First Drive: 2007 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG
Mercedes recently invited us to sample the new 503 horsepower ML63. Not only does it boast broad power and torque curves, but its applications are seemingly endless: Mercedes plans to install the 6.2 in AMG versions of the CLS and E-Class sedans, as well as in the R-Class, with more, we're guessing, to follow.
AMG refers to its all-aluminum beast as a "6.3 liter," despite its 6.2-liter displacement, specifically referring to the 1970 300SEL 6.3-liter V-8-at the time one of the fastest, most powerful sedans in the world. The new 6.2-liter sports its share of racing technology. Vertical intake and exhaust ports, a variable intake manifold with two internal throttle flaps, bucket tappets in the cylinder heads, variable camshaft adjustment, and a low-friction twin-wire arc-sprayed coating on the cylinder walls are just a few of the high-tech tidbits that come from the motorsport melting pot. Perhaps more significant (if not incredibly odd) is the fact that this new engine was designed autonomously by AMG and thus has no features or shared parts whatsoever in common with other eight-cylinder units by Mercedes-Benz. The new powerplant is handbuilt in AMG's Affalterbach engine shop, according to the "one man, one engine" philosophy, which means each engine builder's signature sits on the engine's AMG badge.
After introducing throttle to floorboard, you'll be thanking that engine builder. Power delivery isn't only linear-certainly more direct than the supercharged 5.4-but it's also downright ferocious, evidenced by the tach's affinity to play hit and run with the 7200-rpm redline. By mixing 6.2 liters of displacement with a lofty compression ratio (11.3:1) and maximum engine speed (7200 rpm), AMG engineers have created a powerplant that delivers high-end horsepower with more low-end twist (465 pound-feet at 5000 rpm, with 369 pound-feet on tap at 2000 rpm).
Mercedes estimates that 0 to 60 mph will take around 4.8 seconds in the ML63, or about a half-second less than in the previous ML55. In addition, the ML gets an "AMG Speedshift" version of the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission, replete with three shift modes.
Likewise, the ML63 receives an AMG-spec cockpit with Race timer, a self-leveling Airmatic DC suspension, 19-inch wheels, stainless-steel runningboards, and a rear-biased full-time all-wheel-drive system with a 40/60 power split.
With Audi and BMW opting for smaller-displacement V-10s, we're happy to see AMG is staying true to what it knows best-big V-8s. Drive a "6.3," and you'll be happy, too.