You can drink $12 bottles of Chardonnay for your whole life and be totally happy. You can also drink massive quantities of $12 bottles and be stupidly happier. Either way, you’re still at the $12 level and your liver’s going to give up the ghost eventually. Which brings us to the Mercedes Benz ML63 AMG that we drove for a week in Southern California. That’s right, the one that’s stickered in the neighborhood of $92,000 (sound of corks hitting the ground fills the air).
Now, you could easily get by with driving one of the sublime, but un-oaked, standard ML350s, but that’s like drinking the cheap stuff once you’ve had a sip of the ML63. Eventually you’re going to hide it in a brown paper bag. Not true with the AMG version. Forget the 12 mpg combined rating; let’s see if we can dip into single digits (ok, Al Gore, back to your screw top white blend and leave us alone for a minute). Let’s start from the end of this story… 4.8 seconds to 60. How in the world can you move a 6,000 lb beast (including the crew and a cargo area full of production gear) this fast? It’s simple, burn more fuel and send the flames to the tires. That’s exactly what one Chasing Classic Cars producer did, but not before spinning some Iggy Pop on the center stack.
“Lust for Life” cranked as she hammered the pedal and pointed us north toward Santa Barbara. Iggy hit it on the head – volume up to ten “that’s like hypnotizing chickens.” This thing is fast, this thing is high – this thing is amazing.
Truthfully the speed limit through Malibu is about 45 mph, so if you have to drive slowly you might as well be high up so you can see the coast (the middle finger looks different from this angle, by the way). Then suddenly the PCH opens up into a four lane and we’re forced to goose it up, in the name of safety, to merge onto the 101. Then it’s instantly back to a respectable, but brisk, cruising speed. But the ML never really settles down; it wants you to do more to it. It wants to be driven like it is the only vehicle on the road; it’s like your first real date after you got out of college. And then you fall in love.
The seats are seductive; the suspension forgiving, yet demanding; the combination of speed plus torque becomes a guilty rush of unending pleasure. Oh yeah, this Benz is dope. But that’s just us on the inside; on the outside, regular Chardonnay folks haven’t got a clue (another middle finger). Iggy Pop once again, “You’re skin starts itching once you buy the gimmick…about something called love.” That’s the ML63 AMG: Lust for life.
~ Jim Astrausky
Chasing Classic Cars is produced by Essex Television Group, Inc. whose all-HD broadcast division specializes in creating adventure and personality-driven documentary programming. Their series and specials have covered the legendary Baja 1000 off road race, post Katrina New Orleans and the war torn countries of Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan. Current programming includes season one and two of Chasing Classic Cars, and seasons one and two of Dr. Danger on MOJO HD. Their work can also be found on the Travel Channel, Discovery’s Military, Health and International channels, HDNet and PBS. Executive Producers for Essex Television Group are Jim Astrausky and Dan Carey. Senior Producer is Hannah Lintner.
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