We’ve seen a lot of action from Mercedes-Benz and its AMG performance division this year, most of which concerns replacing the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 with the company’s new, more powerful, more efficient twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8. The 5.5 is a great engine, but we’ve lamented the death of the 6.2 for a while now (though Merc is still putting it to good use in the C63 AMG), and the next vehicle to get the 5.5-liter swap is the all-new 2012 ML63 AMG, which makes its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this week.
In standard guise, the ML63 AMG puts down 518 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, though an optional AMG Performance Package raises those numbers to 550 and 560, respectively. This power is put to the ground via Merc’s AMG Speedshift Plus seven-speed transmission, driving all four wheels in the case of the ML63. The Performance Pack also raises the SUV’s top speed from 155 miles per hour to 174, and the extra grunt reduces the ML63′s 0-to-60-mph time from 4.7 seconds to 4.6.
We like how the AMG design has been grafted onto the new M-Class shape, as the previous model was a bit too bulgy and brash for our tastes. Inside, there’s a standard Designo leather interior, along with a whole slate of high-tech gizmos to keep you safe, comfortable and entertained.
Stay tuned for live impressions direct from Los Angeles later this week. In the meantime, have a look through our attached high-res image gallery, and hit the jump for the official press blast as well as some B-roll video of Merc’s new AMG crossover.