2010 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series

Then again, the Black Series reflects its sticker price in other ways. Take its sinister proportions, for instance, or its monumental power. Mash Gucci loafer to carpet, and the Black Series tries to spin its rear tires all the way to triple-digit speeds. Even when it can put its power down - which isn't often - the rear end sways from side to side under acceleration. According to one AMG engineer, the oscillation is the result of a conflict between the limited-slip differential and the rest of the driveline, but it feels as if the earth's crust is being ripped open.

The V-12 emits a loud bellow, which, while not the most pleasant sound, effectively scares the peasants out of the way. The suspension is very firm by Mercedes standards but gives up none of the ABC-equipped SL's exceptional body control. A quicker steering rack offers fantastic on-center feel, but those enormous wheels severely limit steering angle. This SL needs nearly 48 feet - the width of a four-lane interstate - to make a U-turn.

Then again, practical considerations like U-turns, or the fact that the rear spoiler mechanism takes up most of the trunk space, hardly matter. The SL65 Black Series exists to wear the mantle of the baddest Benz in all the land, and it does so far more proudly than the rather ridiculous SLR, which not only has less power and less torque but, oh, incidentally, costs another 200 grand. All hail the prince of darkness.

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