Despite Laguna Seca's reputation as a track that's very tough on brakes, the Black Series' brakes never faded. After a handful of very hard laps, initial bite moved farther and farther down into the pedal travel, but the pads - smoking at times - continued to offer excellent stopping power. The SL's stability control system has a Sport mode, which allows fluid, smooth track driving with little risk of power-induced oversteer. With ESP fully switched off, the SL's understeer becomes less pronounced, and gentle applications of throttle helps rotate the SL's tail. The transmission's downshifts are almost imperceptible, and combined with the smoothness of the V-12, it's often necessary to peek at the tachometer as you're entering a corner to ensure that you're in the gear you want. Sideways drifts can happen suddenly when the turbos spool up and dole out more power than you thought you had asked for, must be corrected immediately to avoid a spin - the huge turning radius doesn't allow the drift angles that other SLs can maintain.
So it's not a drift star - but to insinuate that it is would be to misinterpret the mission of the SL65 Black Series. The Black Series is meant to be the ultimate SL, and it is. Its 175 U.S. customers are waiting in line to buy it because it's the fastest, meanest, and baddest Mercedes-Benz on the planet. Whether they're dreaming of laying a hundred-foot-long stripe of rubber on their way out of the dealership or just can't wait to caress the Black Series' bulging fenders once it's home in their garage, they'll be getting exactly what they paid for - ultimate one-upsmanship, Mercedes-style.