Mercedes M-Class SUV review - Carbuyer
The Mersedes-Benz M-class is a family of all-terrain vehicles with a station wagon and permanent all-wheel drive (platform type W163).
The M-Class model was first introduced in 1997. These cars, which were developed primarily for the North American market, are manufactured at the American DaimlerChrysler plant in Alabama. The M-class combines the most important characteristics of an SUV, minivan, station wagon and passenger car, being a multipurpose vehicle.
Compact external dimensions and a variety of versions, depending on the practical purpose of the car, distinguish the M-class from similar cars in terms of functionality and efficiency. Therefore, the new “Mercedes-Benz” is equally good for off-road travel, for going out of town with the whole family, travel or business trip. Roomy ML-class 5-door body with extra seats in the luggage compartment can carry seven passengers. The volume of the cargo compartment is 0.16 m3, and in the case of folding the rear seats of the third row, the trunk is increased to a solid 0.633 m3. In the 2-seater version, the car thus turns into a spacious van with a capacity of up to 2.02 m3. The car is equipped with a device for transporting heavy trailer - capable of pulling a trailer weighing up to 2650 kg. The maximum speed is from 177 to 186 km / h.
The concept of the car was originally based on ensuring the highest possible safety in a collision, which was reflected both in the work on the basics of the body structure and in its detailed elaboration. Based on the company's standards, which apply to all Mercedes cars and have obvious differences from many other standards of passive safety for SUVs, in severe collisions, M-class cars provide passengers with a protection potential well above average. SUV is not made with a monocoque, and on the basis of the frame structure. Two spars and three crossbars, made of rigid closed box-shaped profiles, are welded into a structure that resembles a staircase. The body is firmly connected to the frame with the help of ten rubber supports, which quench the vibrations and noise that occur when driving, and do not let them inside the cabin. Thanks to this sturdy design, in frontal, rear or side collision, passengers of the M-class vehicle are exposed to minimal danger due to the deformation of the body, while the size of the passenger compartment remains constant and leaves enough space for survival. In addition, the deformable structure of the front part and the low-lying frame are designed in such a way that upon impact they absorb part of the energy of motion of the second participant in the collision.
Interesting technical ideas were embodied in the ML model, primarily concerning the all-wheel drive. Unlike most competitors, the car has a constantly on all wheel drive. The company's specialists refused to lock the differentials in the junction box and in the leading axles, as was the case with the G model, but they equipped the vehicle with the Four Wheel Electronic System (4-ETS) electronic replacing these functions. Thus, in the event that one of the wheels slips, the tractive effort is ensured by its braking, which in the off-road conditions has the same effect as the use of a mechanical lock. Special "off-road" mode of the ABS allows the front wheels to lock on steep descents. In addition to the model ML230, all the rest are serially equipped with a system of dynamic stabilization during the movement of EPS, which improves the course stability of the vehicle in all road conditions.
M-class cars appeared in Western Europe in the spring of 1998. The delivery program included three versions of the model with four-, six-or eight-cylinder petrol engines: the base ML230, equipped with a 4-cylinder engine of 2.3 liters and 110 kW / 150 liters. with. at 5400 rpm; 6-cylinder model ML 320 with a V6 engine with a power of 160 kW / 218 hp, which is distinguished by low fuel consumption and low toxicity of exhaust gases. Since the spring of 1999, an 8-cylinder version ML 430 with a power of 200 kW / 272 hp has been delivered to Europe. at 5750 rpm, also used in the E-class. The cars are equipped with hydromechanical automatic gearboxes (except for the ML230) with the SPEEDTRONIC speed limiting system, as well as an independent suspension for all wheels, a frame chassis and a transfer box with a reduction gear.
Cars are serially equipped with an active ASSYST service system, airbags for the driver and passenger in the front seat and in the side front doors, electrically operated windows and mirrors, the ELCODE anti-theft system, alloy wheels with off-road tires 225/75 R 16, power steering gear, central locking with remote radio control, air conditioning (for ML320, ML430).
In 2000, these machines have not changed, but the range has added two new basic options - economical ML270 CDI and powerful ML55 AMG. The first is completed with in-line 5-cylinder 2.7-liter turbocharged diesel engine with a Common-Rail system with a capacity of 163 hp. and a 6-speed manual gearbox. It has higher dynamic qualities than the gasoline ML230, and about a quarter more economical. Closes the ML55 AMG lineup with a 5.4-liter "eight". The car has a top speed of 232 km / h. The chassis of this car has the unique qualities of a sports wagon. However, it laid the possibility of confident movement on bad roads.
The first modernization of the ML-class SUVs was carried out in the summer of 2001. In the post-styling version, the ML approached its German relatives in terms of luxury equipment, a sense of comfort and quality and well-thought design. Recognized by Americans as one of the safest off-roders, the ML received 8 airbags, of which only the rear side ones are not supplied “in standard”.
The appearance of the car was updated due to a modified front bumper, which began to consist of two parts, new light engineering in the form of crystal-optical headlights, rear-view mirrors with duplicating turn signals also appeared, and now the standard for all ML 17-inch disks 6-spoke pattern. The interior of the cabin has changed: for all modifications, wooden trim of the center console is now included, automatic climate control with a sensor that registers solar radiation, and automatic headlights. The list of customized equipment is small: bi-xenon headlights, parking radars, COMAND multimedia with the ability to process SMS messages on the screen and two additional folding passenger seats in the trunk.
The main changes under the hood, where two “eights” migrated from the S-class engine compartment: the former ML430 replaced the more powerful ML500 with a 5-liter petrol V8 reduced from 306 to 292 hp. power, which allowed to develop up to 222 km / h, as well as the powerful 250-horsepower turbo diesel of 4 liters, the most powerful and most heavy-duty passenger diesel on the planet. This ML400 CDI develops 213 km / h, and accelerates from standstill to 10 km / h in 8.1 seconds versus 7.7 for the ML500. The 5-liter easily cracks down on a heavy machine, yielding only one second in acceleration of the 347-strong top model ML55 from AMG tuning specialist (ML55, by the way, is very popular - it is the best-selling AMG machine). The remaining power units have not changed.
In 2005, a new generation of M-Class SUVs were shown at the January NAIAS in Detroit. Serial production started in March 2005 at factories in Tuskaluz (USA). The body of this generation was 15 cm longer and 7 cm wider than its predecessor. Appearance has changed quite significantly. The corners smoothed out. Aerodynamics has improved significantly. The drag coefficient is 15% better than before. In the cabin of the new ML reigns German order and modesty. Everything in its place, all right. The interior is completely new
The new model is offered in two different versions - a basic crossover with a spring suspension, a permanent all-wheel drive system and an upgraded electronic antiskid system 4-ETS or an off-road version of the Pro Off-Road with Airmatic air suspension (4 fixed body positions, maximum clearance of 291 mm), an additional distribution a box and a lock (automatic using a multi-plate clutch or a forced one) of the central and rear differentials.
The equipment includes the latest active and passive safety systems, including the Neck-Pro, six PB and Pre-Safe, DSR off-road systems (hill descent), optional Thermotronic multi-zone climate control, Direct Select multi-function steering wheel, new Comand APS system (DVD, navigation, TV tuner), organizer in the luggage compartment (luggage capacity from 551 to 2050 l) and Keyless Go system.
The range of engines (three of them, V6 and turbo diesel engines, completely new) for 2006: petrol ML350 (3.5 l V6 24V, 272 hp, 350 Nm) and ML500 (5.0 l V8 24V, 306 l. s., 460 Nm); turbodiesel 3.0 liter V6 24V with a new generation CR system in the options ML280 CDI (190 hp, 440 Nm) and ML320 CDI (224 hp, 510 Nm). The five-liter, 306-horsepower V8 can accelerate a car to a hundred in 6.9 seconds — almost a second faster than the engine of the previous ML. The new engine was made more powerful by 14. hp, and the torque - by 20 Nm, while maintaining the same fuel consumption.
Now on all ML in the basic configuration is a seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-Tronic. This is a big step forward. The gear knob is hidden under the steering wheel and has two positions - turn the wheels back and forth. There is no provision for parking at all. It is replaced by a button on this pen. Everything is simple and logical.
For a surcharge, a package of factory tuning from AMG is offered. Styling for the new Mercedes M-Class includes front and rear spoilers, all painted in body color and decorated in the characteristic AMG style. Thanks to the new front spoiler with its underlined angularity and vertical polished steel inserts, the front part of the new Mercedes M-class looks wider and lower. Large round fog lamps in a chrome-plated frame with a system of active lighting in a turn (additional equipment) give the whole look of the car extraordinary expressiveness. Enlarged air intakes and originally designed under-run protection.
Four large air intakes, closed with a black mesh as in racing cars, emphasize the dynamic character of AMG styling. The protective cover, in the design of which vertical lines prevail, makes an additional emphasis on the powerful and durable nature of the SUV. The rear bumper is also made in the style of AMG: the rear protective cover is made in the same design as the front one. The embossed cutouts for the twin exhaust pipes make the rear of the Mercedes ML AMG visually even wider and more muscular. A special pad of polished steel protects the rear spoiler from scratches when loading and unloading luggage.
The AMG 8.5 x 19 light-alloy wheels, coated with silver, are the perfect complement to the new AMG styling. Decorated in a classic five-spoke design, all AMG wheels are equipped with low-profile tires of size 255/50 R 19. They not only perfectly fill the wheel arches, which adds to the sportiness of the car, but also further increases the maneuverability and controllability of the new M-Class.
As a result of the "facelift" in 2008, the M-Class received a new front bumper, headlights with a stepped bottom line and a more aggressive grille. The back of the car has changed not so much: a new bumper with retroreflective strips and smoky glass lanterns. But at the same time among the options appeared new - rear LED optics. The 2008 M-Class version also received new large rear-view mirrors, thereby eliminating previous claims to the rear view. And with each next restyling, the look of the M-Class becomes more and more courageous, charismatic and expressive.
There are few changes in the interior of the car, basically they touched a combination of upholstery materials (for example, it was possible to order a car with a two-color interior). The most noticeable detail of the updated interior was the steering wheel with chrome inserts. Moreover, the main change from an ergonomic point of view is the appearance of special “petals” in it that are responsible for managing the automatic transmission. Forcing the choice of transmission has become much more convenient compared to the buttons on the back of the steering wheel spokes on the previous version.
In addition to purely cosmetic changes, the flagship ML500 also received a more powerful 388-horsepower engine of 5.5 liters. The same one, which for the past two years has been installed on the GL500 model of the highest rank.
Many options for the dorestayling version are now included in the basic equipment. In particular, it is a proprietary system of preventive passive safety PRE-SAFE and active head restraints NECK-PRO. The changes affected the field of entertainment electronics. M-Class equipped with a new telematics system. Serial versions of the SUV began to be equipped with a hands-free device with a Bluetooth wireless interface and an Aux-In connector for connecting audio devices. It will also be possible to order a new multimedia interface that will allow you to connect an external carrier of music files with on-board electronics and an SUV control system. A choice of three options for a multimedia system, all of them - with a color display and a keyboard for entering phone numbers and radio frequencies. In addition, for the first time, Mercedes is offering another option for the M-Class - the LinguaTronic voice control system.
As part of the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in September 2011, the world premiere of the third generation M-Class SUV took place. The car is built on the upgraded platform of the previous generation and with the same wheelbase of 2,915 mm was 24 mm longer (4,804 mm), 16 mm wider (1,926 mm) and 19 mm lower (1,796 mm). At the same time, the use of light alloys, both in the manufacture of the engine and body parts, made it possible to somewhat reduce the overall weight of the SUV. Large dimensions of the car are well reflected in the comfort, the capacity of the cabin and trunk. The volume of the trunk of the Mercedes ML-350 can reach 2 cubic meters. The appearance of the new ML-Class 2012 is evolutionary in nature - the car has received a massive front bumper, an increased size of the radiator grille and optics with smoother outlines. On the side of the car appeared relief podshtampovki, and new taillights of a different shape have become larger. For new items are offered wheels with an updated pattern, available radius from 17 to 21 inches.
Interior 2012 Mercedes ML-Class has changed more noticeably. Coupled with improved trim materials and changed the design of the front panel. The middle part of the panel is made of wood. The center console has become wider and flaunts aluminum inserts. The branded COMAND control system has also been updated, and optionally customers will be able to order a panoramic sunroof.
At first, the new Mercedes ML 2012 will be offered with three different engines. The most modest of them is a 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine on the ML 250 Bluetec version with a capacity of 204 hp. (500 Nm). A more powerful version of the ML 350 Bluetec SUV is equipped with a 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine that delivers 258 hp. (619 Nm), accelerates the car from zero to a hundred in 7.5 seconds and provides a maximum speed of 224 km / h. Finally, the top version, for the moment, is the ML 350 BlueEfficiency with a 306-horsepower gasoline six, delivering 370 Nm of maximum torque and allowing it to reach a speed of 235 km / h. Regardless of the type of engine chosen, they are all aggregated together with a seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-Tronic Plus and have a proprietary all-wheel drive system 4Matic.
The new generation of Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, as the creators say, has a huge variety of advantages, the most significant of which is a significant reduction in fuel consumption. Compared to the previous generation, fuel consumption has decreased by more than thirty percent. A hundred kilometers the car consumes only 14 liters of fuel. Under the hood, the V8 engine, whose volume is five and a half liters, and the maximum power that he is able to develop is five hundred and fifty horsepower. In addition to such a powerful engine is a seven-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration to 100 km / h takes less than five seconds. The maximum speed is 250 kilometers per hour.
Of course, Mercedes paid great attention to safety, so the new M-Class 2012 model year is equipped with a variety of different systems, including a night vision system with pedestrian recognition, a driver fatigue recognition system, a dead zone tracking system, an automatic braking system in a dangerous situation, lane tracking system, Pre-Safe lighting control system, adjustable cruise control, and many others.
In turn, the suspension, which suppresses all unwanted vibrations, is designed to take care of the comfort of the driver and passengers, and the Airmatic suspension, having six different work options, is optionally available, depending on the type of road.