2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

ML350 4WD 4-Dr Sport Utility V6 auto trans

2012 mercedes-benz m-class Reviews and News

2012 Mercedes Benz ML63 AMG Front Three Quarters
More power. It's just what every two-and-a-half-ton SUV needs. Not. For that reason, if you had asked us a few weeks ago to pick a sensible vehicle for touring the winding mountain roads around Santa Barbara, California, chances are excellent we'd probably have neglected to mention Mercedes-Benz's ML series, much less its top-of-the-line ML63 AMG. Fettled by the company's in-house tuning department, the extra-picante version of the weighty SUV has only just reemerged in a third edition with more power than ever: 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, from the now-ubiquitous AMG 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V-8.
High-riding vehicles with mad amounts of horsepower have never struck us as a good idea, even if there's clearly money to be made by offering them to those whose bank accounts trump their understanding of vehicle dynamics. And more muscle, in a vehicle that upon our last visitation was already content to write checks its chassis couldn't cash, hardly recommended the 2012 ML63.
All that, of course, was before we'd driven it, and before Mercedes brought its best technology to bear on the question of how to make something this tall (70.7 inches) and heavy (5093 pounds in its stocking feet) not only go fast -- really big engines have long been known to take care of that chore -- but actually go around corners. And in this sense, the new ML63 is a revelation. Thanks to Mercedes-Benz's Active Curve System, which curbs roll like nobody's business, and the ML63's air suspension with its adaptive dampers, the ML changes direction while remaining so flat and level that you begin to realize that you're having fun on a winding road -- in an SUV. While the ML63 probably won't fully convince you, a knowledgeable enthusiast, that you're in a sports car, wicked exhaust burble notwithstanding, it won't cause you or your passengers to evacuate lunch when you're carving back roads. And in this class of vehicle, that, friends, marks significant progress.
If you want a Mercedes SUV that scares you, you'll want to wait for the new G63 AMG, whose antique chassis is never going to be a match for its new, speedier motor. Opt for the ML63 AMG, though, and while you may not make the same psychographic statement, you will benefit from electromechanical, speed-sensitive power steering and giant brakes. If the standard AMG body kit and interior accoutrements are not ostentatious enough for you, you may choose an optional Performance Package, which not only injects an additional 32 hp and 44 pound-feet of torque, but also buys the carbon fiber engine cover, special steering wheel, and red-painted calipers our test vehicle sported. Twenty-one-inch wheels may replace the standard twenties, which to our eyes are plenty big enough.
So what we have in the ML63 is an SUV that defies the laws of physics and in so doing becomes the new class of its class. While we might still question the need for this breed of animal, we do think it worthy of mention. Finally, it seems, you can make pigs fly.
2012 Mercedes Benz M Class In Motion Front View
Technicolor Montana skies proved a fitting backdrop for the international press launch of the third-generation Mercedes-Benz ML, as the Alabama-built sport-ute has seen more than half of its one million units head for U.S. garages.
2012 Mercedes Benz M Class Front View
Though its signature, swept-back c-pillar is retained, der neue ML has a flattened roofline that's a bit less jaunty and a tad more minivan-ish. The ML gains nearly an inch in length and is slightly wider and lower. With more extensive use of high-tensile steel as well as aluminum body panels and suspension components, the result is a 4753-pound curb weight, which is only 22 pounds heavier than its predecessor. This is despite a longer list of standard items that includes an extra airbag (for a total of nine), heated front seats, and a power liftgate. And, for what it's worth, the ML's .32 drag coefficient sets a new record for an SUV.
A new direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 motivates the ML350 4MATIC, and provides higher outputs (302 hp, 273 lb-ft), and better fuel economy (17/22 mpg) than the outgoing six-cylinder. The ML350 BlueTEC 4MATIC also launches this September, powered by a 3.0-liter diesel that offers more grunt (240 hp, 455 lb-ft) and improved efficiency (20/25 mpg). Both engines use Mercedes' familiar seven-speed 7Gtronic transmission, while a new electromechanical rack-and-pinion steering setup (first seen in the CLS) aids fuel economy numbers. The optional Dynamic Handling Package ($5150) continuously adjusts ride height and damping, along with a hydraulically actuated stabilizer bar that automatically disconnects during straight-line driving. Expect a V-8-powered ML in the first quarter of 2012, and a two wheel-drive ML350 the following September. There's no timeline yet on AMG or hybrid iterations.
Those infamously intractable Germans have made a number of concessions for boorish Americans. The ML's "award-winning cupholders" (wait, weren't those our idea?) are now available with built-in heaters and coolers. Based on research and customer feedback, Mercedes-Benz's multicontroller and cruise control stalks have been relocated, the rear seats now recline, and the expanded cargo area can accommodate golf clubs stowed sideways. iPad docking stations are available as a dealer-installed option for rear passengers, and can be mated to the audio system for in-car movie screenings. Mercedes-Benz tells us third-row seats are also in the works.
After a morning spent traversing Montana highways and crossing the Continental Divide and in an ML350 BlueTEC, the redesigned interior proved pleasant and refined, with a sizable swath of wood and discreet aluminum trim adorning the dash. Curiously, leather upholstery is a $1620 option for the supple yet supportive seats, but our generously equipped test car left almost no box un-ticked -- no surprise, given its $65,015 as-tested price.
Acceleration feels most urgent in the midrange stretch of the power band, where torque peaks between 1600 and 2400 rpm; passing slower traffic requires careful management of shift patterns while avoiding the engine's wheezy upper registers, where oomph tapers off. Some forethought is required when it comes to negotiating mountain passes, as the BlueTEC ML turns in lazily, with a reluctant shift in body mass until it finally settles on its course. Though the dynamic handling package did boost crispness when Sport mode was selected, there was still perceptible body roll despite the built-in anti-roll technology. The ML handles more like its larger GL stablemate than its little sibling, the GLK.
An afternoon driving stint in a standard ML350 revealed noticeably spunkier acceleration with longer legs, aided by a broader torque peak that stretches between 3500 and 5250 rpm. The mostly gravel-strewn roads on our route didn't shed much light on the gasoline-powered ML's handling capabilities, but both variants offered a smooth, quiet ride that made prolonged stints in the cabin remarkably civilized.
At the ML's unveiling earlier this year in Stuttgart, Daimler AG Chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche boasted that sales of the current generation M-Class grew 15 percent in the first quarter of this year--unusual for a six year-old platform. And with SUV registrations in Germany increasing tenfold since 2000, it seems Americans aren't alone in their appetites for plus-sized vehicles.
The new Mercedes-Benz ML is better equipped, more lavishly detailed, and at $48,990, identically priced to its predecessor. But its conservative styling and stodgy road manners suggest Mercedes-Benz doesn't want to offend its core constituents -- at least until a brawny AMG version becomes available. So while one Mercedes-Benz executive describes the new ML as "Bolder, stronger, and safer," we can't help but think that two out of three isn't bad.
2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
The ML350 BlueTec's turbo-diesel engine boasts impressive output numbers (240 hp and455 lb-ft) and respectable fuel economy (20/25 mpg) but is crippled by a narrow band of usable thrust. The engine is laggy on the low end and wheezy in the upper registers, so passing requires forethought and attention to what gear you're in. The traditional gasoline V-6 responds much more quickly and has a broader torque peak near the top end, which makes it far more enjoyable to drive. Both cars use a revised version of the seven-speed automatic transmission, which contributes to the ML's fuel-economy improvements. Handling is merely mediocre for the class, with the 5000-pound diesel taking its time to change directions and settle into a turn. The $5150 dynamic handling package adds air springs and a hydraulically actuated antiroll bar that results in improved handling in sport mode, but it still allows an unusual amount of body roll. If you're buying for comfort, however, the ML delivers with a smooth and quiet ride that stands up to its rivals'. The new M-class also makes a number of concessions to American frivolity with optional heated and cooled cupholders, hands-free parallel parking, and available iPad docking stations for rear-seat passengers. Like the outgoing car, the new ML offers seating for only five, but Mercedes-Benz representatives say a third row is in the works.
2012 Mercedes Benz ML63 AMG Front Three Quarter
Pricing has been announced for the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, which is slated to arrive at dealerships next month. Mercedes’ performance version of the M-Class will start at $95,865, including the $875 destination charge. That amount of money gets you a midsize luxury SUV with stop-start tech and 518 hp to play with.
2012 Mercedes Benz ML63 AMG Front End In Motion
Been away from your computer this week and missed all the automotive news? We’ve gathered a few of the top stories of the past week for your convenience.
2012 Buick Verano Front Three Quarter Night1
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety today announced 18 more model-year 2012 vehicles that have received the group’s coveted Top Safety Pick designation. The vehicles recognized include seven Hondas, three Acuras, one Buick, three Toyotas, one Scion, one Subaru, one BMW, and one Mercedes-Benz.
2012 Mercedes Benz B Class Roof Box Accessory
Mercedes-Benz has just announced a plethora of new accessories available for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and even you have your name on the waiting list for the new 2012 B-Class, you can act ahead of time and purchase some goodies for it too.

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2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML350 4WD 4-Dr Sport Utility V6
17 MPG City | 22 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML350 4WD 4-Dr Sport Utility V6
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2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML350 4WD 4-Dr Sport Utility V6
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2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Specifications

Quick Glance:
3.5L V6Engine
Fuel economy City:
17 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
22 MPG
302 hp @ 6500rpm
273 ft lb of torque @ 3500rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear
  • Radio
  • CD Player (optional)
  • CD Changer
  • DVD
  • Navigation (optional)
50,000 miles / 48 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
Unlimited miles / 999 months
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

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Five Year Cost of Ownership: $57,589 What's This?
Value Rating: Below Average