2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Starting MSRP $48,990–$94,990
Entering its third generation, Mercedes-Benz's midsize five-seat M-Class SUV gets more powerful engines and new interior and exterior styling. Competitors include the Audi Q7, Land Rover LR4 and BMW X5.
(Skip to details on the: ML63 AMG)
One of the M-Class' distinguishing features has been its flowing C-pillars, and they're prominent on the 2012 model. To save weight, the hood and fenders are made from lightweight aluminum.
From the front, the M-Class has a snarly look, and LED daytime running lights are standard. A chrome plate starts just below the radiator grille and extends downward to the front underpinnings. The side wheel arches aren't as pronounced on the new M-Class, and LED taillights finish the rear of the SUV.
Nineteen-inch twin-five-spoke alloy wheels are standard while 20-inch wheels are optional. A power liftgate is standard, and a tilt-sliding panoramic glass roof is optional.
Cabin changes include a revised dashboard and center console. A standard 7-inch screen is part of Mercedes' Comand system that controls various functions like audio and phone settings via a central control knob near the middle armrest.
Standard entertainment features include Bluetooth audio streaming, a CD/DVD player, and MP3 and USB inputs. A navigation system and Harman Kardon surround-sound audio are optional.
Under the Hood
The base ML350 is powered by a 302-horsepower, 3.5-liter gas V-6 engine that makes 273 pounds-feet of torque. Also available is the ML350 Bluetec, which has a 240-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine that generates 455 pounds-feet of torque. All M-Class SUVs have a seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
The M-Class' steel suspension features Agility Control adaptive damping. The optional Airmatic self-leveling air suspension includes Sport and Comfort modes.
The M-Class has nine standard airbags including a knee airbag for the driver, side curtain airbags and side-impact airbags for both rows of seats. Also standard are Attention Assist driver-drowsiness detection and Pre-Safe, a system that prepares the cabin for a potential impact or rollover. Optional safety features include:
- Lane departure warning and prevention
- Blind spot warning system
- Adaptive cruise control with automatic braking
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Backup camera
Set to go on sale in early 2012, the high-performance ML63 AMG packs greater efficiency and more punch than before. It's powered by a 518-hp, twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 that produces 516 pounds-feet of torque. If 518 hp isn't enough, there's an available AMG Performance Package that adds 32 hp for a total of 550 hp. With the package, the claimed zero-to-60-mph time is just 4.6 seconds and the top speed is 174 mph. The V-8 teams with a seven-speed automatic transmission, and the SUV comes with all-wheel drive.
The ML63 AMG features a designo leather interior with a black headliner. There's also a flat-bottom AMG Performance steering wheel, aluminum- and leather-trimmed dashboard, and heated and ventilated front seats.
On the outside, the ML63 AMG gets a much more aggressive front bumper with a larger lower grille shroud, deeper front and rear under-bumper aprons, more pronounced rocker panels, 20-inch wheels and chrome quad exhaust tips. Back to top
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Mike Hanley||Cars.com National||January 31, 2012|
|Cars.com Staff||Cars.com National||February 14, 2012|
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