ML 63 AMG: Pole position in the off-road segment
The Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG is the new benchmark in the sporty off-roader segment. With its 375 kW/510 hp AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine, the new top-of-the–range M-Class model heads its competitive segment. This new off-roader developed by Mercedes-AMG stands for sportiness and dynamism at the highest level, while its exclusive appointments meet even the most exacting requirements. The muscular design of the ML 63 AMG is visual confirmation of the car’s exceptional position. The new high-performance off-roader will be launched during the second quarter of 2006.
The powerful heart of a high-performance athlete beats beneath the bonnet of the ML 63 AMG: a completely new unit, developed entirely by Mercedes-AMG, the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine generates an output of 375 kW/510 hp at 6800 rpm and a maximum torque of 630 newton metres at 5200 rpm. This makes the new AMG powerpack the world’s most powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine in terms of specific output and specific torque. Thanks to its large displacement, the new V8 by AMG generates approx. 20 percent more torque than comparable naturally aspirated engines in this output class.
Unique combination of a high-revving design and large displacement
This unique combination of a high-revving engine design and a large displacement offers the best of both worlds: exhilarating liveliness accompanied by powerful torque from low engine speeds. The driver of the ML 63 AMG experiences the decidedly sporty character of the new AMG V8 engine as tremendous agility and dynamic responsiveness in all engine speed ranges.
No other off-roader in the direct competitive line-up has a larger displacement and output than the new ML 63 AMG. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine provides the performance levels of a sports car, with acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.0 seconds and a maximum speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited). Compared to the preceding ML 55 AMG with 255 kW/347 hp and 510 newton metres, the new ML 63 AMG generates 46 percent more output and 23 percent more torque.
Naturally aspirated aluminium V8 engine with a wealth of motorsport technology
Made completely from high-strength aluminium, this naturally aspirated V8 engine has a wealth of exciting features derived from motorsport and stands an impressive reference to the successful motor racing history of AMG. Together with a variable intake manifold featuring two integral throttle flaps, the vertical arrangement of the intake and exhaust ducts ensures optimum cylinder charging. Bucket tappets in the cylinder heads allow a stiff valve train and therefore high engine speeds.
Variable camshaft adjustment, a particularly rigid closed-deck crankcase and cylinder walls with a new, revolutionary LDS coating are further attributes of this ultra-modern Mercedes-AMG V8 engine. The electronically controlled fuel supply system with newly developed components operates on a demand basis with a system pressure of 3.8 to 5.0 bar. The fuel pressure is variably and instantly adjusted depending on the performance requirement and ambient temperature. The engine electronics execute commands from the accelerator pedal within milliseconds to set the required pressure. This control system ensures outstanding responsiveness and sporty performance in all load and engine speed ranges.
Patented oil and water cooling with separate heat exchangers
The entire cooling system in the new ML 63 AMG is also a new design. A high-performance water cooler ensures an efficient cooling performance under all operating conditions, while large engine and transmission oil coolers help to cool the lubricants effectively. Optimal efficiency is also guaranteed by a technology for which Mercedes-AMG has registered a patent. Intelligent coupling of the water and oil circuits enables the performance of both systems to be variably controlled. The major component is a DC heat exchanger which links the two circuits. If the engine oil temperature increases markedly, e.g. when driving briskly on mountain roads, the engine electronics activate an additional water pump to increase the rate of coolant flow in the heat exchanger. In this way the temperature difference between the engine oil and coolant ensures a cooling effect on the engine oil throughout the system. At high ambient temperatures this effect is increased by the large ram-air-vent-controlled suction-type fan of the water cooler, with an output of 850 Watts.
AMG sports exhaust system with enlarged pipe cross-sections
Under acceleration, the driver of the ML 63 AMG experiences the exhilarating sound of the high-revving engine – courtesy of the all-new AMG sports exhaust system — and the extraordinary power of the naturally aspirated eight-cylinder engine. Needless to say, this smooth-running powerpack also ensures effortless progress at constant motorway speeds. In conjunction with some highly sophisticated engine technology, the AMG sports exhaust system ensures effective emissions control. The new AMG high-performance off-roader meets not only the EU-4 standard but also the stringent current and planned US exhaust emission limits.
Continuous camshaft adjustment makes a major contribution to efficient emissions control. The engineers at AMG have used the principle of valve overlap to achieve a dual advantage, since reducing gas cycle losses cuts both untreated emissions and fuel consumption. The afterburning effect of the secondary air injection system results in higher exhaust gas temperatures and supports the heating-up process. As a result of this complex system the carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon content in the untreated exhaust gases is reduced. The lambda sensors continuously monitor the constituents of the mixture and supply this information to the computer, which readjusts the mixture.
Sophisticated exhaust technology with four ceramic catalytic converters
The new AMG V8 engine also has a demand-related lambda control system. This means that in all operating conditions, the constituents of the intake mixture can be precisely controlled to avoid damaging the catalytic converters. This also benefits the fuel consumption under full load, as the mixture can be leaner than in engines without this intelligent control system. Four lambda sensors are used to control and monitor the exhaust system: the two upstream sensors ensure an optimal control range, while the downstream sensors are responsible for Onboard Diagnosis II.
Effective aftertreatment begins in the air-gap-insulated manifolds, which have a wall thickness of only 1.0 millimetres. Tens seconds after starting, these already allow an exhaust temperature of 280 degrees Celsius – a precondition for rapid response by the close-coupled catalytic converters. All four ceramic catalytic converters feature thin-wall substrates; thanks to their maximised surface area these not only provide the best conditions for effective emissions control, but also aid performance with their low exhaust backpressure. Large exhaust pipes with a generous diameter of up to 70 millimetres enhance this effect still further. The two oval, chromed twin tailpipes provide a striking note – both visually and acoustically.
AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-Tronic automatic transmission with steering wheel gearshift
Power transfer in the top M-Class model is via an AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-Tronic automatic transmission with a DIRECT SELECT shift lever mounted on the steering column. The seven gears are finely graduated in the interests of a sporty response. Torque converter lockup from first gear further improves dynamism and efficiency, as it reduces slip losses. As in a Formula One racing car, the seven gears of the ML 63 AMG can be shifted using the gearshift buttons on the AMG ergonomic sports steering wheel.
The AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-TRONIC transmission adapts to both a dynamic and a more comfortable style of driving. Three shift modes specially configured for the sporty performance characteristics of the AMG V8 engine ensure that the power is used to best effect. These shift modes — „S“ (Sport), „C“ (Comfort) and „M“ (Manual) – are selected using a switch in the centre console and differ in their gearshift characteristics. In the manual „M“ mode the driver gets additional benefit from the high torque of the V8 engine, as the transmission does not perform an automatic downshift under full load or during kickdown, but rather remains reliably in the selected gear. Neither does AMG SPEEDSHIFT perform an automatic upshift when the engine speed limit is reached in manual mode. This means that particularly sporty drivers are able to make even fuller use of the effortless performance potential.
Permanent all-wheel drive with 40:60 torque distribution
The permanent all-wheel drive of the ML 63 AMG also has a decidedly sporty configuration: in the interests of optimal agility and cornering dynamics, the extraordinary power of the AMG V8 engine is distributed to the front and rear axles on a 40:60 basis. The transfer case is directly flanged to the 7G-TRONIC transmission. Propeller shafts transfer power to the front and rear axles, while a bevel differential compensates for differences in speed between the axles.
A heavier-duty drive train ensures the optimum power transfer and typical Mercedes reliability, with larger wheel carriers, wheel bearings and lower supporting joints at the front axle. A rigid connection between the front subframe and the bodyshell also ensures greater steering precision when negotiating bends. At the rear axle, strengthened components are used for the hydro-mounts of the wishbones, the wheel flanges, half-shaft joints and differential cage.
Traction control in the ML 63 AMG is by means of the well-proven Electronic Tractions System 4ETS, which now has additional functions and is even more effective than before. 4ETS controls the distribution of torque to the wheels by using the signals received from the ABS wheel sensors to trigger brief braking pulses. If these sensors report that one or more wheels have lost their traction, they are automatically braked. At the same time the distribution of drive torque is changed: the torque fed to the wheels with good traction is increased in line with the braking effect on the spinning wheels, allowing progress to continue on loose or slippery ground.
Newly developed AMG sports suspension based on the AIRMATIC package
The AMG sports suspension based on AIRMATIC ensures high cornering speeds, precise directional stability and low levels of body roll while providing excellent long-distance comfort. The air suspension features AMG-specific damper struts and a specially configured version of the Adaptive Damping System (ADS). Both the air springs and dampers have a considerably stiffer set-up. AMG shock absorbers with modified characteristics in all three stages reduce body movements, while larger torsion bar stabilisers at both axles reduce body roll when cornering at speed.
The system operates on a speed-related basis, automatically lowering the suspension by 15 millimetres when a speed of 140 km/h is reached to reduce wind resistance and improve handling stability. The suspension is returned to its normal level when the speed drops below 40 km/h. Other features of the air suspension system include automatic all-round level control. This ensures the same degree of suspension travel even when the vehicle is heavily loaded. For off-road journeys, this system allows the ground clearance to be increased by 70 millimetres at the touch of a button. The body can be raised and lowered either when idling or on the move.
Adaptive shock absorber control in line with the driving situation
The AMG sports suspension works together with the Adaptive Damping System (ADS), which controls the shock absorber response in line with requirements while taking the road surface, driving style and load into consideration. Switchable solenoid valves in the shock absorbers enable the rebound and compression damping to be modified according to the situation, which considerably reduces body movements. The ’skyhook algorithm‘ controls the damping forces at each wheel in such a way that the wheel-induced forces acting on the vehicle body are reduced. Thanks to this precise control for each individual wheel it is possible, for instance for the two front wheels to be damped more heavily than the rear wheels to reduce the tendency of the body to dive when braking. Depending on the control command, the valves select one of four characteristic curves within an extremely short response time of less than 0.05 seconds:
- Stage 1: Comfortable suspension action (when body movements are minor and acceleration is low) owing to soft compression and rebound settings.
- Stage 2: Skyhook mode – soft rebound setting and a hard compression setting.
- Stage 3: Skyhook mode – hard rebound setting and soft compression setting.
- Stage 4: Hard rebound and compression setting to reduce wheel load fluctuations when cornering at speed.
When body movements are small the ML 63 AMG operates in ADS stage 1. If body acceleration values exceed a certain level, the system changes over to the skyhook algorithm and uses its rapid-response solenoid valves to continuously switch between the second and third damping stage to suppress the rolling and pitching movements of the vehicle body. The current driving situation is identified by means of a steering angle sensor, three body-mounted acceleration sensors, four wheel-mounted level sensors, further data from the Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) and signals from the engine and transmission control systems. On the basis of this information the electronic control unit calculates the most efficient damping forces and selects the relevant characteristic curves for the shock absorbers.
In addition the driver is able to influence the changeover thresholds between the four ADS stages at the touch of a button on the centre console. There is a choice of three modes: „Auto“, „Sport“ and „Comfort“.
Speed-related power steering with variable assistance
Thanks to its direct steering ratio, the standard speed-dependent power steering ensures precise handling in any driving situation. At speeds below 100 km/h its servo assistance is automatically increased in the interests of reduced steering effort. The servo effect is gradually reduced above this threshold value, improving the driver’s feel for the road. A newly developed, highly efficient steering cooler ensures that the power steering functions reliably even when subjected to high dynamic stresses. This cooler is located behind the AMG front apron and integrated into the radiator package to save space.
19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels and an AMG high-performance braking system
Road contact is via high-sheen, 9.5-inch wide, 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a 5-spoke design. Featuring 295/45 R 19 wide-base tyres all-round, this wheel/tyre combination is not only impressive for its muscular appearance, but also gives the car the roadholding it needs for sporty performance. High-sheen 20-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a five-spoke design with 295/40 R 20 wide-base tyres are available as an option. The best possible deceleration, sensitivity and fade-resistance is guaranteed by the AMG high-performance braking system. Internally ventilated and dimpled brake discs all-round, measuring 390 x 36 millimetres (front) and 365 x 26 millimetres (rear) guarantee outstanding thermal resistance.
All dynamic handling control systems, such as the Electronic Stability Program ESP®, 4ETS, ASR and Brake Assist, have been reconfigured for the high performance potential of the ML 63 AMG. The tyre pressure loss warning system based on ESP® is standard equipment. If a loss of pressure is detected in any of the tyres, the warning message „Tyre pressure. Check tyres.“ appears in the central cockpit display.
Striking appearance with AMG bodystyling and flared wings
Wide, muscular, with a broad stance and poised to surge forward – the visual appearance of the new ML 63 AMG leaves no doubt that this is an exceptional vehicle. The athletic design of this powerful off-roader is characterised by its striking AMG bodystyling with a front and rear apron, an AMG-specific radiator grille, flared wings, stainless steel running boards with rubber studs and tinted rear lights. Both visually and acoustically, the AMG sports exhaust system with two chromed twin tailpipes emphasises the power and dynamism of the top-of-the-range M-Class model.
Dynamic interior design with exclusive standard appointments
Sportiness is the dominant theme in the interior of the ML 63 AMG too. The exclusive interior features include fine nappa leather on all five seats, the door centre panels, door armrests and handles, the front armrest and the grab handles between the front seats. The leather upholstery is available in black, alpaca grey and cashmere beige. The AMG sports seats with a multicontour function and heating not only feature the typical AMG upholstery design with transverse piping, but also more pronounced side bolsters and Alcantara inserts in the shoulder areas for optimal lateral support when cornering at high speed. Other exclusive features in the interior of the ML 63 AMG include colour-coordinated topstitching and AMG badges in the front seat backrests.
The AMG ergonomic leather sports steering wheel has Formula-One-style gearshift buttons, a more heavily contoured rim with thumbrests and leather-trimmed lower spokes. Sporty dynamism is also conveyed by the AMG door sills, stainless steel sports pedals with rubber studs and the AMG instrument cluster with its specially styled markings, red needles, 320 km/h speedometer scale and aluminium backplate with the AMG logo. As standard equipment the ML 63 AMG also features the multi-zone THERMOTRONIC luxury automatic climate control system, windscreen wipers with a rain sensor and decorative trim in black aluminium.
The following optional items are also available for the ML 63 AMG (selection):
- Trailer coupling with removable ball-neck
- Bi-xenon headlamps with Headlamp Assist
- COMAND APS with a DVD navigation system
- Surround-sound system
Safety features at hallmark Mercedes-Benz level
The ML 63 AMG also meets the very highest requirements in terms of passive safety: in conjunction with the exemplary restraint systems, which adapt to the relevant accident situation, the sophisticated design of the body structure ensures the best possible occupant protection. Standard features include the anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®, NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraints in the first seat row, adaptive, two-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger, front sidebags, windowbags, child seat recognition for the front passenger seat and belt tensioners with belt force limiters for all the seats.
Following the world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), the official market launch of the ML 63 AMG will take place during the second quarter of 2006.