Getting away from the sounds of the road or the troubles of the work day doesn’t get much easier than it does in the M-Class SUV’s from Mercedes-Benz. Knowing this SUV is a Mercedes-Benz is enough for most people, but not for Mercedes-Benz who replaced their engines with smaller and more efficient versions for this new model year. Adding to the new engines is the continued truth that riding in one of these great SUV’s is one of the most luxurious rides anyone can experience at all. As a five-passenger luxury SUV from one of the world’s best and most recognizable brands the M-Class of SUV’s makes for a great ride for every passenger and driver inside the vehicle.
As not only a luxury SUV, but also a high-performance one the M-Class can reach a top speed of 174 mph when called upon to do so and it also is capable of pampering all occupants in high end luxury that lets them know they are in a very special vehicle. The only new additions for this year are the two new engines that replace the ones from previous years, which is really a huge change for the M-Class.
Many luxury SUV’s aren’t built to handle actual off roading, but the M-Class, when equipped with the off-road package, can handle any light or medium trails with ease. The suspension handles the trails and any curved roads with ease a very high degree of capability. In addition to the easy rid of the suspension is a very highly responsive steering system that takes all driver inputs and transfers it to the wheels quickly and effectively. The M-Class adds to the awesome control a very quiet cabin that allows any owner to get away from the world around them by virtue of the sound deadening technology allowing the occupants to listen to their choice of music and not the road around them.
All four models of the M-Class receive their own engines which are all mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The base engine comes in the ML350 in the form of a 3.5-liter V6 engine that offers up 302 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. This power train offers fuel efficiency of 18 city/24 hwy mpg for the RWD model, 17 city/22 hwy mpg for the AWD model and 13 city 17 hwy mpg for the AWD when fueled by E85.
The second engine is found in the new ML250 Blue TEC and comes in the form of a 2.1-liter turbocharged diesel four-cylinder engine that brings in 200 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine offers a lot to enjoy with the power of diesel and the fuel efficiency of a turbocharged four-cylinder block.
Third in line is the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine found under the hood of the ML400. This engine comes in with 329 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque. As a power train, the pair comes in with a fuel efficiency of 18 city/22 hwy mpg for this model.
Finally, the largest and most powerful in this lineup is the 5.5-liter biturbo V8 engine in the ML63 AMG model. This beast packs a real punch with 518 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. Add the transmission and this powertrain will offer a 13 city/17 hwy mpg of fuel mileage which isn’t great, but with this engine owners are looking for power, not fuel efficiency.
From the inside any of the M-Class SUV’s are exactly what is expected of a Mercedes-Benz vehicle. Covered in soft materials and real wood accents they offer plenty of comfort and appeal for anyone to enjoy. The rear seat offers a ton of legroom to keep everyone comfortable with seats that actually recline as well. Add the twin LCD screens and passengers will be fighting over the backseat so they can watch movies and relax.
On the outside this vehicle is unmistakable and gorgeous. With the horizontal grill that is adorned with the three point star logo the M-Class looks and feels great on the road. The headlights actually sweep back and make the eye move toward the rear of the vehicle. A well placed belt line runs the length on the sides and the angle of approach from hood to roof is appealing and adds to the luxury. Along with all this beauty is the strong and foreboding stance that exudes confidence anywhere it goes. The final touch is the double star spoked wheels that are easy to enjoy and add a look and feel of a vehicle that is ready to go.
The standard equipment offered for the M-Class allows an owner to enjoy high-end luxury even in the base model. The list includes a power sunroof, eight-way heated front seats, a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, a seven-inch color center display, Collision Prevention Assistance, an eight-speaker audio system with HD Radio, nine airbags and Attention Assist which helps to keep drivers awake and alert.
The optional equipment for the M-Class includes a few packages that add a navigation system, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, a premium Harman/Kardon surround sound system, a panorama roof, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, 20-inch wheels, air suspension and adaptive damping. All of these added luxury items can take a great SUV to new heights and easily make it one of the most enjoyable vehicles on the road.
Pricing for the M-Class lineup is pretty much as expected. The ML350 base model starts out just over $49,000 and moves to $52,000 to add AWD to the vehicle. The ML250 starts around $51,000 and the ML400 will fetch a price that begins at $64,000. At the top of the heap, the ML63 AMG starts around $99,500, making it a fairly expensive SUV, which is big on luxury. Adding option packages can bring the top end, fully loaded ML63 AMG up to a price as high as $120,000. This gives anyone shopping for a great luxury SUV a chance to buy the M-Series for a large variation in pricing and equipment.