When Mercedes-Benz introduced its M-Class in the late Nineties, the Stuttgart-based firm established a premium class of SUVs. With the segment moving from strength to strength over the past decade, and the second generation M-Class now long in the tooth, the Three-pointed Star’s launched a successor – the W116.
Right from the onset, the company’s confident of the M-Class’s credential’s as a class leader. “The M-Class combines high levels of comfort with great off-road capabilities, no matter the terrain,” says Eckart Mayer, Vice President for Passenger Cars at Mercedes-Benz South Africa.
Design-wise, there’s no mistaking the heritage of the new model. The forward slant of the C-pillar has been a hallmark of the ML-Class since its debut in 1997. Other notable characteristics include new creases and angles in the body panels and at the back, redesigned tail lamps and a revised rear bumper .
As one would expect, the interior’s been created to make M-Class passengers feel supremely comfortable. There’s more room front and rear and the seats have been optimised with electric adjustability – the rear seat backrests are now also adjustable for angle. With the rear backrests and seat cushions folded, there’s now up to 2 010 dm3 of utility space. There’s a standard Audio 20 CD system, which comprises of a radio, MP3-compatible six-disk CD player, Bluetooth, Aux-in and USB – as well as a telephone keypad.
One of the huge talking points of the new M-Class is the claim that the range offers 23 to 28 per cent better fuel consumption than the models offered in the outgoing ML. In particular the ML250 BlueTEC 4MATIC – which Mercedes-Benz claims uses just 6,5 litres/100m km for a range of up to 1 500 km – emits just 165 g/km of CO2. The ML 250 is powered by a 150 kW and 500 N.m turbodiesel four-cylinder engine.
Although the ML250 is the economy star of the line-up, the ML350 BlueTEC 4MATIC isn’t too far off. The reworked 3,0-litre V6 turbodiesel, which produces 190 kW and 620 N.m of torque, has a claimed consumption figure of just 7,4 litres/100km.
The petrol-engined models include the ML350 4MATIC V6, which produces 225 kW and 370 N.m of torque (8,8-litres/100km), the ML 500 with a direct injection V8 that produces 300 kW and 600 N.m of torque (287 g/km of CO2), as well as the range-topping ML63 AMG. The latter is powered by a twin-turbocharged 5,5-litre V8 that produces 386 kW and 700 N.m of torque (with a CO2 emissions of 276 g/km).
Besides the updated 7G-tronic seven-speed transmission, the M-Class also features selective suspension damping, electric steering, start-off assist for hill climbing and Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR), as well as the finest safety features such as the Attention Assist driver drowsiness detection system, adaptive brake lamps to supplement the Brake Assist BAS, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist.
ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC R683 500
ML 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC R778 000
ML 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY R752 000
ML 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY R935 900
ML63 AMG R1 380 000
As with all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the M-Class range comes standard with the MobiloDrive maintenance plan of 6-years/120 000 km.