It’s only natural that Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming BMW X6 competitor, the MLC, will gain a high-powered AMG variant—how else would it compete with the insane BMW X6M? No surprise, then , that our photographer spied a version of the Mercedes-Benz MLC63 AMG testing only a few weeks after we saw a prototype of the standard MLC out in the wild.
Despite fairly heavy camouflage, these two prototypes both look to display the same bulbous, coupe-like SUV styling as the Concept Coupe SUV Mercedes-Benz showed at the Beijing auto show last month. A large, imposing grille with a large three-pointed star dominates the front, with this AMG version displaying intense-looking air intakes on the lower front fascia. This body kit continues along the sides with extended sills, and the MLC63 AMG prototype also features a prominent real spoiler on the tapered rear end. The curved roofline remains from the standard car, which is sure to compromise headroom and cargo space in the rear.
This prototype’s enlarged wheels and high-performance tires also tipped us off that this is the AMG version of this bizarre SUV. Since the MLC is based on the existing Mercedes-Benz ML, expect this version to share many components with the ML63 AMG, including its 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V-8 engine that puts out 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. This is a bit less than the BMW X6M’s 555-hp, 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8, but it is possible that AMG might retune the 5.5L powertrain for more power in the Mercedes-Benz MLC63.
The Mercedes-Benz MLC is expected to debut sometime next year as a 2016 model, with production starting at the same Alabama plant that produces the ML and GL SUVs along with the new 2015 C-Class. Expect the MLC63 AMG version to debut soon after the standard car, meaning sometime next spring or summer.