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2012 Mercedes ML63 AMG

The new AMG hyper-powerful 4x4 now has 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, and accelerates to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. That`s not awfully faster than the previous ML63 AMG, but quite awfully fast nonetheless.

And it can be upgraded even further with factory performance package (about $10 000), improving those numbers to 550 horses, 560 lb-ft, 4.6 seconds and quite terrifying 174 mph top speed (up from 155 mph at electronically-limited standard version).

Under the hood of the new ML63 now works the newest 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, which provides maximum torque staring from nearly-idle 1750 RPM, while the old ML63`s provided peak torque only at 5200 RPM.

Also the new engine is more fuel-efficient than its 6.2-liter, 510-hp predecessor. And though one should never expect to reach official 16 mpg while burning tires, improved mileage at one tank is always good.

Another feature is the comfort/sport/manual switch at the center console, which regulates the new air suspension with active anti-roll bars. The electronically-controlled suspension adjusts its constantly adjusting its settings to ensure maximum stability and comfort, and also lowers the vehicles body at high speed.

The official photos of the AMG`s interior promote, as always, black leather interior with sport seats and aluminum elements, though probably buyers will be able to order virtually any color and trimming.

The exterior differences from standard ML are now even less eye-catching that before: the front air intakes are massive, but the wheel arcs extenders, which differed the previous ML63AMG, are gone, and the four exhaust pipes at the rear are of more elegant shape. Evidently Mercedes wants to leave those street-racers attributes to tuners firms.

The new ML63 AMG is going to cost about $100.000, rivaling with the similarly-prices BMW X5 M (even faster, but probably less capable off-road), the Porsche Cayenne Turbo (also faster, but probably about $20000 more expensive with same equipment), and the new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, which, ironically, is build on the basis of the previous ML, but costs more than twice as cheaper.

Which one is better? We`re going to check it in the spring of 2012, when the Mercedes` new hyper-SUV comes to dealers.