On sale here in February, the hottest member of the redesigned M-Class lineup made its world debut in Los Angeles. Even more potent than the model it replaces, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG also boasts exceptional creature comforts to complement its enhanced performance.

Like all AMG offerings, the new ML63 AMG gets a full helping of dedicated body bits. In this case, that brings a restyled front fascia with bigger air intakes, bi-xenon headlights and a unique front skirt than leads back into the ML63's more widely-flared fenders that are filled with standard 19-inch AMG alloy wheels with 265/45 tires -- or optional 21-inch alternatives wrapped in 295/35 rubber -- and more aggressively sculpted side sills. The revised rear fascia boasts a functional black diffuser that houses dual-paired exhaust outlets.

>See more new cars unveiled at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show

Inside, the 2012 ML63 AMG is clad in designo premium leather, and features AMG power heated/ventilated sport seats, a flat-bottom AMG performance steering wheel, an AMG instrument package and aluminum sport pedals in addition to comfort/convenience standards highlighted by a COMAND system with hard-drive navigation and SIRIUS real-time traffic and weather, a harman/kardon Logic 7 surround-sound audio system with HD radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and a power rear liftgate.

The heart of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG is a 5.4-liter twin-turbo AMG V8 that makes 518 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Backed by a multi-mode AMG SpeedShift Plus seven-speed automatic transmission, it can take the new ML63 AMG from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. For the first time, Mercedes is offering this uber M-Class with an optional AMG Performance Package that bumps the turbo boost pressure and raises output numbers to 550 and 560, respectively. Those increases drop its 0-60 mph interval to 4.6 ticks and
kick the top end up to a blistering 174 mph, all without impacting fuel economy. 

Helping hook all that motivational might to the pavement, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG bolsters its standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive with a full AMG sport suspension that includes Airmatic Air Suspension and the Adaptive Damping System. That latter feature is combined here for the first time with M-B's Active Curve Control that uses electronically programmed anti-roll bars at both axles. This Teutonic road warrior also includes AMG-spec speed sensitive electromechanical power steering system and high-performance brakes.

For those who'd like a V8-powered M-Class with a bit less intensity and a more affordable price tag, Mercedes has confirmed that a new 2012 ML550 model with 402 horses and 443 lb-ft of torque also will be joining the lineup sometime in early 2012.

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