Used Mercedes-Benz M-Class AMG (2012 - 2015) Driving & Performance

Review by Gareth Evans on
Last Updated: 16 Oct 2015
4
The Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG is the ludicrously quick version of the German 4x4. Powered by a 5.

4 out of 5

Performance

There’s only one engine on offer. It’s a 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged V8 which provides frankly hilarious performance. It boasts a massive 525bhp and 700Nm of pulling power. Prod the throttle and there’s near instantaneous response no matter what speed you’re travelling at. It pulls extremely hard, reaching licence-losing speeds far quicker than you’d expect for a car of these sorts of dimensions.

Official figures include a 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds with a top speed limited to 155mph. Just in case that’s not enough there’s also a Performance Package which, for a fairly large wedge of extra cash, will give you 557bhp and 760Nm of torque. It means a tenth of a second is shaved from the 0-62mph time, while the top speed remains at 155mph. If you want to go faster still you can plump for the AMG Driver’s Package.

This removes the electronic limiter and means a top speed of 174mph. You also get a driver training experience thrown in so you’ll learn how to handle those extra horses. The seven-speed semi-automatic twin clutch gearbox is a very impressive bit of kit too. During normal driving the changes are so smooth it’s only a change in engine note that lets you know it has changed gears.

There’s a range of modes you can put the car into depending on what your demands are at the time. Controlled Efficiency (C), Sport (S) and Manual (M) are the options. In C mode the shifts are gentle and the stop/start system works at all times. S mode livens things up significantly, making the changes quicker and deactivating the stop/start system.

3.5 out of 5

Handling

Although it's an undeniably heavy and large vehicle the ML63 AMG has a lot of technology on board to help it disguise some of its bulk. You get AMG Ride Control, which allows the ‘Airmatic’ suspension to be adjusted according to driver requirements. There are Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes, each providing a different level of damping and chassis stiffness.

At speeds above 45mph the car lowers itself by 10mm to improve stability, while selecting Sport Plus means a further 10mm drop to give the car the optimum ride height for ultimate handling and high-speed stability. You can also lift the car 60mm for more ground clearance when off-roading. The steering is well-weighted and direct, although it lacks a little of the feedback you might expect from a dedicated performance model.

The weighting changes depending on which of the ‘modes’ the driver has selected. It’s lighter for Comfort and heavier for Sport. Of special mention are the brakes. You never get the impression the car isn’t going to stop, which is refreshing because the ML63 is capable of carrying some serious momentum. Although still an unashamedly large and high car, the handling isn’t as bad as you might expect.

Because of the high driving position and lofty stance you never feel like you’re in a sports car but there’s not much body roll and of course there’s a huge amount of grip available.