- Competes with: BMW X5 M, Infiniti FX50
- Looks like: A more efficient but less aggressive-looking AMG
- Drivetrain: 518-hp or 550-hp twin-turbo V-8; seven-speed automatic transmission
- Hits dealerships: Early 2012
When Mercedes-Benz unveiled an all-new M-Class this summer — in V-6 and diesel formats — we were sure that many more trims would come soon, including a high-performance AMG trim. Staying true to form, the automaker will introduce the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show — the glitzy metropolis is surely one of the most important markets for the model.
Mercedes emphasized safety, fuel economy and feature content on the redesigned M-Class model, most of which is to the benefit of the 2012 ML63 AMG.The new 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine will achieve a rating of 16 mpg combined, which is 4 mpg better than the 2011 ML63 AMG. The engine will also make more horsepower, at 518 hp and 516 pounds-feet of torque, up 15 hp and 51 pounds-feet over last year's model. The new AMG can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.
Part of the improved fuel economy comes from the introduction of a start-stop system. Owners who want to hear and feel the rumble of the V-8 at idle can disable the feature by setting the automatic transmission to Sport and/or Manual mode. Only the Controlled Efficiency mode will activate start-stop. The AMG Performance Package can boost horsepower to 550 hp, and it improves the zero-to-60 time to 4.6 seconds with a top speed of 174 mph. Fuel economy remains unchanged on the model. Like all current 2012 M-Class trims, the ML63 features a permanent all-wheel-drive system.
The ML63 will also have a new standard air suspension system with automatic leveling. The suspension also features a new active roll stabilization program that helps in corners or with emergency maneuvers.
Exterior updates include standard 20-inch wheels, an AMG ground effects kit, quad chrome tailpipes and bi-xenon headlights with automatic high-beam assist.
Interior updates include an AMG-specific sport steering wheel, aluminum trim and leather-trimmed dashboard. The front seats are ventilated and include active multicontour bolsters.
The 2012 ML63 AMG will go on sale within the first three months of 2012.