1 May 2012
THE third-generation M-Class luxury SUV got an efficient four-cylinder diesel engine for the lower-priced entry-level model and generous levels of standard equipment aimed at tempting buyers away from the competition.
Safety spec was high, with nine airbags, self-drying brakes, tyre pressure loss warning, driver fatigue detection, ‘pre-safe’ accident prediction system and electronic stability, traction and braking aids.
The most basic specification level included a seven-inch multi-function display with satellite navigation, internet, 10GB of music storage, Bluetooth and iPod integration, self-parking, a reversing camera, cruise control, electrically adjustable synthetic leather seats and dual-zone climate control.
The V6 diesel ML350 BlueTec and V6 petrol ML350 BlueEfficiency added memory functions for the heated genuine leather seats, 20-inch alloy wheels, stitched synthetic leather on the dashboard and adaptive bi-Xenon headlights with automatic high beam.
Driver assistance technology was also boosted to include blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance and radar-based collision avoidance and mitigation technologies, plus an off-road transmission mode.
The ML500 added adaptive, variable-height air suspension, a glass sunroof, keyless entry and start, a powered tailgate and tyre pressure monitoring, while the ML63 AMG got interior and exterior styling upgrades and upgraded instruments.
Extra luxuries on the AMG included a premium Harman-Kardon Logic 7 surround-sound audio system, upgraded climate control, a digital TV tuner, privacy glass, illuminated front door sill panels and an alarm system.
The four-cylinder 150kW/500Nm ML250 BlueTec could reach 100km/h in 9.0 seconds, with claimed combined-cycle fuel consumption of 6.4 litres per 100km.
A redeveloped 190kW/620Nm V6 diesel in the ML350 BlueTec provided 0-100km/h in 7.4 seconds and consumed 7.3L/100km.
Benz also upgraded the V6 petrol engine in the ML350 BlueEfficiency, which put out 225kW and 370Nm meaning 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds while consumption was 8.5L/100km.
With 300kW of power and 600Nm of torque on tap, the ML500’s V8 petrol engine used 12.3L/100km and the hot ML63 AMG flagship’s V8 brought a thunderous 386kW of power and 700Nm of torque, good for a sprint to triple figures in 4.8 seconds.
The AMG’s combined fuel consumption of 11.8L/100km was a massive 28 per cent improvement over the old model and bettered the less powerful ML500.
When it was new