The new top model in the AMG lineup, the twin-turbo, V-12 SL65 Black Series is an extravagant plaything, indeed. If at first glance you mistook it for a DTM race car, you're forgiven. The SL65 Black Series nearly qualifies as one. Its fender flares, which jut out from the bodywork like circa-1980s David Byrne shoulder pads, stretch overall width to nearly six and a half feet. Every body panel except the rear fenders and the doors is made of lightweight carbon fiber-including the new fixed roof, which hides an integrated rollbar. The rear apron incorporates an underbody diffuser for added downforce; also assisting is a rear wing that automatically rises above 75 mph.

AMG employs 60 engine-builders, 40 of whom are trained to produce V-12s. One of those 40 assembles one SL65 Black Series powerplant from start to finish (per the AMG motto "one man, one engine"), a process that takes about seven hours, including testing. Compared with the "normal" SL65, the Black Series gets redesigned, better-breathing turbos; a modified intake tract; and a reengineered exhaust with reduced backpressure. The resulting 6.0-liter monster produces so much torque, AMG uses an electronic limiter to keep the madness in check. Without it, the blown V-12 would produce more like 885 pound-feet. Yet despite the power boost, the Black Series delivers five-percent-better fuel efficiency than the standard SL65. Black magic.

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