The Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG offers high performance and power in an SUV that seats five. So if you want the practicality of an SUV that is able to haul around people and stuff, but the driving dynamics of a race car, this is your vehicle.
The ML 63 AMG has a twin-turbo 5.5 liter V-8 engine that makes 518 horsepower and 516 pounds-feet of torque. If you need more power than that, and why wouldn’t you, you can opt for the performance package, which bumps up to 550 horsepower. The V-8 engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system. Mercedes says the performance package vehicle has a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds, and a top speed of 174 mph.
If you want to be a little more sensible, you can choose a new version of the ML for this model year, the ML250 Bluetec. It has a turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine and replaces the ML350 Bluetec, which had a diesel V-6. The recent controversy over German diesel engines notwithstanding, this should be a little more fuel efficient and a little lighter in the emissions department, we hope.
Also new for this model year in the ML SUV family is the ML400 with a twin-turbo gas V-6. It takes the place of the ML550 and its turbo V-8 engine. The idea behind these changes is to give drivers a still-powerful SUV that is a little more fuel efficient and therefore less costly to operate.
As for driving dynamics, features such as the optional self-leveling air suspension truly do make you forget sometimes that you are driving an SUV. It really feels a lot more like a performance sedan. This optional suspension features sport and comfort modes to let you choose your driving experience. Sport mode is a beast, making the suspension feel super rigid. But even in comfort mode, the smooth ride you get has a little bit of an edge to it, in a nod to the performance capabilities of this machine.
Safety features include attention assist driver-drowsiness detection, which gives a little nudge on the steering wheel if it detects that you are drifting over your lane. The other usual safety options, such as blind spot warning and front and rear parking sensors, are also available.
Styling of the ML has evolved gradually over the years, but hasn’t taken on some of the radical changes that other SUVs seem to have adopted in recent times. The exterior features include optional running boards, tilt-sliding panoramic glass roof and bi-xenon headlamps. Overall design features are pretty straightforward SUV fare, avoiding the more rounded shaping that has become prevalent on so many of today’s crossovers.
On the inside, amenities such as massaging, heated seats up front, available heated rear seats, rear seat entertainment system and Command multimedia system give the ML solid luxury credentials. The interior is adequate when it comes to passenger space, both up front and in the rear, with an equally adequate amount of cargo space in the rear.
The ML starts at around $50,000, but our tester was a top of the line AMG model that carried a sticker price of $121,000. For that model, you’d have to wonder why someone who is driving an SUV needs to have race car performance. But as with many things geared toward the well-heeled, it’s probably not so much about need, but rather desire.
Overall, the ML is a fine luxury SUV that offers attractive styling, a comfortable interior and good driving dynamics.