Beware Of Low-Flying SUVs…

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

For the first minute and ten seconds or so of this video, you might be thinking “so what, it’s just an SUV with quad pipes?” After the 1:10 mark, though, when the development mule for the new Mercedes ML63 AMG starts flying around the track, you may just begin to wonder if the laws of physics are being bent. There’s something a little distressing about watching a 5,000+ lb ute tucking through tight corners, as if the car guy’s traditional fetish for light weight were suddenly revealed to be some kind of cruel joke. But perhaps what’s really bothering me is that I know I’ll never see one of these things driven this way, unless some famous football player commits a heinous crime of some kind and leads cops on a modern, high-speed update of OJ Simpson’s infamous chase. In which case, I’d say this might just be the vehicle to have.

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4 of 12 comments
  • B.C. B.C. on Aug 05, 2011

    Its like an NFL lineman reminding you he's still an athlete beneath all those rolls of fat.

  • Cstoc Cstoc on Aug 05, 2011

    Actually, you'd be amazed what a real driver can do with an unlikely vehicle. On my first morning at the Bondurant school in Phoenix, the instructors took the students on a tour using 15-passenger Chevy vans. They did all the braking, slalom, skid instruction, and other moves that we'd be doing in Cadillac CTS-V sedans, but did it in a loaded Chevy Van. The hot laps on the track were really amazing. I asked them if the vans had been modified and they replied that they were bone stock, straight from the dealer. They told one story about a student on the track driving a Corvette and thinking he was making good time until a van filled with waving students passed him!

  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Aug 05, 2011

    I recall an outing many years ago, with my '79 Impala station wagon loaded with people and baggage. Knowing where the uphill passing lanes were on the twisting mountain road, I'd time it to be coming up behind a Porsche around corners just before the uphills. With the 350 V8, I'd have the speed to get past the Porsche before running out of passing lane. I could tell the Porsche driver was unfamiliar with the road. But before the next such uphill, the Porsche driver would always get past me. So I had to do this several times. We thought it was terribly funny to have this loaded yank tank repeatedly pass a Porsche. As for the Mercedes, an suv by definition has to have more clearance and a higher body than a car, and is meant for utility. While the ride height can be adjustable, the roofline cannot and the body must have a certain capacity. So optimizing an suv for what's done best by sports cars, seems a little conflicted.

  • Bryce Bryce on Aug 06, 2011

    That looks ok on a race track how good is it on a rough gravel roadwhere some of us drive fast?