In 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.
Mercedes also markets the ML63 AMG, a high-performance version of the M-Class powered by a 518-horsepower, twin-turbo V-8. There's also an available all-wheel-drive diesel variant called the ML350 Bluetec 4Matic.
(Skip to details on the: ML63 AMG)
New for 2013
For 2013, all M-Class models get standard safety equipment like mbrace2 in-car telematics and collision prevention assist. An optional On- and Off-Road Package is new, bringing a two-stage transfer case, longitudinal locking differential and six transmission settings. On the inside, the driver and passenger seats now have an optional massaging function.
The V-6-powered ML350 is also now available with rear-wheel drive.
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. A distinguishing feature of the M-Class has been its flowing C-pillars. To save weight, the hood and fenders are made from lightweight aluminum. Exterior features include:
- 19-inch wheels standard; 19- and 20-inch AMG-style wheels optional
- Power liftgate
- LED taillights
- Available running boards
- Available bi-xenon headlamps with washers
- Optional tilt-sliding panoramic glass roof
All M-Class models have a color instrument cluster display, and a 7-inch screen is part of Mercedes' Comand system, which controls various functions like audio and phone settings via a control knob near the middle armrest.
Standard entertainment features include Bluetooth audio streaming, a CD/DVD player, and auxiliary and USB inputs. Other interior features include:
- Available massaging seats for driver and front passenger
- Standard heated front seats
- Available heated rear seats
- Optional premium surround-sound audio system
- Optional hard-drive-based navigation system
- Available rear-seat entertainment system
Under the Hood
The M-Class' steel suspension features Agility Control adaptive damping. The optional Airmatic self-leveling air suspension includes Sport and Comfort modes. Mechanical features include:
- 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 302 horsepower and 273 pounds-feet of torque (ML350)
- Turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 diesel that makes 240 hp and 455 pounds-feet of torque (ML350 Bluetec)
- Twin-turbo 4.6-liter V-8 that makes 402 hp and 443 pounds-feet of torque (ML550)
- Available On- and Off-Road Package
- Available all-wheel drive
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, Collision Prevention Assist, mbrace2, and Pre-Safe, which 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
- Parking assist with backup camera
Buyers looking for power can choose the high-performance ML63 AMG. 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 leather interior with a black headliner. There's also a flat-bottom AMG Performance steering wheel with paddle shifters, 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
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