardware under their long, wide bonnets. But with legislation pushing AMG (along with everyone else) towards downsizing and turbocharging in the engine department, it feels like there has been a shift in focus over recent years towards the handling of its cars. It’s been noticeable throughout the AMG range, but nowhere is it more evident than in the Black Series where this trend arguably started with the SLS.

Although they have 622bhp and 720bhp respectively, these are not just straight line super heroes; Both these Black Series creations have a real road racer vibe to them. Inside they might not feel quite as stripped out as a Porsche 911 GT2 RS or a Ferrari 458 Speciale, but the suspension set up feels every bit as focussed. What’s more, the retention of certain creature comforts inside gives both Black Series cars a surprising sheen of usability to go with their huge performance and extreme tyres (particularly in the case of the Cup 2R rubber on the GT).

The end result is that AMG has produced two of the most exciting cars of recent years. We hope you enjoy the visual contrast of the two particular examples in this film – seeing them on the road together certainly felt very special and we want to extend a huge thank you to the owner of the AMG GT Black Series for letting us use his car. If you’d like to follow him on Instagram, then just search for @zencardriver

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Hagerty Video Transcript

AMG is changing and it’s not a little change it’s quite the Contrast 10 years ago this car perhaps seed the seeds of change or rather a return to amg’s racing routes it’s a switch that legislation made necessary but it’s one this latest AMG GT Black Series has fully embraced to devastatingly brilliant effect you can help support these videos by

Joining the hagy drivers Club it includes a subscription to our award-winning magazine unlimited access to our valuation tool 24/7 flatbed roadside assistance free classified listings exclusive coupons and offers and Early Access and VIP perks to select haggy events more info in the link below the ultimate SLS was launched in 2012 at

A price of 230,000 and to be honest nobody really knew what to expect because the back catalog of the Black Series cars had been a bit of a mixed bag the black and black series refers to carbon fiber and all been two doors but other than that there’ been no discernable continuous

Thread through all the models from SLK to CLK from SL to C63 they’ felt like like cousins rather than siblings and then came the SLS Black Series which wasn’t just different to other Mercedes the SLS Black Series felt like a contrast to everything else on the

Road really when it came out and in some ways it still does it’s just so sort of excessive big it’s almost like a sort of 1920s throwback in ways with this huge and I do mean huge Bonnet feel like you could I don’t know set out a full dinner

Party on it or play table tennis across it or something and then there’s this engine this 6.2 L naturally aspirated engine despite the shorter final drive this engine still feels well you have to really think about revving it all the way out it’s just extraordinary DS to 8,000 RPM 622 brake horsepower

468t of torque which is actually 11t down on the standard SLS but this is lighter 70 k or 154 in fact at 1550 kilos it’s not light as a feather but then an SLS Coupe of any flavor has always looked like it could fly thanks to its spectacular doors as I’m sure you

Know they hark back to the 1952 300 SL specifically the w194 race car that led to the w98 road car and while the modern SLS has incorporated the gull wings for purely theatrical reasons they were originally a practical solution you see the originals tubular space frame chassis was light but to improve its

Strength it was also tall at the sides and wide in the Sills which meant conventional doors would have been tiny and made access very tricky but by doing what Bugatti had done with the type 64 and cutting into the roof and fitting the hinges up top things were slightly

Better and much more stylish now while the SLS Black Series doors may be identical to the normal SLS the chassis definitely isn’t this was a big Improvement on the standard SLS suddenly the whole car seemed to sort of move more as one sometimes with the normal car front and rear didn’t

Necessarily talk to each other this was a whole different ball game they likened did it to a GT3 race car and you can see what they mean the SLS is one of those cars that Corners exactly like it looks flat as well as very little roll this

Was stiff too particularly at the rear over bumps the rear could get unsettled amazingly though you learn to trust it it doesn’t exactly shrink around you the extremities always feel out there but there’s this sort of centralization of the mass as you start pushing harder and it becomes somehow a little more dynamically

Compact and although you sometimes still feel yourself rumbling over the cat’s eyes shrinking away from a dry stone wall you can pilot it down a road with surprising pace and precision this hardcore nature really did feel like a change for an AMG the earlier CLK Black Series had had a

Fabulously entertaining chassis but it didn’t have this car’s real road racer character it really does give you all those feelings that if you turned off and and sat on the star gring at the nurur ring you wouldn’t be too out of place this is still so good 10 years

On so its successor has a lot to live up [Applause] to a decade on from the SLS and costing £1,000 more the latest Black Series certainly packs even greater race car aggression into its looks both at a distance with its monstrous adjustable a and bigger Grill and up close when you

Notice things like the cup 2R Rubber and the support struts in the boot peel away the layers even further and there is a carbon fiber Bonnet thinner glass front and rear ball joints in the rear suspension adjustable anti-roll bars and somewhere deep inside the world’s first carbon fiber transmission mount Allin it

Weighs 1520 kilos not super light but 35 kilos lighter than an AMG GTR and 30 kilos lighter than the SLS but is that manifest in the driving experience as soon as you set off in the AMG GT Black Series you can tell it’s from the same family as the SLS not just

The Mercedes Clan but the Black Series family you’ve got various touch points obviously like these seats which are identical and then you look in the door mirrors and realize they’re exactly the same but there’s the same race car feel to this even in Comfort mode when you

Turn into a corner the instant reaction of that front end that’s what lends this in particular I think it’s really extreme feel I think the dampers in this in Sport Plus are probably equivalent to what the SLS has in its standard normal setting in fact so this definitely feels

More usable you’ve got that fantastic lateral grip in here but you’ve just got a little bit more roll as well which is lovely I really like that it doesn’t feel less aggressive doesn’t lack any of those race car Vibes I don’t think in some ways you’ve got more you

Look around the cabin and things like the traction control switch here the carbon you can see on the rear hatch and obviously that enormous rear wing they all give you those race car Vibes but just in terms of that well I suppose to improved damp Tech technology since the

SLS this instantly feels a bit more well yes usable it fits with the interior which as with all black series is a curious mix it’s by no means completely stripped out which feels like an odd contrast at first but this somehow serves to highlight the extraordinary nature of

The car it doesn’t just ignore or totally compromise the road part of road racer you can imagine using and enjoying it an awward L putting miles on it seemingly whatever the speed in this car you’re getting feel from it through the chassis I’d say the steering’s not

Quite as feel so certainly not straight away but the rest of the chassis instantly feel where it Is and like the SLS the harder you push in this the more you energize it the more it comes together the more it comes to you the more you get from it the happier it seems in a way the steering seems to come to you that bit more you think

About getting some warmth into those ties you really feel like you can place it so accurately that agility of the front end that gives you the sort of the excitement the the feels that lower speed as you increase just lets you thread it down the road like this you can certainly see

Why this set such a blistering time around the nuring because for all its aggression it almost becomes friendlier the faster you go it has that SLS thing of being somehow more compact more centralized that nuring lap time by the way was a phenomenal 6 minutes 43.6 seconds with marrow angle at the wheel

And it wasn’t just down to downforce in the chassis the 4 L twin turbo V8 received a St ing amount of attention in a fback for a car only produced in 1,700 units all bit that was considerably more than the 350 examples of the S SLS the

LS2 variant of the m178 engine uses a flat plane crank rather than the standard GT’s cross plane crank allowing for higher revs and bigger turbos with the outputs rising to 720 brake horsepower and 590 lb for the tourque it is as it always has been a fabulous engine but just not quite the

Centerpiece the Crux of the whole car that the previous motors have instead of on a hiding to nothing it it can’t be as emotional and exciting as that incredible naturally aspirated V8 in the SLS but the way that this makes its greater performance more accessible is really

Enjoyable the sound I don’t think is as good as the standard car vo is a REV and this has shorter gears as well so you really feel like you can use all those revs and there’s a definite GT2 RS punch to the way this accelerates superbly powerful carbon ceramic brakes on

This perhaps I’d like just a little bit more progression at the top of the pedal curiously we’ve got sliding calipers on the back which the Optics of those is not great but there certainly no doubting the performance of the braking system overall something I would change these

Paddles I think if I could I think they such an important connection point and whilst I get the rest of this wheel fits with this interior I think the paddles it would be nice to have something know a bit more befitting of the gearbox cuz it’s a really good gearbox and when you

Ramp it all the way up to race you get again like the SLS some of those more hardcore rides with it it makes me so happy that this AMG GT Black Series really does take up where the SLS left off evolving the raw road racer formula further while maintaining

That Mercedes undertone of us ability it’s a beying blend and I love that while legislation has forced autb back’s developmental hand with a literal and emotional downsizing of engines AMG seems to have met the challenge head on it’s taking a chance to change shift some of the focus away from what it’s

Known for and double down on what it started in the SLS Black Series creating one of the sharpest and most engaging chassis in the business AMG has truly turned a negative into a Positive