Mercedes ML63 AMG Returns With New Engine and 518 Horsepower

15 Nov

2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG: Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz USA

Fifteen years isn’t a long time in terms of human history, but in the automotive industry it’s a lifetime. In 1996 the four major luxury brands in Germany, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Porsche all had yet to produce a luxury SUV. That all changed in 1997 with the introduction of the first generation ML class. The first high-performance model, the ML55 AMG, model followed for the 2000 model year. Now, over a decade after the initial release, the all-new AMG variant of the third generation ML has been unveiled.

The new ML63, although redesigned on the exterior for the 2012 model year, leaves the most major changes hidden under the hood. With a large number of manufacturers including BMW and Audi turning to forced injection turbocharging for their new generation of vehicles, its no wonder Mercedes stayed in lock-step with the competition. This grocery-getter has received more horsepower and torque by replacing the outgoing 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 with the same 5.5-liter BiTurbo unit that has already made its way into other 2012 AMG models.

Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz USA

As if the 505 hp from the naturally aspirated unit wasn’t enough for driving the kids through the snow to their hockey practice, the new power plant produces 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque (550 hp and 560 lb-ft with the optional AMG Performance Package.) Peak torque is available from only 1,750 rpm, allowing the 2012 ML63 AMG to accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds (4.6 with Performance Package) and reach an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph, or a raised limit of 174 mph.

All of this power and torque is transferred to the high gloss, titanium gray, 20 -inch, 5-spoke alloy wheels with 265/45 R 20 high-performance tires through the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7-speed automatic transmission. Optional 295/35 R tires and 21-inch AMG alloy wheels are also available.

As with other current AMG models the ML63 AMG employs a “Controlled Efficiency” (C) mode if one so chooses. When engaged, the Eco-friendly transmission shuts down all unnecessary functions and turns off the engine while the vehicle is stationary. Mercedes must be aware most customers who purchase the new high-performance SUV do so without the regard of fuel economy or efficiency. Despite this, an Eco mode isn’t a bad thing. Especially considering the ML63’s fuel economy. According to Mercedes the new 5.5-liter engine has resulted in a 33 percent improvement over the 6.2-liter V8. The estimated combined economy is still marginal at 16 mpg, but that’s surely better than the second gen. average of 11 mpg. Especially when considering the vehicle’s weight and highly tuned engine.

Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz USA

On and off the road drivers will benefit from a reduction of 99 lbs from the previous generation. The ML63 will still feature a transfer case which delivers the 4-MATIC permanent all-wheel drive to the road surface. To make the ride quality even more refined the new ML63 will employ, for the first time, an ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM for active roll stabilization. An AMG sports suspension with AIRMATIC Air Suspension is standard equipment, along with independent damper struts, automatic level control and an Adaptive Damping System (ADS).

In staying with the expectations of buyers the new ML63 AMG now features designo interior as standard equipment. The interior had been available, but only at significant additional cost. It is available in three different choices, designo auburn brown, porcelain or black. Other choices on the interior include a host of designo pieces, including black leather edging on the floor mats, trim in black piano lacquer and wood/leather steering wheel in black piano lacquer. Rounding out the options are AMG badges on the backrests of the front seats, outer rear seats and edges of the floor mats.

The ML63 AMG is certainly not something for everyone. Most people don’t need to have a high horsepower, gas hungry SUV with tons of luxury accompaniments. Despite this there are obviously enough people who are in the market for Mercedes’ top SUV; 13,000 of the second generation were sold over the 6-year production run and 24,000 have been sold in total.

If you are in the market for the 2012 ML63 AMG you’ll need to have deep pockets. No official prices have been released, but with the 2011 model having a base MSRP of $92,590 you can expect the new family hauler to fall somewhere in that ballpark.

Interior: 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG: Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz USA

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One Response to “Mercedes ML63 AMG Returns With New Engine and 518 Horsepower”

  1. Brian Turner November 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Hi, My name is Brian and I’d like to speak with you about your blog, please email me at your earliest convenience.

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