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Mercedes-AMG SL is bold in black with 800-bhp Manhart upgrade

There are plenty of reasons to love the Mercedes-AMG SL. For fans of horsepower, 577 of those reasons are found under the SL63’s swooping bonnet, courtesy of its twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine. But the AMG-honed SL-Class is also a pleasure to drive, be it a relaxing highway cruise or a thrill ride through the canyons. Indeed, our Mercedes SL first drive review found little reason to fault this handsome roadster.

That’s not to say Manhart Performance found fault with it. But let’s be honest: Manhart is always going to Manhart, and that usually means adding a coat of black paint with contrasting gold stripes and a few more ponies under the bonnet, among other things. That’s exactly what we have here with the new Manhart SL 800 R, and you can probably guess why that number was chosen.

Between the SL’s wings/fenders you’ll still find a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine. In Manhart’s care, new turbochargers are added along with a new intercooler and carbon intake. We suspect there are a few other changes such as a new engine tune at play, but the aftermarket company isn’t keen to offer other details at this point. The result is 800 bhp and over 738 lb-ft of torque, all going to the Manhart-specific rear wheels.

The tuner doesn’t offer performance specs, but considering a stock Mercedes-AMG SL63 reaches 60 mph in 3.5 seconds en route to a 196-mph top speed, the SL 800 R should be considerably quicker – provided you can get traction. Suspension modifications lower the car, but details on those upgrades are similarly unavailable. Manhart does say the 800 R is offered with “additional options” for tweaking the performance envelope, not to mention other exterior and interior upgrades. In other words, it’s a made-to-order rocketship wrapped in smooth SL styling.

Pricing isn’t mentioned either, as the Manhart SL 800 R is indeed a new project announced on February 8. However, the German company is currently accepting build requests for those seeking a bit more shock-and-awe than what AMG already cooked up.

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