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SL65 Black Series blows its top

2011-05-04 10:56

SUPERCAR SUN SEEKER: This is what Joachim Inden thinks AMG should have done with the SL65 AMG Black Series all along.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Model SL65 Inden Black Series
Engine 6l V12 turbo
Power 493kW
Transmission Five-speed auto
When it was launched at the Johannesburg international auto show back in 2008 the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series was the second most focused performance car Affalterbach had built for road use (the first, of course, was the legendary CLK-GTR).

Despite its please-arrest-me-officer looks and finessed dynamics there was an issue with the SL65 AMG Black Series in that it was not really an proper SL at all due to its fixed roof. Enthusiasts did not mind this nomenclature discrepancy and the car has done well for AMG.

German tuner Joachim Inden took exception to the absence of a proper retractable steel roof on the SL65 AMG Black Series and decided to craft one in his workshop, located in the rustic surrounds of Flammerbach, just outside of town Haiger, north of Frankfurt.


Working off the standard SL65 as a platform, Inden has added a body kit containing a new front apron (with generous air vents), reshaped bonnet, wider fenders (and of course obligatory, flared wheel arches), side skirts and an aft deck-lid spoiler underscored by a diffuser.

All these airflow management add-ons manage to disturb the outstanding styling harmony the SL65's original shape, especially those 20-inch champion split-rim alloy rims Inden’s optioned for his "Black Series" project car. The orange brake callipers? Undoubtedly a rather tasteless contrasting styling element but they do make a change from the regulation red applied to brake systems of aftermarket converted cars.

However one might feel about the Inden SL65’s styling, there is no argument concerning its substantial presence, especially viewed from the rear. With an aftermarket lowering kit at each wheel Inden's "Black Series" rides 45mm lower and looks absolutely sinister finished in midnight black.


Beyond its questionable looks the raison d'être of Joachim Inden’s handiwork is to provide Black Series performance with retractable steel roof open-air motoring. To this end the six-litre turbocharged Mercedes-Benz V12 gains a custom exhaust and reprogrammed ECU. This combination raises power from 450 to 493kW, matching the peak output figure of AMG’s fixed-roof SL65 Black Series.

A job well done then? Perhaps. Why anybody would require pseudo Black Series performance from a car as elegant (and staggeringly fast) as the standard SL65 AMG, is an open question. What we do know is that Inden’s idea of replacing the standard SL65 steering wheel with a flat-bottomed item, entirely covered in none-too-durable Alcantara, is not a good one.

Then again, there is no real dual-entry accounting mechanism for taste, now is there?

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