Best of the Best 2012: Sport-Utility Vehicles: Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG

Now in its third generation, the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG (www.mbusa.com) comes with an all-new twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 engine (the same one that powers the CLS63 AMG), which produces 550 hp and 560 ft lbs of torque when equipped with an optional performance package. All of this power pulsates through a 7-speed transmission and 4Matic AWD system, pushing the 5,170-pound SUV from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. This time is a bit slower than those of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo (4.4 seconds) and BMW X5 M (4.5 seconds), but while the ML63 AMG is impressive in a straight sprint, it is at its best in sweeping turns and tight corners. The ECU-controlled air suspension, dynamic shocks, and active-roll stabilization system help to tame this beast when it is driven to its limit. And because the vehicle costs $96,000 (plus $6,500 for the optional performance package), owners might be inclined to give this SUV a run for their money.

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