Mercedes has followed up the recent announcement of its ML-class off-road wagon by revealing its customary AMG version, which develops 518HP courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8.
This gives the ML63 AMG a 15HP hike over its predecessor, while the 516lb ft torque figure is a 44lb ft improvement over the previous model. The flagship ML cracks the 0-60mph milestone in 4.7 seconds on its way to a limited 155mph top speed, while the high-performance AMG brakes ensure numbers are stripped off the speedometer in an equally brisk manner.
Fuel economy is also improved, as the result of a standard start/stop system and reduced overall weight compared to the 2007 ML63. Combined consumption is now up to 19.2mpg, despite – as Mercedes is quick to point out – a broader offering of standard equipment to complement the performance increases.
One of the headline standard features is the Active Curve System, which uses active stabilisers on both axles to counteract body roll during enthusiastic cornering, thus giving the ML63 a more agile character than its substantial presence suggests. Safety equipment is of the usual Mercedes order, and includes 9 airbags, Brake Assist and a drowsiness detection system.
As you would expect, a comprehensive range of optional extras are available. For many, the first box to be ticked will be the AMG performance package, which not only adds a carbonfibre engine cover and red-painted brake calipers, but also removes the top speed limiter (opening up the ML63’s 174mph potential) and boosts power and torque to 550HP and 560lb ft, respectively. Significantly, it also means Mercedes has a more robust challenger for the 555HP BMW X5M.
The Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG will make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show which opens this weekend. Prices are yet to be announced, but expect the list price to nudge past £80,000 – in line with the £80,795 BMW X5M and £86,896 Porsche Cayenne Turbo.