It’s not available with the locking differentials, underbody protection and clever traction control of Merc’s On & Offroad package; on a braked trailer, it won’t even tow as much as an ML 350 Bluetec. It will, however, accelerate to 62mph in less than five seconds – every bit as quickly as a Porsche Cayenne Turbo or a BMW X5 M, and quite a lot more than a Range Rover Sport Supercharged.
If you like generous helpings, you’ll like what you find here. AMG’s twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 engine has more cubic capacity than any other performance SUV. And while its standard 518bhp and 516lb ft of torque aren’t outstanding outputs amongst some very powerful rivals, if you spend £6165 on Merc’s optional Performance Pack, you can endow your ML with 549bhp and 561lb ft - which are unsurpassed in the class.
Brisk. Our test car didn’t have the uprated engine - unless you’re shopping specifically for the very gutsiest 4x4 on the market, you don’t need it. For any 2.2-tonne luxury family car, the ML 63 is seriously fast - particularly through the everyday meat of the rev range. Peak torque is available from below 2000rpm, and so powering along motorway slip roads and accruing overtaking speeds are tasks this luxury five-seater takes to with spectacular relish.