Loading indicator
News & Reviews
Last 7 Days
  • Excessive power and torque; engine note; cabin space and comfort; family friendliness; comfortable ride despite great dynamics
  • Ageing interior; old-school infotainment system; fuel usage; soon-to-be replaced; ML 350 diesel makes more sense

OUR RATING
8 / 10



2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review

At $181,900 plus on-road costs, the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG SUV doesn’t really make much sense. It’s a blend of extreme power with family-friendly practicality; the ultra-niche vehicle for those that must shave a few seconds off their school run.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love the thing and having spent a few months with a Mercedes-Benz ML350 diesel as our primary family car, the ML itself is a very pleasant car. It’s more family-friendly with respect to the way it rides and drives compared to the BMW X5 equivalent (which is a better driver’s car, but not necessarily a better family car), but in AMG guise, the ML is a little bit nonsensical.

Having now spent more than two weeks with the ML63 AMG I can safely say that it’s cars like this that will one day be looked at with extreme admiration by enthusiasts. For Mercedes-Benz to put a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 into a family SUV is just a blast.

There are of course other cars built with the same idea, notably the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and the upcoming BMW X5 M, but there’s something unique about that old-school (yet very modern) V8 sound that shoots from the quad-exhausts of the Mercedes that should even make Christine Milne smile.

With an awesome 386kW of power and 700Nm of torque, the 2345kg (kerb weight) ML63 AMG will move your family around with some serious grunt. It also helps that it does it in style, with an AMG bodykit that leaves little to the imagination.

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review

There are a few ways to drive the AMG SUV. You can simply leave it in ECO mode and punt around like a regular Joe, or you can make use of the additional $80,000 you paid for the AMG treatment (over the ML350) and engage Sport mode.

This will make going from 0-40km/h in school zones extremely exciting, considering the ML63 can make enough noise in the process that your kids will either be embarrassed at your legal hooliganism or become the school heroes.

Thankfully, Sport mode doesn’t mean an uncomfortable ride, as the three settings for the suspension (Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus) allow you to remain comfortable while the engine is in blitzkrieg-mode.

The AMG version is a huge improvement over the standard MLs in how it goes around corners, yet it’s hard to fathom why going super fast around corners would really be a requirement in an SUV as big as this.

That’s not to say it’s not fun, because it is. The side-to-side bodyweight shift found in the regular ML350 is basically non-existent in the AMG, yet it remains just as calm in comfort mode. It’s a shame the regular ML doesn’t get this suspension setup, for it would vastly improve its dynamics.

During a quick sprint up Mt Glorious on the outskirts of Brisbane, the ML63 provided plenty of entertainment. In a sense, it hides well from the local constabulary as clearly no one is mad enough to drive an SUV fast up a mountain, right?

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review

In any sense, though, it needs to be driven with respect to its bulky size, so it’s not as planted as a Cayenne or even the previous generation BMW X5 M (new one coming later this year). A few times it tended to understeer when pushed hard into a corner and then you can clearly feel its weight.

The Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG’s engine is made in Germany and is then shipped to America, where, like all other MLs, it’s put together. As such, it certainly seems to tick the box for going really, really fast in a straight line (0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds) and making a lot of noise in the process.

Actually, it’s fair to point out that its in-gear acceleration past 80km/h is sensational. It’s almost relentless in how the power is delivered. If you want a good laugh as your bulky SUV overtakes plenty of performance cars from the lights with the little ones happily asleep in the car, this is certainly the SUV for you.

You can even go a little crazier and pay an additional $10,950 to get the performance pack (which was optioned to our test car) and get an extra 24kW & 60Nm as well as an AMG steering wheel, red brake calipers and a carbon-fibre engine cover.

Of course, with all that noise and power comes the fuel usage, which although Mercedes-Benz says is around 12L/100km, you should feel lucky at 15L/100km if you intend to have either of the two turbos doing any serious work.

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review

Those figures mean frequent trips to the petrol station are a necessity, and whilst the Middle-East is currently reluctantly discounting fuel thanks to the increased production from North America, when it goes up to $2/L for 98 RON (and it will), you’ll start to feel it.

Jump inside and it’s a bit hard to tell the AMG version apart from the regular ML350 with a few options. Sure, there are better seats, steering wheel, trim and a few extra buttons, but nothing really screams AMG or performance and the central-instrument cluster and infotainment system remains out-dated much like the regular ML.

In saying that though, it’s super comfortable. Our family consists of my wife, our German Au Pair, our three-year-old and three-month-old boys and myself. With all of us on-board, the ML easily manages to take the two bulky ISOFIX seats, including the rear-facing one for our little guy and still provides ample room for the middle rear seat to comfortably fit an adult while leaving tons of legroom for the front passenger seats.

The boot too, can take our over-sized double-pram, all the week’s groceries and even a small scooter all at once. The ML63’s rear air-conditioning controls are also handy.

So it’s hard to complain about the ML63 when it comes to practicality. It would be nice to have the option for two small seats in the boot in case we have an additional passenger, but that’s what the GL range is for, if you ask Mercedes-Benz.

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review

Perhaps the best way to think about the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG is that it’s the cheapest way you will get access to the 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 from Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division. The E63 AMG, which makes use of the same engine, will cost you around $250,000 (but you do get an extra 14kW of power).

The Mercedes-Benz ML range would be my current choice for a luxury family SUV, in particular the ML350 diesel. There’s an all-new model due later this year (as is the case with the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90), so some good deals are to be had across the current ML range, which would work to your advantage if having the absolute latest for long isn’t a necessity.

The reason why it’s so hard to really recommend the ML63 AMG is because the ML350 diesel is so damn good. With a few options, the ML350 looks almost as good without being an AMG and though it doesn’t have anywhere near the power or torque (or the soundtrack), it does an otherwise perfect job of hauling a family around in luxury without excessive trips to the petrol station.


  Submit an Owner Car Review

MERCEDES-BENZ ML BREAKDOWN

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Review
  • 8
  • 8.5
  • 9
  • 6.5
  • 7.5
  • 7.5
  Submit an Owner Car Review


SHARE THIS ARTICLE




Mercedes-Benz ML Specs

63 AMG (4x4) : 166 MY14 : 5.5L TURBO MPFI - 7 SP AUTOMATIC - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
MERCEDES-BENZ
Model
ML
Variant
63 AMG (4x4)
Series
166 MY14
Year
2014
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$147,620 - $167,750
Dealer Retail
$142,640 - $169,620
Dealer Trade
$113,400 - $134,200
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
TURBO MPFI
Engine Size
5.5L
Cylinders
TURBO V8
Max. Torque
700Nm @  1750rpm
Max. Power
386kW @  5750rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
164.6W/kg
Bore & Stroke
98x90.5mm
Compression Ratio
10
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
7 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
ALL WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
93Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
11.8L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2345
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1858mm
Length
4945mm
Width
1951mm
Ground Clearance
171mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:3050  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.8
Front Rim Size
10x21
Rear Rim Size
10x21
Front Tyres
295/35 R21
Rear Tyres
295/35 R21
Wheel Base
2915
Front Track
1645
Rear Track
1648
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Front Suspension
Front Air Suspension
Rear Suspension
Rear Air Suspension
Standard Features
Comfort
Automatic Air Con / Climate Control, Heated Front Seats, Power front seats with memory, Power Sunroof, Sport Seats
Control & Handling
Adaptive Damping Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder, Performance Brake Package, Sports Suspension, Traction Control System
Driver
Adjustable Steering Wheel - Tilt & Telescopic, Cruise Control Intelligent/Active, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering, Reversing Camera, Satellite Navigation, Trip Computer, Voice Recognition System
Entertainment
Radio Compact Disc Player, Premium Sound System, Television
Exterior
Body Kit, Power Tailgate, Side Steps, Xenon Headlights
Interior
Centre Console Box - Multi-purpose, Leather Upholstery, Power Windows, Tinted Windows, Wood Grain Trim
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, PreSafe, Side Airbags
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Comfort Seats Front, Rear Seat Enhancement Pack
Entertainment
Sound System with 14 Speakers
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Package
AMG Styling Wheels & Body Pack
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  25,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Pass Side Front Wheel Arch
Country of Origin
United States Of America