This is the point in the SUV horrorshow when all the kids in the audience gasp and throttle the wrist of the person next to them until there's not a trickle of circulation left running in the entire theater. It's what we in the biz call the "money shot" (er, or something like that). Next month in Frankfurt, Mercedes will uncover its new tuner M-Class, which will be powered by the hopeful jewel in AMG's hand-signed crown. We're talking about the long-awaited, new 6.3-liter V8 that could turn mommy's runabout into a grocery-getting, juice-box-handling, sleepaway-camper-transporting, rocket-propelled violin-lesson slave ship. Too much hyperbole for you, Sally? Just wait, you haven't seen shite.
AMG's new popwerplant is a 510-hp screamer, making max horsies at 6800 rpm — with 465 ft/lbs of torque arriving at 5200 rpm. If the Merc specs are correct, the new V8 is the world s most powerful naturally aspirated eight-cylinder engine in regular production. Don't let all those qualifiers dampen your enthusiasm, either. An AMG-tuned 7G-TRONIC transmission and all-wheel-drive setup that provides a 40/60 front/rear torque split keeps all those revs working smartly. Cornering should be considerably un-SUV-like, with an AMG-tweaked AIRMATIC sports suspension based set to keep body roll under control, with "AMG-specific" damper struts, adaptive damping and level control system that lowers the works at high speeds.
Oh, and the meats? 19-inch AMG light-alloy, five-spoke with 295/45 R19 wide-base tires all-round, with 20-inchers with 295/40 R20 fatties optional.
Think we're gushing too much? Relax. We'll pull ourselves together before it's released in the second half of 2006. Heh.
AMG s New Screamer: Mercedes 6.3-Liter V8 in Depth [internal]