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Evolution, not revolution

Mercedes has launched the third generation M Klass, one of the best-selling SUVs on the market. The Diplomat - Bucharest tested it

March 2012 - From the Print Edition

2 Photos
For those that expected a radically new look, the new car will be rather a disappointment, as the outside of the vehicle looks very similar to the outgoing model.
Of course, the curves and lines of the body have changed in every direction, the car now being longer, wider but shorter than before, giving a sleeker and sportier appearance. The aluminum plates that are present both at the front and the back of the car give an impression of the off-road capabilities that haven’t been forgotten by the engineers.
The new ML is one of the most capable SUVs away from paved roads, with an optional off-road package with a six-mode selector for different types of driving – auto, sport, winter, towing, and two different off-road settings – as well as a two-speed transfer case, a decoupling anti-roll bar that disconnects in off-road situations and extra functionality for the optional air suspension. The seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-Tronic Plus and full-time four-wheel drive are standard on every ML.
Two engines are available at the moment, with one, the ML 250, developing 150 kw from a four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel engine. The car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in nine seconds and has a top speed of 210 km/h. The other engine available, and the one that was fitted in the test drive car, is the ML 350 six-cylinder diesel engine, developing 225 kw and accelerating from 0 to 100 in 7.4 seconds. With this engine, the new ML moves around with ease, effortlessly accelerating in complete comfort.
The comfort level is of the highest standard in the ML, the king of the SUV class, with unrivaled ride quality. The Air-Matic suspension works perfectly to ensure that the car occupants will enjoy the ride quality for which Mercedes is renowned.
Entering the car, one finds a mix of old and new, with the same Command display, the same park distance control LEDs, radio system and some of the dials and gauges. Other than these, the materials are all new, of faultless quality, with soft touch plastic and great leather design. The test car came equipped with a Designo interior that gave it a very distinct personality.
Prices start at EUR 44,900 plus VAT for the ML 250 BlueTEC version and go up to EUR 47,850 plus VAT for the 350 BlueTEC. Optional equipment which doesn’t come cheap but is a must at this level will obviously add a lot more to these figures.



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