Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the new ML 63 SUV, a car that throws two carbon-soaked fingers up at the environment while Merc has the brass neck to say it "stands for efficiency".
Alright, so that quote should end with "and performance," but still – do you really think that a 4x4 with a 518bhp 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine should have efficiency as its first boast?
Neither do we. Brutal, almost pointless acceleration is what this car is about: it hits 62mph in 4.8 seconds, tops out at a (very) limited 155mph and drinks fuel at an average rate of 23.9mpg.
The last ML 63 AMG had a 6.2-litre V8, but the downsized 5.5-litre of this car is altogether punchier, up by 15bhp and 51lb ft, taking peak torque to 516lb ft at a low, low 1,750rpm.
Unless, that is, the buyer opts for the AMG Performance Pack, in which case the car is even more potent: power and torque hit 550bhp and 560lb ft, taking the 0-62mph time down to 4.7 seconds.
All the while, fuel economy improves by a massive 28 percent...we take back what we said before about efficiency.
Mercedes says that this, the flagship M-Class, comes with a "fascinating technology package," including start/stop, a clever new direct injection system, and Merc's new Active Curve System, which is an adjustable anti-roll system that, in theory, allows the usually mutually exclusive qualities of comfort and sporty handling to coexist. It tightens itself up when the car is cornering, reducing body roll.
The engine drives all four wheels through a 7G-Tronic automatic gearbox with three driving modes, including Sport and Controlled Efficiency. The latter of those activates the start/stop system, while the former shortens the gearshift times.
The new super-SUV, which is a whole 40kg lighter than its predecessor, gets Airmatic adaptable suspension as standard, again switchable three ways between firm sportiness and spongy comfort.
Speed sensitive steering is standard, saving fuel by switching on the power assistance only when the wheel is actually being turned.
Standard equipment includes an AMG visual overhaul, including quad tailpipes, 19-inch AMG light alloy wheels (21s optional), a re-sculpted front bumper with large air intakes, and AMG specific side sills.
Inside the car gets a performance steering wheel with a flat-bottomed rim, aluminium trim and standard leather. As you can imagine, the options list is extensive.
Mercedes hasn't said a word on pricing yet, but given the current top-of-the-range M-Class, the ML 500 Sport, costs £60,000, expect this one to cost over £70,000. It's due in the UK during Spring 2012.