I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

USA - 2015 Corvette Atlantic, Pacific design packages.

Chevrolet announced today the 2015 Corvette Stingray will be available in two new Design Packages: the Atlantic luxury convertible and the Pacific performance coupe. They go on sale later this year with the rest of the 2015 Corvette Stingray lineup.
“One of the design goals for the Corvette Stingray was to provide customers with the flexibility to tailor the car to their personality,” said Kirk Bennion, Corvette exterior design manager. “The Atlantic and Pacific Design Packages were originally designed to showcase how the Stingray could be configured as a luxury sport GT car or as a high-performance motorsport car.”

The Corvette Stingray Atlantic convertible and Corvette Stingray Pacific coupe concepts were introduced last fall at the SEMA Show. A strong response from enthusiasts helped influence production. They are the latest Chevrolet concepts from SEMA that made concept to reality. Several Camaros, such as the Hot Wheels edition, and the Sonic Dusk are now in production.
“We plan to make news with the Corvette Stingray every year, in part by offering special-edition models that offer a unique, personal ownership experience,” said Todd Christensen, Corvette marketing manager. “Our customers have told us they appreciate these limited-edition models, which have become an important part of the Corvette’s legacy.”

Luxury GT-focused Atlantic Convertible
The 2015 Corvette Stingray Atlantic Design Package is inspired by the luxury and performance of private jets seen at European vacation destinations. Offered exclusively on Z51-equipped convertibles, it is available in 2LT or 3LT trims, with the following unique features and content:
  • Front Z06-style splitter
  • Shark Gray exterior vents, hood “stinger” graphic and tonneau inserts
  • Chrome Torque wheels with Stingray center caps
  • Stingray under hood liner and floor mats
  • Custom splash guards, rear license plate frame and logo valve stem caps
  • Custom luggage.
The Atlantic Design Package is available in all colors offered on the Corvette Stingray.
Track-focused Pacific Coupe
The 2015 Corvette Stingray Pacific Design Package is inspired by West Coast drivers who attend weekend track events. It is offered exclusively as a Z51-equipped coupe, in 2LT and 3LT trims, with the following unique content:
  • Color choices of Torch Red, Black, Arctic White, Blade Silver and Shark Gray – a new color for 2015
  • Satin black full-length racing stripes
  • Satin black Z51 wheels with red stripe and Stingray center caps
  • “CFZ” carbon fiber ground effects package and visible carbon fiber roof panel
  • Carbon Flash rear spoiler, outside mirrors and exterior badges
  • Red brake calipers
  • Competition Sport Seats in red or black
  • Carbon fiber interior trim, Stingray sill plates and Stingray floor mats
  • Custom splash guards and rear license plate frame
  • Indoor car cover (gray).
As with other 2015 models, Corvette’s new Performance Data Recorder is available on the Atlantic and Pacific, as well as an all-new eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. A seven-speed manual transmission is standard.
The Performance Data Recorder combines the ability to record and share drive videos with the power of a professional-level telemetry system. With included software, users can analyze their laps to improve their driving and lap times. The system includes a high-definition camera integrated into the interior’s rearview mirror assembly.
The new paddle-shift eight-speed is designed to deliver world-class shift times that rival the best dual-clutch designs, and is expected to contribute up to 5-percent greater efficiency, when compared to the previous six-speed automatic. EPA estimates are pending.

USA - NEW LaCrosse ultra luxury interior drives fashion forward.

Exclusive sangria and ebony premium interior sets an automotive trend
Design statements with staying power are key in the automotive landscape, and Buick’s global network of designers make them by continuously monitoring and interpreting trends in high-end fashion, furnishings, architecture and product design.
An example is the 2014 LaCrosse and its unique Ultra Luxury Interior Package.

LaCrosse is the only sedan in its class with the combination of sangria and ebony colors – a color palette seen across multiple luxury-goods industries. The exclusive Ultra Luxury Interior features front and rear seating upholstered in a rich, soft semi-aniline leather, dyed a deep sangria color. The premium leather flows over the console and door armrests, complemented by ebony-colored accents like the sueded headliner and door pillars.

“Oscillating and reverberating pink-hued purples, like Buick’s sangria, were first identified by WGSN two years ago as a key shade for our Rendering Reality macro trend,” said Fiona Coleman, Global Head of Color at WGSN Fashion Trend Forecasting & Analytics. “It’s an intense, yet calming color perfectly suited for interiors, especially where a play on light, space and surface gives the feeling of movement. We've seen this color combination gather traction since Pantone® announced Radiant Orchid as its Color of the Year for 2014."

The LaCrosse Ultra Luxury Interior features authentic Shadow Tamo Ash wood trim on the doors, dash, and center console. Often used in musical instruments, the deeply grained Tamo Ash is a high-grade species that offers movement and contrast through its dark veins. It varies widely in appearance, so no two Ultra Luxury Interiors are alike.
“With this exclusive combination of premium materials and color execution, we are extending Buick’s distinction in interior design,” said Ven Lai, Buick lead creative designer for color and trim.

“The Ultra Luxury Interior builds on the success and increasing demand for environments that evoke luxury and personal expression. Every detail matters: From the grade, pattern, texture and color of the leather to the layering of natural wood, metal and stitching, this interior moves beyond convention,” said Lai. “This application is tailored specifically to the LaCrosse and its customers, but we’re exploring all avenues for where it could take Buick.”
The Ultra Luxury Interior Package is available now on the 2014 LaCrosse Leather (1SL), Premium (1SP) and Premium ll (1SR) models equipped with the 3.6L V-6 engine.

Friday, 25 April 2014

PSA sees growth in Q1, now with added model sales figures

In the First Quarter of 2014, PSA Peugeot Citroën saw a rise in worldwide unit sales of 7.7%, supported by the recovery of the European market and by the strong growth in China. The Group was, however, impacted by a sharp deterioration in foreign exchange rates.  
The Group pursued its turnaround plans with:
  • The unveiling of the "Back in the race" plan by Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the Managing Board, setting out the operational framework for a turnaround;
  • The success of new launches, with the Peugeot 308, crowned "Car of the Year", the Citroën C4 Picasso, as well as the announcement of the launches of the Peugeot 108, the Citroën C1 and C4 Cactus, and the Peugeot 408 in Second Half and the DS 5LS in the Second Quarter in China;
  • A strong rise in volumes in China, while the Russian and Latin American markets remain tough for the Group ;
  • Progess in the restructuring plan, leading to improved competitiveness in Europe and the reduction of fixed costs ;
  • The successful renewal of the revolving credit facility, significantly oversubscribed and extended to €3bn1.

First Quarter 2014 revenues

  • Group consolidated revenues of €13.3 bn, up 1,9% compared with the previous year;
  • Automotive Division revenues of  €8.9bn excluding China JVs revenues, up 2.0% vs Q1 2013, significantly impacted by exchange rates ;
  • Faurecia revenues of €4.5bn, up 3.4% ; Banque PSA Finance revenues down 7.4%.


In 2014, PSA Peugeot Citroën expects to see automotive demand increase by around 3% in Europe2 , by approximately 10% in China, and a decline around 7% in Latin America and around 5% in Russia.
The Group positive Group operational free cash flow3 by 2016 at the latest, and €2 bn cumulated Group operational free cash flow over 2016-2018. It is also targeting to reach a 2% operating margin4 in 2018 for the Automotive Division, targeting 5% within the timing of the next mid -term plan 2019-2023.

Automotive Division

Automotive Division revenues rose by 2.0% in the first quarter of 2014 to €8,925 million from €8,747 million in the year-earlier period. Worldwide sales of assembled vehicles rose by 7.7% over the period, to 726,000 units. This reflected a strong rise in volumes in both Europe (+16.0%) and China (+18.3%), versus declines in Latin America (-14.5%) and Russia (-7.9%).

Revenues from new vehicle sales amounted to €6,240 million compared with €6,070 million in first-quarter 2013, up 2.8%, driven by a 4.8% rise in unit sales ex-China, a positive 1.7% product mix effect thanks to recent model launches, and a positive 1.3% price effect, reflecting the consistency of the Group's pricing policy in a market where pricing remains stable at a high level, and a slightly positive market mix of 0.2%.
These favourable elements partially offset the strong negative currency effect of 4.5%.
New vehicle inventory stood at 422,000 units at 31 March 2014, up 8,000 units compared with a year earlier, reflecting the growth in volumes. The Group continues to tightly manage inventory, in line with its objectives of operating free cash flow burn reduction.

Product highlights

At end-March, orders for the Peugeot 308 totalled 70,000 units since launch, ahead of target, driven by the “Car of the Year” award in March 2014, the launch of the 308 SW version and the Pure Tech petrol and Blue HDi diesel engines, both of which offer best-in-class carbon emissions performance. To support the strong demand, an additional shift was introduced at the Sochaux plant.
The Peugeot 2008 is going from strength to strength, with 40,000 units sold over the quarter. The Group initiated a second project to increase production capacity at the Mulhouse plant.

The C4 Picasso and Citroën Grand C4 Picasso delivered another strong performance with 60,000 orders for the 5-seat version at the end of March and 35,000 orders for the seven-seater. High level versions accounted for 70% of sales. The Citroën C3 also returned to its very good sales performance. In addition, the quarter saw the reveal of the C4 Cactus, which illustrates Citroën's new positioning.
The partnership with Changan for the DS brand in China is developing, with new models planned in 2014, notably the DS 5LS in March, and a new DS 6WR SUV, announced at the Beijing Auto Show.


Faurecia reported revenues of €4,518 million for the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 3.4%, and 7% on a comparable basis5. The Quarter saw strong growth in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and revenues increased at all divisions.

Banque PSA Finance

Banque PSA Finance's revenues declined by 7.4% to €418 million in the First Quarter 2014, notably due to the effect of a lower loan book.

Group Highlights

  • On 26 March 2014, the final agreements were signed between PSA Peugeot Citroën, Dongfeng Motor Group, the French State and Etablissement Peugeot Frères and FFP. They provide for the strengthening and deepening the existing manufacturing and sales partnership with Dongfeng Motor Group and manufacturing synergies estimated at around €400 million a year for PSA Peugeot Citroën by 2020, a €3-billion capital increase and free attribution of equity warrants to existing shareholders. They also provide for a balanced ownership structure with DFG, the French State and Etablissements Peugeot Fères / FFP each holding a 14% stake in Peugeot SA.
  • At today's Annual General Meeting of 25th April 2014, shareholders will be asked to vote on resolutions concerning, among other things, the capital increases, the free attribution of warrants to current Peugeot SA shareholders and the change in the Supervisory Board structure. 
  • In the first quarter, PSA Peugeot Citroën also announced that it has entered in exclusive negotiations with the Santander Group to form a European partnership. The project would accelerate the end of the use of the French guarantee; improve Banque PSA Finance's cost of financing and competitiveness; a strengthened commercial tool for the Peugeot and Citroën brands; and potential cash upstream up to €1,5 billion by 2018 for the Group. 
  • During the first quarter, the Group continued to deploy its plan to restructure manufacturing and sales operations in France; 7,730 files for mobility agreements were signed at March 31, 2014.
In April 2014, the Group signed new €3-billion syndicated credit facility comprising a €2.0-billion tranche expiring in five years and a €1.0-billion tranche expiring in three years with two optional one year extensions. The line of credit is contingent on the completion of the share and rights issues announced last 19 February.

1Contingent on the completion of the capital increases  announced last 19 February
2Vs a market estimated by the Group to be slightly positive at around 2% in Europe and around 10% in China, with a 2% decline in Latin America, and a stable market in Russia on February 19,  2014
3Free cash flow of the Manufacturing and sales companies  without restructuring and exceptional
4ROI relating to revenues
5Same perimeter and exchange rates

The ŠKODA model range is getting exciting extensions.

› ŠKODA Octavia: model series expanded with Octavia G-TEC and Octavia Laurin & Klement; new sports steering wheels, wheels and technological features
› ŠKODA Yeti and ŠKODA Citigo launched in Monte Carlo versions
› More comfort features for ŠKODA Citigo and ŠKODA Rapid
› New special edition ŠKODA Superb Outdoor – strikingly adventurous
› ŠKODA model & design campaign moves into the next stage
The ŠKODA model range is getting exciting extensions. Two new versions of the Octavia will be heading to auto-dealers in May – the new ŠKODA Octavia G-TEC and the new ŠKODA Octavia Laurin & Klement. There will also be two new additions to ŠKODA’s sporty Monte Carlo family – the Yeti Monte Carlo and the Citigo Monte Carlo. A distinctively styled version of the ŠKODA Superb is also now available as the ŠKODA Superb Outdoor. In detail, the Citigo, Fabia, Rapid, Octavia und Yeti will also receive new and exciting product features. These introductions will take place as part of the 2015 model year change.
​The Czech manufacturer’s model range is becoming even more versatile through renewing and expanding the current range. In addition, the ŠKODA model and design campaign will be moving into the next stage this year. The new ŠKODA Octavia Scout is to be launched on the European markets in mid-2014. The spectacular ‘ŠKODA VisionC’ design study, seen a few weeks ago at the Geneva Motor Show, gave an insight into ŠKODA’s future design language. 

“The new ŠKODA models are extremely popular with our customers. This is proved by our sales in the first quarter of 2014. We are pleased that we can offer our customers even more innovations in terms of technology, design and equipment,” says Werner Eichhorn, ŠKODA Board Member for Sales and Marketing.

The new ŠKODA Octavia G-TEC is soon to be launched. The first series-produced Octavia to run on CNG enriches ŠKODA’s model range of environmentally-friendly yet affordable vehicles. The Octavia G-TEC can travel up to 1,330 km on a single tank. The bivalent engine runs on petrol and CNG. On CNG, the vehicle uses only 5.4 m3 (3.5 kg) of natural gas, corresponding to CO2 emissions of a mere 97g/km. The Octavia G-TEC is ŠKODA’s second natural gas vehicle after the Citigo G-TEC.

The top-of-the-range L&K standard will be seen in the new Octavia for the first time, being launched as the ŠKODA Octavia Laurin & Klement (L&K). The L&K range pays homage to the founding fathers of ŠKODA, Václav Laurin and Václav Klement. The Octavia L&K, as a saloon and estate, will be one of the best equipped cars in the compact segment. The car’s comfort features include bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime-running lights, redesigned 18-inch wheels, a modern 4-spoke multifunction leather steering wheel and the CANTON sound system. In addition, high-quality materials and subtle design effects provide an air of elegance. There are three powerful engines, including the 135 kW 2.0 TDI Green tec with the fantastic combination of a six-speed DSG gearbox and four-wheel drive. This engine will be available from August 2014. ŠKODA has also improved the driving comfort of the Octavia L&K, with a new chassis set-up and with an emphasis on high-comfort suspension tuning. 

The Octavia also features some exciting innovations. There are new sports steering wheels and new 16-inch alloy wheels for the Green Line version. The Optical Parking Assistant is also available upon request. The ‘Swing’ radio has been redesigned as well. 

ŠKODA’s Monte Carlo model family has grown. The ŠKODA Yeti Monte Carlo has won over customers with dynamic design elements and extensive series-standard equipment. Among other things, there is a black-painted radiator grille frame and a black front spoiler. In addition, the Yeti Monte Carlo now has black 17-inch alloy wheels and tinted rear side windows and rear window (SunSet). The vehicle roof and the A, C & D pillars are painted black, as is the roof rack and the exterior mirror housings. A black rear diffuser highlights the car’s sporty appearance. The interior is equally as sporty, with 3-spoke sports steering wheels, sports seats, stainless steel pedals and Monte Carlo decorative trim. 

ŠKODA will be offering brand new 3-spoke sports steering wheels and three new wheel designs for the Ambition and Elegance Yeti versions from the end of May. The exterior colour ‘Shark-Blue’ is to be replaced by the new colour ‘Laser-White’.

ŠKODA now offers a Monte Carlo version of the ŠKODA Citigo. This version will be available with all engines, a bivalent variant running on compressed natural gas and petrol as well. The special edition drives up on black 15-inch alloy wheels, and black 16-inch alloys will also be available as an option. The car comes with sports suspension, 15 millimetres lower compared to the standard Citigo. In addition, there are tinted windows, a black front and rear spoiler, a black diffuser and grille and black exterior mirror housings. The car also features a sporty interior, with a 3-spoke sports steering wheel, black roof lining, black interior lining and seat covers in Monte Carlo design. The instrument panel has a special Monte Carlo design with an inlaid pad in black decor paint. 

As of September for the ŠKODA Citigo a high quality sound system with subwoofer and six speakers is available. Other new features are the optional three-spoke sports steering wheel and as standard equipment in the Ambition version a safety vest holder under the driver's seat.

The ŠKODA Rapid and ŠKODA Rapid Spaceback are also to be upgraded as part of the 2015-model year change. The manufacturer will be offering optional rain and light sensors on both models. The rain sensor attached to the windshield under the rear-view mirror automatically operates the wipers when it rains. The light sensor detects the intensity of the light outside and, for example, switches automatically from daytime running lights to low beam at the entrance to a tunnel. The light sensor also includes the ‘Coming home/Leaving home’ function. 

A 3-spoke sports steering wheel upholstered in perforated leather is a new feature in the dynamic package for the Rapid and Rapid Spaceback. The leather steering wheels are to receive a silver-coloured decorative trim. ‘Laser-White’ and ‘Topaz-Brown’ (from CW38) are also going to be available as exterior colours. There is also going to be a new style package for the Rapid saloon. This includes black exterior mirror housings as well as the fog und rear lights encased in black. 

A strikingly adventurous version of the ŠKODA Superb is now available. The special edition ŠKODA Superb Outdoor features robust panelling, attractive alloy wheels, a rough-road package, and other design elements. Except for the GreenLine version, the ŠKODA Superb Outdoor is available for virtually all Superb engine and transmission variants and with front or all-wheel drive.

The ŠKODA Fabia and ŠKODA Roomster are going to have slight changes to the range of colours available. The top bar of the radiator grille is to be painted in the same colour as the body in future editions of the Fabia Monte Carlo special model. The Fabia’s ‘Sky-Blue’ exterior is to be replaced with ‘Moon-White’. The Roomster will have ‘Laser-White’ and ‘Jungle-Green’ in place of ‘Shark-Blue’.

Volvo 850 Estate in the 1994 BTCC - Oh such great memories.

It is now 20 years since Volvo marked its return to the racetrack – with an estate! The venture would lead to many successful years in the BTCC – including an overall victory in 1998. "When I signed up for Volvo and TWR around Christmas 1993, I didn't know about the estate plans," says Rickard Rydell. "If I'd known, I would probably have hesitated. It was lucky I didn't know!"
Volvo's Back on Track project was tangibly launched in April 1994, when two liveried Volvo 850 estate cars rolled up to the start line on the Thruxton track in southern England. It was the start of the season of the most prestigious standard car series, the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
Alongside Tom Walkinshaw Racing – TWR – Volvo had initiated a major investment in the class, and the idea of using estate cars was a great success right from the outset. They attracted a great deal of attention and challenged Volvo's image in a positive way, particularly in the UK. Volvo wanted to demonstrate that it was possible to combine practicality with pleasure!
Behind the wheel of one of the cars was 26-year-old Rickard Rydell who, despite his tender age, had a great deal of experience from karting, Formula 3000 and Formula 3. In the other car was his team-mate Jan Lammers, a 37-year-old Dutchman who had competed in various classes including Formula 1.
The Volvo 850 Estate in the 1994 BTCC

"It's hard to believe that 20 years have passed," says Rickard Rydell today. "It doesn't feel like it. But now looking back it is clear that we were focusing on the right class at the right time."
TWR, which had been Volvo's main competitor in the European Championship series during the 1980s when the 240 Turbo was competing against the Rover SD1, had now been contracted for three years and was responsible for the technical development of the racing car. Volvo would be responsible for technical support, marketing and PR.
The decision to compete with two estate cars was taken several months before the start, but was kept secret until the last moment. When the news was released, many thought it was a joke. A large estate is not an ideal track car – with a lot of weight behind the rear axle and a higher centre of gravity, it is harder to get around the corners than a saloon.
"But the aerodynamics of the estate were slightly better than the saloon," says Rickard Rydell. The deciding factor, however, was that the estate would attract more attention. 
According to the FIA class 2 regulations, the competition cars had to be based on a production model. The appearance of the body could not be changed, although to make the races close and exciting, the engine cylinder volume was restricted to two litres, the maximum engine speed to 8,500 rpm and the minimum weight to 950 kg for front-wheel drive cars. Supercharging was not permitted in any form.
Volvo and TWR used their five-cylinder engine as a basis, which in the 850 Turbo had a 2.3 litre volume and produced 225 hp. In the racing version – with no turbo and with a 2 litre volume – it produced around 290 hp. The five speed manual transmission in the standard car was replaced with a six speed sequential transmission. Volvo was the first team to incorporate a catalytic converter in its cars – a feature that was soon to become mandatory according to regulations for the class.
"We hadn't had time to test the car on the track before its launch at Thruxton on 4 April," says Rickard Rydell. "Jan Lammers and I had been able to drive a few hundred metres at the entrance to TWR's development workshop, but that was all!"
The Volvo 850 Estate in the 1994 BTCC

From the outset, the first season was designated a trial year for the drivers, team and cars, and they didn't expect to be near the front of the standings. As a result, they could also treat themselves to the PR stunt of driving an estate.
"The Volvo 850 estate was by far the largest car in the series," explains Rickard Rydell. "Our competitors, who were taking part largely to strengthen their sporting image, were not pleased about having to compete with an estate. There were a few taunts from other drivers – but that was no problem. To wind them up, in one heat we drove with a large stuffed collie in the boot during the parade lap!"
When the series drew to a close after 21 heats, at Donington Park on 21 September 1994, they could look back over a very successful season from a public perspective – even though Volvo only finished in 14th place overall.
"We had learnt an enormous amount during the season, and developed the car continually," says Rickard Rydell. "Our best finish was fifth place at Oulton Park, although there were more column inches written about us than about any other team!"
As early as the following year, the results improved significantly, and Rickard Rydell came in third place overall in the championship, and repeated that success in 1996. However, they only drove the 850 estate during the first season, switching to the saloon model in subsequent years. Even though an estate body enjoys better natural downforce at the back than a saloon, the option of an additional spoiler at the rear was introduced in 1995. This was of no benefit on an estate, although on a saloon body it could make a significant difference. Volvo changed to the S40 in 1997, and Rickard pinched fourth place, before going on to win the entire series in 1998.
Volvo was definitely back on track!

The New Mercedes SLS AMG Black series, the ultimate in power.

Mercedes-AMG presents the most extreme version of the celebrated SLS, the 2014 model-year SLS AMG Black Series. Inspired by the SLS AMG GT3 race car, the fifth Black Series model from Mercedes-AMG boasts a mix of breathtaking design, outstanding driving dynamics and uncompromising lightweight construction in line with the AMG Lightweight Performance strategy. With a curb weight of 3,417 pounds, the 2014 SLS AMG Black Series achieves a power/weight ratio of 5.49 lb / hp. The AMG 6.3-liter V8 engine generates 622 horsepower at 7,400 rpm and accelerates the most dynamic SLS of all time to 60 mph in only 3.5 seconds.

The SLS AMG Black Series achieves a whole new level of performance with its AMG Adaptive Performance Coil-over Suspension, AMG high- performance ceramic two-piece brake system and weight-optimized, forged AMG light-alloy wheels with new sport tires. Additional highlights include electronically-controlled AMG rear-axle differential lock and the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission featuring spectacular shift and response times. The available AMG Aerodynamics package delivers a further boost to the vehicle's handling and dynamics. The 2014 SLS AMG Black Series went on sale in the U.S. in summer 2013.
Black Series is a name that resonates with automobile experts and enthusiasts worldwide. Following the SLK55 AMG Black Series from 2006 (European model), the 2008 CLK63 AMG Black Series, the 2009 SL65 AMG Black Series and the 2013 C63 AMG Black Series, the fifth in the lineup sees the Black Series enter a whole new dimension with the iconic SLS AMG.

"The new SLS AMG Black Series is a perfect study in the one hundred percent transfer of technology and engineering from motorsport to road. We have drawn inspiration from the worldwide success of the SLS AMG GT3 customer sport racing car on both a conceptual and a technological level. Boasting numerous lightweight components and fascinating dynamics, our fifth Black Series model guarantees  pure, unadulterated  'Driving Performance.' The SLS AMG Black Series is the ultimate choice for fast laps and a highly emotional driving experience," says Ola Källenius, outgoing Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
"Fans of high-performance super sports cars will be fascinated by its high-tech package. The basis for passionate performance and supreme driving dynamics is provided by numerous new developments in the engine, transmission, suspension and aerodynamics – also giving top priority to our 'AMG Lightweight Performance' strategy. Outstanding efforts in the field of lightweight design have resulted in a curb weight of 3,417 pounds," notes Tobias Moers, incoming CEO and former Head of Total Vehicle Development and Member of the Board of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

AMG 6.3-liter V8 engine – synonymous with thrilling driving dynamics
The uprated AMG 6.3-liter V8 engine generates 622 hp and 468 lb-ft of torque, making the 2014 SLS AMGBlack Series the most powerful AMG high- performance automobile with a combustion engine. Only the SLS AMG Electric Drive with a maximum output of 740 hp has more power.

The 2014 SLS AMG Black Series accelerates to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, and onward to a top speed of 196 mph of power. Compared to the 583 hp delivered by the SLS AMG GT, the additional 39 hp of theBlack Series is a result of the following enhancements:  
  • Increase in maximum engine speed from 7,200 to 8,000 rpm
  • Fully revised high-speed valve train with modified camshafts geometry and optimized bucket cam followers featuring a special coating that is typically used on race vehicles
  • Modification of intake air ducting: de-throttling and adaptation to match the new maximum engine speed
  • Adaptation of engine mapping and increase in intake pressure
The engineers at Mercedes-AMG have further optimized the crankshaft assembly for optimum stability in tough race track conditions. This includes modified oil bores in the crankshaft, new crankshaft bearings, a new oil pump and high-strength connecting rod bolts. The entire water and oil cooling system for the engine and transmission has been optimized further.  
The AMG V8 engine in the SLS AMG Black Series also has an additional specialized mounting system. A gas-filled strut braces the eight-cylinder engine against the body, effectively eliminating undesired load shifts during highly-dynamic race-track driving. In line with the AMG philosophy "one man, one engine," the 6.3-liter V8 engine is hand-built in the AMG factory in Affalterbach, Germany. This hand-made quality is confirmed by the black AMG engine badge bearing the signature of the engine builder, which is a hallmark of the Black Series models.

Key data at a glance:
 SLS AMG Black Series
Displacement6,208 cc
Bore x stroke4.02 x 3.72 inches
Compression ratio11.3 : 1
Horsepower622 hp at 7,400 rpm
Max. torque468 lb-ft at 5,500 rpm
Max. engine speed8,000 rpm
Engine weight (dry)452 lbs
Acceleration 0-60 mph3.5 seconds
Top speed196 mph
With a front mid-engine layout behind the front axle, the naturally aspirated V8 boasts racing car responsiveness  and exceptional high-revving performance. The racetrack credentials of the powerful AMG V8 engine are also apparent from its sound.
Produced for the first time in titanium, the newly designed AMG sport exhaust system features performance-enhancing, fan-type exhaust manifolds with distinctive center and rear mufflers, delivering a more powerful and even more striking engine sound.  The switch from steel to titanium results in substantial weight savings: at just under 37.5 pounds, the new AMG sports exhaust system is around 28.7 pounds lighter than its predecessor.
Systematic application of the AMG Lightweight Performance strategy
With a curb weight of 3,417 pounds, the 2014 SLS AMG Black Series is not only 154 pounds lighter than the SLS AMG, but also attains the best power/weight ratio by far of all AMG Black Series vehicles to date. Even among super sports cars, the figure of 5.49 lb / hp is extremely competitive, made possible by consistent application of the "AMG Lightweight Performance" strategy.
Numerous body parts, such as the hood, the rear panel behind the AMG sports bucket seats, the diagonal braces on the underbody and the torque tube between engine and transmission are made entirely from CFRP (carbon-fiber reinforced plastic). In contrast to its 58.6-pound counterpart with a sand-cast aluminum housing, the carbon-fiber torque tube weighs just 29.3 pounds. As before, a CFRP drive shaft weighing just 10.4 pounds handles power transmission between the engine and dual-clutch transaxle, which is flange- mounted on the rear axle. CFRP components also replace a number of parts on the aluminum spaceframe, while a lithium-ion battery takes on the role of a conventional starter battery, saving another 17.6 pounds.

Dual-clutch transmission for even smoother performance
The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission  is installed 0.4 inches lower to provide an even lower center of gravity and is braced against the body by gas-filled struts to avoid undesirable load shifts. The dual-clutch transmission  features four drive modes: C, S, S+ and M. "Sport plus" and "Manual" deliver even more aggressive performance than in the SLS AMG and SLS AMG GT models. In addition to an increase in shifting speed, the transmission also responds faster to the driver's shift commands.
An even more thrilling feature is the automatic rev-matching function during downshifting: the throttle blips when shifting gears are more pronounced and more striking than ever due to the AMG titanium sports exhaust system.
There is also a new temporary M mode. In C, S or S+ mode, this enables the driver to activate manual mode without taking a hand from the steering wheel, by pressing the "up" or "down" shift paddle once. In temporary M mode the driver experiences the dynamism and performance of gear-shifting in manual mode in all of the automatic driving programs, with automatic up and down- shifting as well. This allows drivers to devote their full attention to the vehicle's impressive performance.
New electronic AMG rear-axle differential lock
A new electronically controlled AMG rear-axle differential lock with a shorter rear axle ratio replaces the mechanical variant. Integrated into the compact transmission housing, this system operates with a variable locking effect under acceleration and deceleration. In addition, the electronics are now more responsive, enabling excellent traction for the rear wheels under all road conditions. The electronic AMG rear-axle differential lock also benefits safety. By reducing the vehicle's yaw around its vertical axis, the system provides a stabilizing effect in slaloms or when changing lane at high speeds.
The standard three-stage ESP® system featuring the functions "ESP ON", "ESP SPORT Handling Mode" and "ESP OFF" is precision-tuned to the electronic AMG rear-axle differential lock. The same applies to the RACE START function, which works with the electronic differential lock to provide perfect traction when accelerating from a standing start.

AMG Adaptive Performance Suspension  and sports tires
The chassis and suspension of the 2014 SLS AMG Black Series are also new. While the basic layout with aluminum double wishbones at all four corners remains unchanged, virtually every single component has been refined for significantly enhanced track performance.
The new developments in detail:
  • AMG Adaptive Performance Suspension with stiffer basic setup and electronically controlled two-stage shocks (Sport, Sport +) for individual adjustment to suit personal driving style
  • Coil-over spring suspension allows for adjusting wheel loads to individual race track setups
  • Elastokinematics 50 / 42% more rigid (front / rear) for greater stability in turns
  • Track width increased by 0.8 / 0.9 inches (front / rear) for added grip
  • New front wheel mounts and new front stabilizer tuning for added grip, reduced body roll in fast cornering
  • AMG 10-spoke forged alloy wheels, in very lightweight forged design for optimum strength, painted matte black with high-gloss finish, dimensions: 10 x 19 front; 12 x 20 rear.  Weight saving: 8.8 pounds
  • Newly developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 sports tires. 275 / 35 R 19 front and 325 / 30 R 20 rear, for added grip and cornering
  • AMG speed-sensitive steering with revised power steering characteristics  for optimum steering precision and outstanding control
Standard AMG high-performance ceramic two-piece brake system
The brake system on the SLS AMG Black Series boasts excellent deceleration performance and outstanding stability. The standard AMG high-performance ceramic two-piece brake system measures 15.8 x 1.5 inches at the front and 14.2 x 1.3 inches at the rear, and feature increased hardness for enhanced thermal stability, combined with a weight reduction of around 40 percent over their steel/aluminum counterparts. As a result of this reduced unsprung weight, they optimize both comfort and grip, while the reduced rotating masses on the front deliver a more direct steering response. The weight savings is approximately 35.3 pounds, compared to a conventional steel / aluminum brake system.
Design inspired by the SLS AMG GT3 race car
The design of the SLS AMG Black Series takes its cues from the SLS AMG GT3 race car, which was developed in accordance with FIA GT3 rules and has quickly become established as a serious contender among the super sports car elite.
In the 2012 motorsport season the SLS AMG GT3 is competing in more than 15 series on four continents. The triple victory in the 24-hour Dubai race in January 2012, three driver and team titles in the FIA GT3 European Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and the FIA GT3 World Championship, along with numerous podium places at various short-distance, four and six-hour races provide impressive documentation of the SLS AMG GT3's sporty performance. The car has notched over 100 victories since 2010 when the Customer Racing program began.

Flared fenders with an added width of 0.5 inches in front and 1.0 inch at the rear on each side create the necessary space for the 10.8-inch and 12.8-inch sports tires. Tinted headlights and black surrounds for the rear lights give the SLS AMG Black Series a muscular and aggressive look. The vehicle's aerodynamic balance is optimized by front, rear and side skirts and a rear diffuser, all in a signature Black Seriesdesign. The package features extensive use of CFRP on the front splitter, side sills and rear skirt. Enlarged air intakes with carbon-fiber flics also ensure optimum airflow into the cooling modules at the front.
As on the SLS AMG GT3, the carbon-fiber hood features a central air outlet. Aside from effectively dissipating engine heat, this outlet also increases downforce at the front axle and improves the cd value. The wing-like cross-fin and the star recessed into the radiator grille are finished in high-gloss black to match the exterior mirrors and the fins on the hood. The carbon-fiber insert on the sides with air outlet and a black fin is also reminiscent of the GT3; this feature helps reduce the temperature in the engine compartment. The result is maximum stability, even in tough race track use.
Matte black AMG forged wheels in signature Black Series design
A striking feature along the sides is the attractive integration of the side skirts, which combine with the character line for a striking look. The carbon elements fitted along the bottom edges carry the line of the carbon-fiber front splitter through to the rear of the vehicle. AMG forged wheels in a signature Black Series ten-spoke design, painted in matte black with a high-gloss finish, provide glimpses of the AMG ceramic high-performance two-piece brake system.  Also available are AMG forged wheels in matte black with a polished flange.
The muscular look of the SLS AMG Black Series carries through to the rear, and its wide fenders and striking rear diffuser are the dominant features. The diffuser extends beyond the rear skirt to produce extra rear downforce for greater stability at high speeds. Visible air openings behind black grilles help discharge hot air around the AMG titanium sports exhaust system. Two sets of twin square cross-section chrome tailpipes are a visual indication of the super sports car's power – an impression reinforced by the exhaust note. The exclusive AMG logo with contrasting Black Series lettering in black adds a discreet yet striking touch at the top right of the trunk lid.

AMG Aerodynamics package with carbon-fiber components
The SLS AMG Black Series can be upgraded with the optional AMG Aerodynamics package, which features an adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing in place of the standard wind deflector. The rear wing is braced by aluminum elements on the trunk lid that provide even greater downforce on the rear – especially with the Gurney flap, named for its inventor Dan Gurney, a former racing driver, designer and team owner. This 0.3-inch spoiler lip fitted to the rear wing at an angle of 90 degrees delivers a further increase in downforce without significantly increasing drag. The rear wing is complemented by additional carbon-fiber flics on the front skirt, which further increase downforce at the front, as opposed to the standard inward-lying carbon-fiber flics, which optimize airflow into the cooling modules. Eye-catching AMG Solar Beam exterior paint is available exclusively on the SLS AMG Black Series. Six further exterior paint finishes from the SLS AMG range are available, including the matte finish designo magno alanite grey.
Functional, performance interior that exudes quality
The interior of the SLS AMG Black Series features high-quality materials with precision workmanship and exquisitely designed details. There is a choice of two color variants: black designo leather with black Alcantara® or black designo leather with black/red Alcantara®. With the two-tone variant, the door center panels and the applications on the center console and above the glove box are finished in red. The AMG Performance steering wheel with a flattened rim at the bottom is wrapped entirely in Alcantara® for excellent grip. The top section of the steering wheel features a red 12 o'clock marking. The metal bezel has a high-gloss black paint finish to match the high-gloss black surrounds of the air vents.
An exclusive Black Series detail is the "3D seam" that runs horizontally along the dashboard - a fine Alcantara®  strip in anthracite running across the entire width of the leather covering. Red contrasting stitching provides a striking finish to the 3D seam, underscoring the hand-crafted character.
The combination of designo leather and Alcantara® features throughout the interior – on the bottom section of the dashboard, on the door center panels and on the AMG sports seats with center sections upholstered in Alcantara®. Embossed AMG logos on the head restraints are further exclusive eye-catchers.
For additional weight savings, the customer may delete the COMAND multimedia system. This reduces the vehicle's weight by an additional 13 pounds and further enhances the uncompromising character of the SLS AMG Black Series. In place of the screen between the air vents, a carbon-fiber trim element enhances the authentic racing atmosphere.
Vehicle occupants will also find carbon fiber covering the entire center console, which is home to the AMG DRIVE UNIT. Bold highlights come from the red seat belts and red contrasting stitching on the AMG sports bucket seats, the center console, the upper and lower section of the dashboard and the door paneling. The floor mats also feature red piping.

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system
A highlight among the optional equipment is the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system, developed by Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG together with renowned Danish audio specialist Bang & Olufsen. The Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system with Dolby Digital 5.1 delivers an exclusive music experience. This is made possible by a 1,000-watt amplifier and 11 speakers in conjunction with precise distribution of the music signals by the sound processor according to the selected seat positions – driver, co-driver or central. The DSP digital sound processor also enables the user to switch between high-end studio sound ("Reference") and a surround sound option. All features are managed through a special Bang & Olufsen menu in COMAND. The illuminated 50-watt lens tweeters on the dashboard are a highlight, along with the 250-watt subwoofer integrated into the rear shelf. High-quality speaker covers sporting the Bang & Olufsen logo indicate the high-end system's exclusive character.