2012 Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG Preview

Mercedes-ML-63-amg-2012_rev The 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG hits the road this spring with more power and better fuel efficiency — by a whopping 28% over its predecessor.

The high-performance SUV gets power from an AMG 5.5L twin-turbo V8 engine with peak horsepower of 525 and peak torque of 516 lb-ft, 15 more horses and 50 more lb-ft than before. An optional AMG Performance package boosts output to 557 hp and max torque to 560 lb-ft. The two powerplants propel it from zero to 100 km/h in 4.8 and 4.7 seconds respectively, all while getting 11.8L/100km fuel economy.

Its equally absurd super-luxury SUV competitors are pretty limited: the BMW X5 M and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

Transmitting power to all four wheels is the AMG Speedshift Plus 7G-TRONIC transmission with three modes and automatic double-declutching function for downshifting. A controlled-efficiency mode activates ECO start/stop function, which shuts down the big V8 when stopped; this “C” mode also means gentler acceleration, early gear changes and second-gear start-up. Sport “S” mode and Manual “M” mode dispense with the start/stop function, offer greater agility from the engine/transmission combo, and shorter shift times.

As before, the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive system distributes power at a ratio of 40:60 to the front and rear axles. AMG Ride Control sports suspension with AIRMATIC package comprises air suspension, independent damper struts, automatic level control and adaptive damping, featured for the first time in combination with the Active Curve System, which employs active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles to compensate for body roll during cornering, and improves stability at higher speeds. The load-bearing air suspension system features three modes also: Comfort, Sport and Sport plus. It lowers the body at higher speeds to minimize drag and further increase stability.

A new exterior design boasts a matte silver chrome trim strip at the bottom of the AMG front apron, AMG light-alloy wheels. V8 BITURBO logos, AMG rear apron with simulated black air outlet openings, and two sets of twin chrome tailpipes.

Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Inside, it offers electrically adjustable AMG sport seats and four-spoke AMG performance steering wheel with perforated leather in the grip area, aluminum shift paddles and a flat-bottomed rim. Design flair comes from aluminum and piano-black trim, and contrasting double top-stitching on the standard leather upholstery, along with embroidered AMG badges. The dash, armrests and door panelling are also all AMG-specific. Exclusive to the ML 63 AMG are a distinctive instrument cluster with colour TFT monitor, AMG welcome logo and AMG main menu.

Standard equipment includes AMG stainless steel door sills, AMG floor mats, AMG sports pedals in brushed stainless steel with rubber studs, Audio 20 CD radio with Bluetooth and USB interface, Easy-Pack power tailgate and cargo management, tire pressure monitoring system, headlamp cleaning system, electric sliding glass roof and front heated seats.

In addition to the more powerful engine, the Performance package also includes carbon fibre engine cover, performance steering wheel with Dinamica microfiber in the grip areas and red-painted brake callipers. Also optional are trailer coupling, Becker MapPilot, rear-seat entertainment system, Harman/Kardon LOGIC7 surround sound, wood/leather steering wheel, automatic climate control, media interface, memory package, COMAND multimedia system, electric panoramic sliding glass sunroof, aluminum-look running boards with rubber studs, wood trim including retractable centre console cover, and a light package including Intelligent Light System.

Canadian pricing has been announced at $99,900, with the Performance package adding another $5,500.