Car reviews - Mercedes-Benz - M-class - ML320 CDI 5-dr wagon
Trick new turbo-diesel M-class is just the ticket for rough stuff and fuel economy
25 Jan 2007
MERCEDES-BENZ has arrested the credibility slide that saw its initially popular M-class SUV slipping out of contention in the Australian prestige market. And how. The new M-class storms into Australia with more of everything, immediately slotting into place as a topline alternative in an increasingly crowded category. The ML320 CDI version adds to the new vehicle’s extra space, greatly improved dynamics and sheer on-road presence with what could be the best diesel-fired powerplant available. We’ve said it before, but turbo-diesel engines are getting so good these days that the line separating them from petrol engines is finer than ever. And no more so than in this new, all-alloy Benz V6, which really does make you wonder why you’d bother with a petrol-powered M-class.
The Road to Recovery podcast series
Model release date: 1 November 2005 to 1 September 2008
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Mercedes-Benz M-classReleased: September 98
Ended: August 05
Family Tree: M-class
The original M-class arrived in Australia in September 1998 with a single 160kW/310Nm 3.2-litre V6-powered ML320 variant. At that stage there was a lot to like about the newcomer but its truck-like chassis and indifferent handling took the shine off an otherwise good vehicle. By March 1999 the 200kW/390Nm 4.3-litre V8 ML430 arrived while the 120kW/370Nm 2.7-litre turbo-diesel ML270 CDI went on sale in February 2000. Not surprisingly there was a flagship ML55 AMG (complete with 255kW/510Nm 5.4-litre V8) too, which arrived in January 2001. In November 2001 – model year 2002 – the M-class received a modest facelift that addressed quality issues and improved the cabin. The range continued on with the ML320, ML270 and ML55 variants, while the 215kW/440Nm 5.0-litre V8 ML500 replaced the ML430. The 175kW/346Nm 3.7-litre V6-powered ML350 replaced the ML320 in May 2003.
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