Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMGEnlarge Photo
The AMG-tuned ML SUVs feature AMG's latest hand-built masterpiece, the 6.3-liter (actually, 6.2-liter) V-8 featuring Mercedes' new four-valve-per-cylinder head and yielding both insane high-rpm horsepower (510, to be exact) and shove-in-the-back low-rpm torque. The second-gen ML platform is a great home for the new AMG V-8, being lighter on its feet than the first-gen ML that used a heavy truck-inspired ladder frame. The former vehicle was great for off-roading, but overkill for the suburban duty the vehicle most often sees.
If 510 horses don't impress you, step up to the SL 65 AMG Black Series. Its 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12 offers...brace yourself...670 horsepower and enough torque (738 pound-feet) to tow an airstream or two up the nearest mountain range. The Black series focuses on lighter weight materials and high performance, and its new AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS five-speed automatic gearbox employs double-clutch technology for lightning-speed shifts and no torque converter to sap power delivery. A new coilover suspension and revised steering gear promise lively handling and quick response as well as managing a thrill ride of 3.8 seconds to 62 mph.
Neither of these cars will get you very much mpg at all. And prepare for a stiff gas guzzler tax to go along with an even steeper purchase price. But with sybaritic interiors and unbelievable performance, their fpg (fun per gallon) is likely unparalleled. Buy a Prius and a scooter for weekly duty, and perhaps the environmentalists won't torch your house after you blast past them in a terrific roar of angry V-8, or the jet-engine whoosh of AMG's twin-turbo 12. Hey, I can dream, right?--Colin Mathews
Mercedes SL65 Black SeriesEnlarge Photo
Mercedes-Benz MediaEnlarge Photo