Mercedes managed something quite different for its Chicago unveiling of the AMG versions of the R-class and the ML - an ice rink, complete with hockey players and figure skaters. Perhaps to drive home the "all-weather performance" message, or maybe to bond with the Winter Olympics. Who knows?

In any event, the AMG version of the R-class was well worth the pre-unveiling ice capades, according to Chris Paukert.

Featuring the first engine ever developed completely by AMG from the ground up, a 6.3-liter, 503 hp monster with 465 ft-lb of torque, the reborn R63 AMG will hustle from 0-60 mph in 5 seconds. The new engine has a silicon-aluminum block, four valves per cylinder, and variable valve timing, and feeds the power to a seven-speed automatic transmission controlled by either a Direct Select lever on the column, or by F1-style button shifters on the steering wheel. The driver can select from Sport, Comfort or Manual shift modes.

The AMG appearance kit includes front and rear fascia modifications, a new AMG grille, AMG side skirts, smoked taillights, and chromed dual exhausts.

The interior features leather AMG sport seats with Alcantara inserts, stainless pedals with rubber studs, a special instrument cluster, a leather AMG wheel, and AMG door sills. The R63 retains the six-passenger seating of the standard R-class.

The all-wheel drive R63 AMG comes with an AIRMATIC height-adjustable suspension and 19-inch wheels sporting 295/45 tires. Lots of pictures after the jump.



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