Once upon a time an innovative car guy said: “why can’t I have sports car performance AND the ability to haul things?” So, in the mid-to-late 90s OEM manufacturers started offering performance based trucks like the Ford Lightning, GMC Syclone and Chevy 454 SS. Unfortunately it wasn’t long until members of that newfound niche started getting married and establishing families, and the sports truck boom was over almost as fast as it began. But as the old saying goes: once a car guy, always a car guy; and eventually the automakers realized that even if these buyers needed practicality, they still wanted to go fast. That’s when high performance SUVs, like the highly regarded ML63 AMG you see here, started burning up the showroom and tearing up the roads! As the perfect combination of modern utility, old world luxury and top notch performance, this hot rod Mercedes is fast, competent, luxurious, stylish, and built like a Panzer tank! If you’re one of those established car guys who wants to haul ass, but needs the ability to haul so much more, this world class one-owner Merc is the perfect way to have your cake and eat it too!
Despite their recent challenges, Mercedes-Benz is a very fortunate automaker. Not only do they have a great lineup of SUVs that are as well engineered as their legendary cars, they also have a top notch in-house tuner brand that can take virtually anything the Benz boys produce and turn it into something REAL special. Fastidiously maintained by Charlotte’s own Hendrick Automotive Group, this 2009 ML63 AMG shows just 42,562 original miles that, in the Mercedes world, amount to merely break-in time. The SUV’s all-too-appropriate Black paint is exceptionally dynamic and absolutely nails the formal appearance Daimler has spent over 100 years cultivating. Its gaps are as you would expect from something with a three-point star. Its finish is as flat and smooth as volcanic glass. And while this high-dollar ute does show a few signs of being driven, overall it’s an outstanding piece which features world-class build quality and laser-straight body fit. If you’ve never driven anything AMG-tuned, you’re really missing out; this juiced ML63 is one of the best performers on the planet!
Like all Daimler’s best luxury metal, this SUV’s styling is brilliantly executed with straight, sharp edged proportions that rightfully place form over function. At the front of its body a traditional over-sized, chrome trimmed ML grille cages a large chrome three-point star between four HID head lamps and two chrome trimmed fog lights. Below that grille, a sculpted valence hangs two rectangular cooling ducts above a chrome replica skid plate; and behind that grille a large, flat hood props two functional cold air vents behind a traditional metal Mercedes-Benz badge. At the top of the body, a large sunroof rides between a small pop-up air wing and attractive aluminum cargo rails. Below that sunroof, factory fresh glass features factory fresh tint; and at the sides of that sunroof, electronic, body-matched mirrors wear European-spec marker lights. At the sides of the body, chrome topped door moldings ride between well-integrated fender flares and slick “6.3 AMG” side emblems. Above those moldings, you’ll find black and chrome handles which feature small buttons that lock the doors and fold the aforementioned mirrors; and below those moldings high quality aluminum running boards function almost as good as they look. At the back of the body, two pristine LED taillights frame a trio of emblems that includes a second three-point star, a chrome “ML63” script and a third “AMG” badge. In the middle of those emblems, an LED center high mount stop light illuminates a chrome tag topper and an aluminum bumper topper; and below those emblems a second, sculpted valence incorporates four spotless exhaust tips into a second chrome replica skid plate.
Lift this ML’s wide black hood and you’ll find a highly advanced DOHC V8 that’s so smooth it’ll make you forget you’re in an SUV. Officially AMG’s first wholly designed powerplant, and officially named the M156, this impressive big-bore V8 delivers an autobahn baking 510 horsepower and a continent shifting 465 lb./ft. of torque! Along with providing the physical sensation of having a rocket engine strapped to your derriere, this heavy cruiser catapults to freeway speeds in mere sports car time lapses; and has no problem quickly reaching its electronically limited 155 MPH terminal velocity. Flick the key and the historically designated 6.3 liter lights off instantly, humming to life with a technical roar that seems to float out of the tail pipes. Fully pressurize the electronic fuel injectors with a stomp of your right foot, and the smooth, powerful mill accelerates well in any gear and has plenty of torque at any given speed or time. Mechanically, this drivetrain a Mercedes-Benz; need we say more? Cosmetically everything on it looks like a well preserved time capsule, which isn''t surprising given this SUV’s meticulously kept exterior and interior. And functionally, with just over 40K miles, the engine’s been exercised enough to keep everything healthy and flawless. There’s just something trippy about being in a 4700 pound SUV that can accelerate like this, and you’re not quite sure you’re eyes are telling your brain the truth until you get behind the wheel yourself.
Under this 63’s floor, rock-solid Mercedes engineering provides a luxurious ride that, while not too firm, also doesn’t share the softer characteristics of a traditional luxury barge. That’s because, like its engine, this Mercedes undercarriage was completely massaged by AMG and now features an upgraded fully independent suspension which benefits from better springs and thicker sway bars. One squeeze of the throttle and the tri-mode 7G-Tronic 7-speed automatic transmission seamlessly and steadily sends power to a highway friendly rear end which quickly sets you on your way. Need to stop? No worries; a well-balanced four wheel disc brake system utilizes standard ABS, drilled rotors and AMG branded calipers to provide a reliable, drama-free escape from virtually any speed. And when you’re carving curves and tearing up the twisties, standard stability control, standard traction control, a downhill traction system and a brake assist system that automatically applies 100% braking power in the event of a panic stop, ensure you arrive at your destination quickly and safely. And at the corners, rolling stock consists of 20 inch machined and graphite accented AMG sport wheels which spin positively huge 295/40ZR20 Continental Cross Contact radials around three-point center caps. A solid performer like this cool Mercedes can turn even the most monotonous drives into fun, adrenaline-fueled adventures. And thanks to its combination of flat-out speed and responsive handling, there’s no wonder these SUVs have built up a reputation as one of the most versatile performance machines of all time.
Inside this high quality SUV you’ll find a like-new black leather interior that’s Teutonic luxury at its finest. I’m guessing nobody has ever used the back seats for anything, least of all the remote controlled DVD entertainment system or temperature specific climate control system; and the front seats, perforated leather king’s thrones which feature attractive suede inserts, show virtually no wear at all. In front of those seats crystal clear electro luminescent gauges are laid out in typical Mercedes fashion, with simple dials and pointers framing a bright driver information center that’s an integral part of a leather wrapped dash. There’s rain sensing wipers, a giant glass sunroof, power front seats with memory, a full Harman Kardon sound system, a GPS navigation system, power EVERYTHING and pretty much any other neat option Mercedes could imagine, all exceptionally interwoven throughout the cockpit. Between the seats, Mercedes has become the savior of modern consoles by designing an artful piece that features a perfect combination of leather touch points, wood surfaces and aluminum accents. At the sides of the seats, intricate door panels receive wood and aluminum accents which coordinate with the dash. And beneath the seats, like-new black carpet is complemented by lit door sills and aluminum pedals. In front of the driver, a silver trimmed steering wheel hangs AMG Speedshift paddle shifters behind buttons for the SUV’s hands free audio and top notch sound system. And again this is essentially a new vehicle, so everything functions perfectly without any disclaimers of any kind.
Included with the sale of this lightly used Mercedes is an original owner’s manual, a quick reference DVD, a small stack of records and maintenance receipts from Hendrick Motors of Charlotte, and both its wireless key fobs.
The bottom line: This is A LOT of bang for your buck! Low miles, Mercedes reliability, incredible performance and the kind of luxury that’s unmatched by everything but the best of today’s showroom fresh metal; what more could you ask for? Not only is it fast, but it’s also reasonably competent as workhorse with all-weather security and a spacious cargo compartment. If you’re looking for a great cruiser that’s a genuine iron fist in a silk glove, you simply can’t go wrong with this slick ML63 AMG!