Our AMG month ends with the review of the 2012 Mercedes Benz ML63 AMG, a 5.5Litre bi turbo monster that is; well shall we say American? It rolls out of the Tuscaloosa production line in Alabama though the muscle power is supplied from the Fatherland.
2012 Mercedes Benz ML63 AMG Review
As a rule, all the AMG engines are hand built at the current AMG plant in Affalterbach, Germany, using a “One Man, One Engine” philosophy. Each AMG engine builder stamps the engines they produce with an engraved plaque depicting their signature. This makes all the engines rather unique and somehow creates a bond between the owner and the maker. It’s a personalization process that very few manufacturers undertake.
The 2012 ML63 is the third generation of the Sport Utility Vehicle from Mercedes Benz. It falls between their GLK Class and the larger GL Class. As with our previous AMG testers, this one also came with the optional AMG Performance Package ticked in at (AED 24,400 or USD 6,650) amongst a host of other options, but one that struck us the most was the wheel arch widening for AMG wheels (AED 3,370 or USD 919). Imagine that !
Power comes from a direct-injected V8 which puts down 557 HP and 560 lb-ft of torque between 2,000 and 5,750 rpm thanks to the added boost courtesy of the twin turbos. With its weight tipping the scale at over 3,050kgs, the ML63 AMG powers down to 100kmph in 4.7 seconds with the Performance Package, a feat which is marginally better than without the Performance Package option, a paltry 0.1 second. Whatever being said this is a testament to the power which comes from the 5.5 Litres, a truly magnificent piece of engineering.
Putting the power down on the ML63 is the AMG Speed-Shift Plus 7G-tronic transmission which offers almost no shift shock and always picks the correct gear for any driving situations. Of course the paddle shifters are provided to take matters into our hands and give us a more hands on feel to this uber SUV. Despite its weight, the ML63 AMG is rather flickable around the bends and can hold the line under most sane conditions. The permanent all wheel drive system transfers power to the wheels in a 40/60 : front/rear power transfer ratio for a more sports car feel. Body roll is, thankfully, under control with the active anti roll front and rear stabilizer bars and this showed when Sport mode is selected. We had kept the Sport mode on at all times, because of its quick throttle response and the fact that the suspension was firm yet comfortable enough for almost all road conditions in Dubai.
It has become the fight of the turbo chargers these days with the top German brands all opting for similar forced induction systems to make their vehicles faster and being friendly to the environment at the same time. As long as we see power increasing on each successive models we should be happy.
The ML63 AMG has tough competition from the likes of the BMW X5M and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The ML63 is more of a sport tourer rather than a sport ‘ute which would better describe the latter. The ML63 feels plusher on its ride than the BMW or the Porsche but it’s not as sharp as them when pushed hard into a corner. So let me bring this point forward. How many of us are really looking to manhandle our SUV into a corner? There would always be those who would want to throw anything you can give them but a good many of us would want a balance between handling and raw power in the straight. This is where the ML63 AMG shines. It has power, has limitless torque and would embarrass many V8′s out on the road. And it always brings a smile to hear the thunder from the exhaust and the sonic boom coming from the rear when the gear up shifts right about its red line, a feel similar to that of the BMW X5M.
The rear leg room has also increased and for a change the seating position at the back is more saloon like rather than being upright.
Our time with the ML63 AMG has been spent negotiating the stop and go traffic in the alleys of Bur Dubai and stretching its legs on Al Khail Road. In both situations the ML63 excelled with ease. It is a well executed transporter for any needs. Yes it has more power than we would require, but that’s the fun of it all. We, as human beings, always want more of the good stuff.
|Rated Output||410 kW (557 hp) at 5250-5750 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||7 speed auto with paddle shift|
|Kerb weight||2345 kg|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||4.7 s|
|Top speed||250 km/h*|
|Price (AED)||404,800 – 450,617 (As tested)|
Images by Subodh Shetty