By on August 5, 2011

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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12 Comments on “Beware Of Low-Flying SUVs…...”

  • avatar

    As impressive as this is, I cannot see any potential owners of this car (or X6M’s, or Jeep GC SRT8’s etc) ever taking it to a track. A drag strip, sure, but beyond that never. Not saying that the manufacturer shouldn’t do this sort of testing to ensure all the components are up to the stresses that metric poop-tons of power will put on the running gear, brakes, and chassis, but it’ll never be exploited once development is done.

    You’re right tho, much more capable than a late 80’s white Bronco

    • 0 avatar
      Byron Hurd

      I imagine a lot more owners would track if they could. There are plenty of JGCs at drag strips, but they’re generally not allowed on road courses or even at auto-cross events for insurance reasons.

  • avatar

    Not impressed. Iowa class ships were capable of 35knots and that’s a 70 year old design. Probably with similar fuel consumption rates too. Maybe similar acquisition costs too.

  • avatar

    Properly applied, money can make anything fast.

  • avatar

    Stop the hating, and consider how much is learned by engineers making these behemoths handle like that. If you can make a 5,000 lb. SUV handle well, imagine what you can do with lighter cars.

  • avatar

    What a silly waste of human capital. Wouldn’t it be more productive to come up with a large AMG branded replacement organ for the insecure rich guys who might be tempted to buy this thing? Think how much more fun it would be to watch Top Gear test THAT.

  • avatar

    On a smooth, wide track, with plenty of runoff and and a professional driver intimately familiar with both the “car” and the track; all you really need is power to weight, raw grip and a suspension low and stiff enough to prevent the car from rolling. Those wizards behind the wheel, can work around almost anything else. Bike messengers in NYC and SF have races on their fixed gear bikes, why not the UPS delivery guys?

    Now, try putting that thing downhill an umfamiliar, narrow canyon with off camber blind turns with huge bumps at the apex and meeting traffic, and see how well it works next to an Elise, or even a Miata…

  • avatar

    Not so much an SUV as an obese hot hatch.

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    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!

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

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

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