Comparison X5 4.8 and ML63
Someone asked in another forum if they should purchase a Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG or an '07 X5 4.8i with Sport Package - the main concern being horsepower. Thought I would share my response.
Let's cover the basics about horsepower, since this is the crux of your question, then what I think are the crucial differences with the X5 4.8 and ML63.
'07 ML63 AMG
Engine: AMG-built 6.3L 32-valve V-8 engine with 503 hp @ 6,800 rpm and 465 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA estimate 12/16mpg city/highway
0-60 in 4.8 seconds
Transmission: AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7-speed automatic. Steering-wheel-mounted Direct Select shifter with fingertip shift controls.
Drive configuration: fixed 40/60 front/rear torque split.
Suspension: Front, double wishbone and front-arm; Rear, independent 4-arm multilink.
Tow capacity when properly equipped: 2,000 lbs
Distronic Adaptive Cruise Control – yes.
No Heads Up Display
No Adaptive Drive
No Flexray technology
No panoramic moonroof
No auto-leveling suspension
No Rear View Camera
BASE PRICE: $86,275
Destination charge: $775.00
Full Maintenance: there is a fee.
'07 X5 4.8i
Engine: 4.8L 32-valve V-8 engine with 350 hp @ 6,300 rpm and 350 lb-ft of torque between 3,400-3,800 rpm, Double VANOS Variable Valve Control
EPA estimate N/A
0-60 in 6.4 seconds, top speed 130 (150 with 20” optional wheel (I’ve already taken my X5 up to 144 mph, a photo that provides proof was taken at 142 mph)
Transmission: 6-speed electronically controlled automatic with Adaptive Transmission Control and STEPTRONIC gear selection – shift by wire. Shifter is in the usual place, between driver and passenger seats.
Drive Configuration: The X5 is the only vehicle to feature a fully variable torque control system. In other words, all of the torque can be shifted to either front or rear wheels, whereas in the ML63 is fixed at 40/60.
Suspension: Front, double wishbone and front arm; Rear, lightweight multi-link integral. And rear auto-leveling suspension.
Tow capacity when properly equipped: 6,000 lbs.
Weight distribution: front/rear 49.6/50.4
No adaptive cruise control
Heads Up Display
Adaptive Drive includes Active Roll Stabilization and Electronic Dampening Control
Rear View Camera
BASE PRICE $54,500
Destination charge: $695.00
Full maintenance at zero cost – 48 months/50,000 miles.
There is definitely a more powerful X5 (4.8is?) on the way, but probably not until fall '07 or early '08.
Both have similar Park Distance Control systems. I personally think the rear cabin ceiling visual alerts on the MB are a bit silly. It’s just one more thing to look at when you are already trying to look at the rear view mirror, side view mirrors. X5’s rear view camera works very well, even at night, and is automatically defrosted in cold weather. You can turn on/off “Camera Panning” which will actually show the bumper. The following can also be turned on/off: Pathway lines, Obstacle marking, and Turning lines. Both offer power-retractable exterior mirrors.
When you take the base vehicle and add a few grand worth of options, those options need to add up to something more than their individual option price points. In other words, there's more to a $70,000+ vehicle than horsepower. It's how well that horsepower is translated into driving pleasure.
Take a look at my X5 here: http://homepage.mac.com/kaleocarter/...toAlbum12.html
It’ll show you the following:
- 142 mph photo.
- L.E.D. conductor rods for rear tail lights. These are used for daytime running lamps and provide energy efficiency.
- Corona Rings are the most beautiful headlight configuration on a luxury light truck!
- Xenon Adaptive Headlights with auto-leveling and Cornering Fog lamps (standard features on X5, $900 option on M class) – Let’s not forget the BMW headlight safety feature added to the lastest X5 model (code named E70) The xenons will remain facing straight forward when vehicle is at a stop but the steering wheel has been turned. Once the vehicle begins forward movement, the Xenon Adaptive Lights will then maneuver and turn according to the steering angle. .
- Anthracite headliner – included with Sports Package. The black headliner is sportier and adds a two-tone elegance. If you look at NAIAS and LA Auto Show, two-tone interiors are going to make a come back.
- Black Dashboard – BMW has always employed a black dash for safety reasons – minimize glare and reflection. MB color-coordinates the dashboard with the interior seat color. However, the beige and gray will always throw a reflection on the front windshield.
- Heads Up Display - The black dash becomes even more important when you have Heads Up Display, which is now available in the X5, but not the MLs.
- Dark Bamboo – Interior trim offerings from MB are Burl Walnut, Burl Walnut, and Burl Walnut. BMW offers Grahpite, Light Poplar, Dark Burl Walnut, and Dark Bamboo. The only other car manufacturer I have seen use bamboo is Aston Martin. With the addition of bamboo, BMW offers a wood species that can be replenished very quickly as it is a fast-growing species. This is in keeping with BMW’s sustainability of growth principles.
I am trying to persuade you to not look at horsepower as the end-all be-all of your experience. You’ve got to ask for a heck of a lot more from an ML63 with a base price of over $86,000!!!!
I priced out the vehicles using each company’s Build Your Own site. There are a couple of different options, but I am trying to be fair in the comparison by choosing options that speak best of each manufacturer and the option offerings on their respective vehicles.
- I did not include any Rear Entertainment systems, but for the record X5 option is $1,800 and ML option is $2,800. I do like the ML’s dual DVD screens in rear of front head restraints better than the single DVD above-front-armrest screen in the BMW. Since I don’t have kids, this option played no factor in my choosing a vehicle.
- I also did not include iPod Integration Kit. Though BMW and MB offer auxiliary input jacks to plug in MP3 player, BMW’s full integration kit is forthcoming and MB’s integration kit is $365.
- Both offer Satellite Radio. BMW is the first to offer HD Radio with multicasting for entire product line (3, 5, 6, 7, X3, X5, and Z4).
- I did not include Third Row seating, which is new to the X5 as a $1,200 option.
MB ML63 AMG $86,275
- Verde Brook Metallic, Macadamia Nappa, Burl Walnut, Aluminum accents $0
- Lighting Package (headlamp washing, Bi-Xenon Curve Illuminating Head Lamps, Corner Illuminating Fog Lamps) $900
- Auto-dimming mirrors is standard)
- Distronic – Adaptive Cruise Control $3,150
- Keyless Go (keyless access and ignition) $1,100
- Parktronic $760
- DVD Navigation $1,650
- 6-Disc CD Changer, MP3 compatible $701
- harman/kardon LOGIC7 digital surround-sound system
- Voice Control $500
- Bluetooth Interface Module for Hands-free Communication $350
- Variable speed-sensitive steering is standard
- Destination Charge $775
BMW X5 4.8i $54,500
- Deep Green Metallic, Sand Beige Nevada Leather, Dark Bamboo, Aluminum accents $0
- Premium Package (lumbar support, panoramic moonroof, auto-dimming mirrors, etc.) $2,550
- Rear Climate Package $700
- Active Ventilated Seats $2,100
- Cold Weather Package $900
- Comfort Access (keyless access and ignition) $1,000
- Technology Package (DVD Navigation, Park Distance Control, Rear-view camera) $2,600
(DVD Navigation also includes Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI) and service is provided at no cost. When you’re navigation route is interrupted by traffic, a dynamic route setting will request the system to choose a route that avoids the traffic when possible.)
- Premium Sound Package (6-disc CD Changer, MP3 compatible, 16-speaker, 600-watt, digital 9-channel amplifier) $1,800
- Heads-Up Display (windshield display of current speed, navigation directions, cruise control and warnings, with brightness and height position settings) $1,000
- Voice Activation is standard
- Bluetooth Hands-free Communication is standard
- Sports Package (Adaptive Drive w/ Active Roll Stabilization & Electronic Dampening Control, Anthracite Headliner, etc.) $3,600
- Run-flat all-season tires are standard (Spare wheel is provided unless ordered with Third Row Seat option, then no spare.)
- xDrive is standard
- Active Steering (variable speed-sensitive steering) $1,250
- Destination Charge $695
- Optional BMW Performance Center Delivery of any new BMW model (not just Z4 or X5) includes one night’s stay at Greenville Marriott, 3 complimentary meals, driver course instruction, Spartanburg Plant and Zentrum Museum tour. There is no extra cost for Performance Center Delivery, but transportation costs to and from Greenville, South Carolina is the responsibility of customer. You may also opt to pay for shipment of BMW model back to your original destination at owner’s expense. Shipment to Phoenix is $700-$800
More often you will be wanting stability control, safety, driving comfort, superb braking, electronic dampening, gas mileage, a decent monthly payment, a wonderful sound system, easy to use navigation, Real Time Traffic Information, the most advanced data transmissions system in any vehicle on the planet which is called Flexray, and only the X5 has it (though other car manufacturers will follow suit as this will soon be the standard data transmission protocol).
But if you want to know from my experience – the X5 is the quietest vehicle I have ever been in at 102 mph with me driving and 3 passengers in the cabin – one was an Audi owner, the other one a Mercedes-Benz owner, and the third a recent BMW Z4 owner. The MB owner went out and purchased a 325 coupe the next week.
On top of that, throw in the BMW Performance Center Delivery option. Learn from a Formula 1 racecar driver. Experience three different courses and the off-road course. Maybe get a hot lap in an M5! And tour the Spartanburg Plant and see how the X5s are built. Then enjoy a sweet drive across the country - trust me.
To see is to know. To drive is to believe.
This is my offering as why I think you should go for the X5 4.8i over the ML63. There’s only so much that horsepower is going to get you – a sweet 0-60 time and bragging rights. I would rather be able to brag about driving the most innovative, most technologically advanced assembly-line vehicle on the planet, brought to you by the company that first introduced Active Steering, Xenon Headlights, Adpative Headlights, Heads-Up Display, the first to implement Flexray into a production vehicle, first to offer Digital HD Radio Receiver for the entire product line, first to offer a sustainable wood species in product line.
I’m going for a drive now…in my X5!
Great review - thanks for all the supplied info!
I do believe the X5 4.8 should be compared to the ML550 and the ML63 to the upcoming (2008?) top-model of the X5-line (don't know if it will be an "is" or "M"..).
Honestly, I'm not sure if I would pick the 4.8 over the AMG...that SUV is a tempting beast and the base-MSRP actually tells you "don't compare these two cars - different league...":thumbup:
I agree. The base prices are a good indicator of non-competing models. But that's what the person was choosing between - basically the top models offered from each company. That said, I look forward to BMW offering both a more powerful petrol version and a diesel engine.
Having driven the '07 M-Class and now the proud owner of a new '07 4.8i X5, I'd definitely go for the X5. It's a bit hard to compare the ML63 with the 4.8i as the ML63 is the AMG version of the ML while the 4.8i isn't BMW's "M" version or even their "sport" version (like the previous 4.8is). If you are looking for pure HP, you might get it in the ML63, but the driving experience just isn't the same. I've heard BMW is coming out with an "M" or sport version for the new E70 platform; if that is true, wait just a bit and get the X5. The full maintenance alone is a keeper. The maintenance costs on an AMG product could get a bit ugly -- especially if something goes wrong. My brother has a MB vehicle right now and has paid at least $2,000 over the last two years. Needless to say, he can't wait to get out of it and get a BMW. :)
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