FrontRunners: Power Move

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Scheduled at press time for a February launch in the United States, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG (www.mbusa.com) is as solid as a pillbox but styled with typical AMG flair. The 2012 edition of the SUV—which features all-wheel drive and offers genuine towing capabilities—trades previous models’ larger but less powerful 6.2-liter engine for a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that delivers an estimated 33 percent greater fuel efficiency. Priced from $95,865, the ML63 AMG can be purchased with the optional AMG Development Package, which boosts output to 550 hp with 560 ft lbs of torque and pushes the top speed to 174 mph. Such satisfying overkill is complemented by wider fenders and 20-inch wheels, and balanced by plush, roomy interiors for five.

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