2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG
If automotive excess is your thing, have we got a ride for you, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG. We’re not sure anyone really needs a 518-horsepower SUV, but that didn’t keep us from enjoying one at the press launch in Santa Barbara, California. In typical AMG fashion, just about every aspect of the ML has been addressed and improved upon by the in-house tuner.
Starting under the hood, where you’ll find their latest engine offering, the 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8, which delivers up to 560 pound feet of torque if you opt for the AMG Development Package. Not that it’s all irresponsible, fuel economy is up 33% over last years’ ML63. AMG then adds their own transfer-case that splits torque 40-front/60-rear for optimal handling, and then heavily tweaks the suspension.
A 7-speed AMG Speedshift 7G-Tronic transmission handles gear changes and AMG Ride Control, as well as an Active Curve System, keeps things smooth and stable. Mashing the throttle will take you to 60 in less than 5-seconds, and sure makes for one rewarding experience.
BEN DAVIS: It’s always smiles when I’m in the Captain’s chair of an AMG Euro beast like the ML63. First of all, it sounds like an offshore race boat, it steers and stops like a track car, you can haul a bunch of friends, and tow 7,200 pounds.
Inside, there are AMG sports seats, as well an Alcantara clad “performance” steering wheel, and AMG specific aluminum and leather trim added to an already sporty and luxurious interior.
Exterior differentiators are all around, but most noticeable up front, where the fascia is wider and receives more gapping lower grille openings. An aggressive looking rear fascia is new as well, with black diffuser and twin sets of dual AMG exhaust tips. We’re not sure if the original founders of AMG had this ride in mind when they started “pumping up” Benz’s, but those lucky enough to own an ML63 AMG will have to plunk down $95,000 to do so. You can’t expect automotive excess or excellence to come cheap.
Engine: 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8