On paper, the new Mercedes ML 63 AMG makes little sense. On the road, it mesmerises with a breadth of talent no two-tonne-plus car has any right to possess. This is a muscle car as quick as any current 4x4 in a straight line – Porsche Cayenne Turbo S included.
You won’t have too much trouble distinguishing the ML63 from lesser M-classes when it arrives in the UK in June. Exterior changes include deeper front and rear spoilers, widened wheelarches, and imposing 19-inch wheels.
The AMG makeover continues in the cabin. Sport seats and steering wheel, and carbonfibre-look trim go some way to justifying the estimated £60,000 price. It’s under the bonnet, however, that the real interest lies, in the form of a new naturally aspirated 6.2-litre 503bhp V8.
What's it like?
One probing nudge on the throttle has the ML 63 shimmying excitedly and unleashing a genuine muscle-car soundtrack. For all its bravado, though, the big off-roader is remarkably docile around town.
Merc’s 7G-Tronic seven-speed auto gearbox has been upgraded to handle the power and torque. It’s a great transmission: kicking down eagerly and holding onto gears through corners. AMG has also tweaked the four-wheel-drive system to dole out the drive in a rear-biased 40:60 split rather than the standard M-class’s 50:50 arrangement.