The Mercedes ML 63 AMG is the latest in the German carmaker’s SUV stable to get the AMG performance overhaul

Mercedes-Benz's sub-brand, AMG, is gradually becoming a performance name to reckon with in India. The carmaker already has six AMG models on sale here and has also opened up three dedicated centres for AMG customers in India.

We got our hands on the latest AMG product for India and it's the third SUV to get the AMG treatment – the ML 63 AMG.

The ML 63 is smaller than the other two AMG SUVs here – the G 63 and the GL 63. With power figures that are same as in the GL 63 and weighing around 235kg less than the massive GL, this is one brutally quick behemoth.

When you first look at the car, the clues that point at its AMG pedigree are subtle. Like the AMG wheels, the massive brakes, quad rectangular exhaust tips and the ‘V8 Biturbo’ badges on the sides. The bumpers are also slightly different from the standard car. On the inside, build quality is typically Mercedes-Benz and again, the AMG DNA is subtly evident in the dials, Alcantara and leather steering wheel, AMG seats and Alcantara roof lining.

The ML 63 AMG is well equipped – there are eight airbags, a panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled cupholders, three colour options for interior ambient lighting, a Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround system and a rear-seat entertainment package.

Under the hood is the 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged motor that builds 550 bhp and 77.5 kgm of torque and gets the 2.3-tonne ML 63 to 100 kph from standstill in just 5.1 seconds. Power is delivered linearly and comes in from as low as below 2,000 rpm. And the engine note is a treat for the ears.

What does hurt its ability to accelerate promptly initially is the seven-speed automatic gearbox which can be slightly hesitant. However, this can be remedied by switching to 'Sport' and 'Manual' modes, which make the responses much quicker. But you will need vast stretches of tarmac ahead to fully unleash the performance.

When on smaller roads, the ML 63 will surprise you with the amount of control on something this size. If you do push it too hard, the all-wheel-drive system's ESP kicks in to make sure you don't end up in a heap.

The steering is accurate, there's plenty of grip from the Pirelli P-Zeros but the brake pedal becomes soft after hard use.

The ride is quite nice. Although it's firm and can lead to some movement over broken roads, it’s never uncomfortable. Its ability to deal with sharp bumps without crashing through them is also quite impressive. There are three suspension settings – Comfort, Sport and Sport+.

The Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG costs Rs 1.49 crore, more than double the price of an ML 350 CDI. And you pay this for ballistic performance on top of SUV comfort, go-anywhere ability and premium luxury features.

MERCEDES-BENZ ML 63 AMG

Price:Rs 1.49 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi)

L/W/H: 4817/2141/1762mm

Wheelbase: 2915mm

Engine: V8, 5461cc, twin-turbo petrol

Power: 550bhp at 5250-5750rpm

Torque: 77.5kgm at 2000-5000rpm

Gearbox: 7-speed automatic