Straight out of Mercedes-Benz’s vaunted racing division, the luxury-laden, super potent, sport-oriented 2013 M-Class ML63 AMG offers midsize SUV utility in a track-ready 5-seat people hauler. Look for standard full-time all-wheel drive (AWD), as well as twin-turbo V8 power in this flagship trim, with some 71 cubic feet of cargo area (with the rear seatbacks folded) on tap for any high-speed home-building needs.
With its standard 518-hp twin-turbo V8 powerplant, this screamer flaunts 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, all under the auspices of the standard 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission. With fuel-saving variable valve timing (VVT), expect 15 mpg city/25 highway from this big rig, while towing capacity with the standard trailer hitch is maxed out at 7,200 pounds. The full-time AWD system, meantime, allows a 50/50 torque split between the front and rear axles in normal driving conditions, with instantaneous transfer of torque from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip when the going gets sloppy. Finally, this flagship trim boasts standard engine stop/start technology for some marginal added fuel savings.
Outside, the 2012 M-Class ML63 AMG boasts 20-inch AMG-styled alloy wheels, a power sunroof, power rear liftgate, skid plates, a roof rack, step running boards and heated power-adjustable mirrors. Inside, look for premium leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable sport front seats, memory for driver's settings, remote power door locks, power windows and unique AMG-themed leather, wood and alloy cabin accent pieces.
Cruise control, a telescoping and tilting steering wheel with mounted paddle shifters, a universal remote garage door opener, a rear-view camera, and front and rear parking sensors mean ultra convenience, while dual-zone auto climate control and Bluetooth hands-free technology via Mercedes’ touted mbrace system allow everyone to stay cool and in touch.
As a further indication that this ute is a cut above not only its siblings, but its lesser rivals, a standard COMAND-controlled Harman Kardon premium audio system flaunts 850 watts, an MP3-capable 6-CD changer, 14 speakers, Surround Sound, satellite radio, a memory card slot, a large DVD-capable touchscreen display and a USB connection.
One of the more popular options in this posh and potent people-hauler is the AMG Performance Package, with its amped-up powerplant capable of 550 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque for a top speed of 174 mph. This power-oriented package also flaunts red painted calipers and an AMG-labeled sport steering wheel, not to mention a carbon fiber engine cover. A Piano Black wood lacquer cabin accent upgrade is another option choice, as is rear-seat DVD entertainment, a night-vision-enhancing camera system and Active Park Assist for those challenging parallel-parking duties. Tri-zone climate control, heated rear seats, power-adjustable tilt-wheel steering and cooled front seats, meantime, can also be added to this already posh-packing potentate.
Standard safety equipment of note aboard the top-shelf 2012 M-Class ML63 AMG includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS) with PreSafe emergency braking response that can be upgraded with optional adaptive cruise control. Then there’s traction and stability control, front and rear side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, a driver’s side knee airbag and active front headrests, all of which also come standard. Daytime running lights are delivered in this flagship trim, as are front fog/driving lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, mbrace emergency communications and stolen vehicle recovery assistance, and adaptive high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights. The Lane Tracking Package that’s optional for the three lower trims is standard on the ML63 AMG and includes lane departure warnings and blind-spot alerts.