During a time where things like carbon footprints and mpg ratings have taken over our automotive blogger brains, Mercedes-Benz reached out to me to come test-drive the new 2012 ML63 AMG in Santa Barbara. Eager to get away from the cold weather in the North East, I took them up on the offer and packed my bags for Cali.
As an owner of the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, I’m the last one to worry about how I’m polluting mother nature. In fact, I’m the type that would blast ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ by Johnny Cash and cruise with my windows down. Nevertheless, I always found high-performance SUVs to be quite pointless. An SUV is meant to be a cargo hauler, people carrier and a vehicle that’s capable to go off-roading. I never found cars like the BMW X6 M, Porsche Cayenne GTS or the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 to be wise purchases because if you wanted a sports car you could just purchase a sports coupe or even a high-performance sedan.
However, that all changed once I got behind the wheel of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG – and I’ll tell you why.
2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Specifications:
- Style: SUV.
- Seating Capacity: 5.
- Base Price: $94,990.
- Engine: 5.5 liter V8 biturbo – 518-hp at 5,250 rpm / 516 lb-ft between 1,750 – 5,000 rpm.
- Transmission: AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7-speed automatic transmission.
- 0 to 60 mph: 4.7 seconds.
- Top Speed: 155 mph.
- Curb Weight: 5,170 lbs.
- Fuel-economy: 15/25 mpg (city/highway).
All Photos Copyright egmCarTech © Omar Rana.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG is based on the new 2012 ML-Class, which I personally think is a very sophisticated looking SUV. Many on the egmCarTech team agree, and think Mercedes-Benz did a hell of a job redesigning its best-selling family hauler.
To spice up the ML-Class’ sophisticated looks for this AMG variant, AMG designers added a new radiator grille with louvers in high-gloss paint finish, larger cooling air intakes, and fitted the bottom with a new front skirt trimmed in a matte silver finish. The team also tailored the SUV with a grand set of AMG alloy wheels, and threw on an AMG rear skirt highlighted with a black diffuser. Two sets of chrome twin tailpipes that enhance the ML63 AMG’s 8-cylinder sound round out the refinement of the ‘standard’ ML-Class, all together transforming it into that of a high-performance SUV.
[quote float=”left”]Mercedes pulls together a comfortable interior that still maintains functionality with a sporty appeal.[/quote] The inside of the ML63 also gets the AMG treatment with sport seats, a beefy four-spoke AMG Performance steering wheel, aluminum steering-wheel mounted shift paddles, AMG badges and standard designo premium leather upholstery with contrast stitching.
Of course, since you’re dropping over $94,000 for the ML63 AMG, you would expect it to be fitted with a substantial sum of standard features, and the AMG team delivers. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG comes standard with AMG sport pedals, AMG illuminated door sills, Harman/Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system, a 7-inch display with COMAND control, power lift gate, heated and cooled seats and much more.
Overall, Mercedes pulls together a comfortable interior that still maintains functionality with a sporty appeal.
You can now back off of your screens and ease back into your seats, as we have arrived at the part you have all been waiting for. First, before I tell you how it feels to drive, I’ll fill you in on the specs. Power comes from a 5.5 liter V8 biturbo engine making 518-hp at 5,250 rpm with a maximum torque of 516 lb-ft between 1,750 – 5,000 rpm. That allows 0 to 60 mph to come in 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph. Pretty quick, huh? Well, you can make it faster – in case that’s not impressive enough – if you add on the AMG Performance Package, which bumps up power to 550-hp at 5,750 rpm and 560 lb-ft between 2,000 and 5,000 rpm. The package allows a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.6 seconds with a top speed of 174 mph.
[quote float=”right”]With all the different driving modes, you can turn the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG from a comfortable, smooth-riding SUV into a total beast that asks for more throttle and sharper turns.[/quote] As for the fuel-economy? Remember, we left ‘green’ back in North East. The SUV gets 16 mpg combined, but the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7-speed automatic transmission and engine deactivation helps increase fuel-efficiency through one of the three driving programs (C for Controlled Efficiency, Sport and Manual).
Now, forget all those figures, because we have saved the best for last. What’s more important about this car then horsepower and luxury? It is the absolutely amazing drive. With all the different driving modes, you can turn the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG from a comfortable, smooth-riding SUV into a total beast that asks for more throttle and sharper turns.
Still, the best thing about the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG is that no matter what mode you’re in, the ride is comfortable and doesn’t hurt your buttocks. Most of its competitors try to hard to be a sports car and end up sacrificing comfort for it. The Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG finds the perfect balance for both driving conditions because it’s not trying to be a sports car – it’s just trying to be a luxury SUV that has all that power sitting under the hood when you want or need it. Otherwise, it’s a perfect everyday car that you can live with and go grocery shopping with or pick up the kids from soccer practice.
So how much does all this awesomeness cost? Prices start at a whopping $94,990, and I’m pretty sure once you load it up it’ll cost you close to $100,000 before you drive it out of the dealership.
That brings be to my last and final point – the base 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 starts at just $48,990 – almost half the price tag than that of the AMG. The 402-hp ML550 even starts at almost $38,000 less.
Obviously, this model is not for the average car buyer. Yet, if you have the cash in your bank account and the need for speed, than the ML63 AMG is definitely a better buy than its competitors, standing out from the crowd with its impeccable drive and plush bundle of upgrades.
All Photos Copyright egmCarTech © Omar Rana.
– By: Omar Rana