The Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a 4-door SUV with light off-road capability, first offered in 1997 as a model year 1998, and built in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, USA. It marked a shift at Mercedes-Benz in becoming a global player; while it had plants outside Germany before, they merely built facsimiles of German models. In contrast, the M-Class was conceived with the American market in mind and built at an American factory. Despite early negative press about quality control, the M-Class became a huge sales success in the United States. In fact, only the C-Class and E-Class sell better in the US.
See Autopedia's comprehensive Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review.
- To mark the 10th Anniversary of the introduction of the ML 55 AMG, Mercedes has produced 2 special edition models of the ML63 AMG named the "10th Anniversary" and "Performance Studio". The 510 hp 6.3 litre V8s remain unchanged but the two SUVs benefit from a host of interior and exterior upgrades and a plethora of new accessories. 
AMG PERFORMANCE STUDIO
- The Mercedes Benz M-Class was introduced in 1998 and underwent a redesign in 2006. For 2007, a new Diesel trim, the ML320 CDI, is added, as well as a high performance ML63 AMG version. While the ML320 CDI is built for optimal fuel efficiency, the ML63 AMG comes with various cosmetic and performance-oriented upgrades, including a more sporty exterior design and interior, chrome exhaust tips, performance wheels, and a powerful 6.3L 503hp V8 engine.
- For July of 2007, to mark the M-Class' 10 year anniversary, Mercedes-Benz has rolled out a limited edition model dubbed “Edition 10”.
- Mercedes-Benz has confirmed a hybrid model for the ML-Class arriving in 2009. Dubbed the ML450 Hybrid, the vehicle will be powered by a 265hp (195kW) V6 supplemented by two electric assist motors which produce an additional 56hp (41kW) and total to 377 hp (277kW). According to Mercedes, this will make the ML450 Hybrid the most efficient SUV in its class, returning an estimated 30mpg (7.7L petrol per 100km) fuel economy figure.
Styles and Major OptionsEdit
The 2009 M-Class is available in four different trims: the ML350, ML320 CDI, ML550, and ML63 AMG. Each trim is powered by a different engine, but all of them are equipped with full-time four wheel drive and a 7-speed automatic transmission. Some of the standout features include:
- 3.5L 268hp V6 engine
- 6-way power front bucket seats
- MB-Tex seating and door trim
- Front and rear cup holders and reading lights
- Dual zone automatic air conditioning
- 8-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system
- Cruise control
- Trip computer
- Power locks, windows, mirrors
- 5.5L 382hp V8 engine
- 19" alloy wheels
- 8-way power heated bucket seats
- MB-Tex Seating and door trim
- Rain detecting wipers
- AMG-style body upgrade
- 6.2L 503hp V8 engine
- 20" silver AMG alloy wheels
- 12-way power heated sports seats w/memory
- Nappa Leather seating and door trim
- Express sunroof
- 12 speaker harman/kardon AM/FM/SIRIUS/glove-box 6CD audio system
- Cell phone pre-wiring
- Rear parking camera
- Command navigation system
- Body-colored fender flares
As seen on the FuelEconomy.gov website, the City/Highway MPG averages are as follows:
Pre- 2002 models are notorious for squeaks and rattles.
- RECALL ALERT: On January 19th, 2008, Mercedes-Benz announced a recall entailing 9,004 2007 E320 Bluetec, ML320 CDI, and GL320 CDI models due to problems with a defective crankshaft sensor, which would cause the engine to lose power and strand the vehicle, according to the NHTSA. 
- RECALL ALERT: On July 09, 2008, Mercedes-Benz issued a recall alert pertaining 52,740 model year 2006-2008 ML & GL-Class SUVs regarding an improperly welded trailer hitch that could detach from the body frame under enough stress. Mercedes-Benz urges all owners of affected vehicles to contact 1-800-367-6372 in order to set up an appointment to have the item replaced. 
- RECALL ALERT: On September 29, 2008, Mercedes-Benz issued a recall alert affecting 102,954 MY 1998-2003 M-Classes due to a defect caused by an earlier recall fix, specifically, cars affected are those that were repaired before November 15, 2003. The issue is clamp used to secure the power steering fluid cooling hose to the power steering fluid cooler that need to be repaired. According to the NHTSA, the clamp may not provide enough force for this connection leading to the loss of power steering fluid. The recall will begin on October of 2008 and Mercedes-Benz has set up a hotline for concerned owners at 1-800-367-6372. 
- RECALL ALERT: On March 17, 2009, Mercedes-Benz issued a recall alert affecting 16,130 MY2009 M-Classes equipped with the optional power lift gate due to a malfunctioning seal that could allow water to enter the rear compartment that contains the spare tire and the control unit for the power lift gate. This could lead to the disabling of the power lift gate motor as well as to a short circuit that could result to a fire. Mercedes-Benz urges owners to visit their respective dealers beginning April 2009, who will replace the seal in question and reposition the power lift gate control unit.
- RECALL ALERT: On Nov 5, 2010, Mercedes-Benz issued a recall affecting approximately 2,300 MY2011 E-Class, GL-Class, M-Class and R-Class due to improperly lubricated O-ring that will result in a leaky fuel filter. 
According to the NHTSA website, the 2007 M-Class SUVs received high marks in safety tests. For all front- and side-impact crash tests, it received a 5-Star rating, and for rollover tests it received a 4-Star rating. Some of the safety equipment found on the M-Class includes:
- Four wheel electronic traction system
- Electronic stability program
- Electronic brake-force distribution
- Anti-lock brakes with brake assist
- Front and side airbags
ML 450 HYBRID
Colors will vary by trim, and a full list is available at CarsDirect.com. Some of the available combinations include:
- Alabaster White
- Alpine Rain Metallic
- Capri Blue Metallic
- Everest Green Metallic
- Obsidian Black Metallic
- Verde Brook Metallic
- Acura MDX
- Cadillac SRX
- Lexus RX 330
- Land Rover Range Rover
- Infiniti FX
- BMW X5
- Porsche Cayenne
- Cadillac Escalade
- "If, like so many SUV buyers today, you'll settle for no fewer than three rows of seats, you'll have to look somewhere else. Mercedes-Benz decided to ashcan its awkward third-row seating in the new iteration of the M-Class." - Kelley Blue Book
Current Generation: (2006–Present)Edit
The redesigned M-class (chassis name W164) was introduced to the public in April 2005 as a 2006 model after showing at the North American International Auto Show in January. It is almost entirely new, with a more sporting, aerodynamic look—the coefficient of drag is down to 0.34. Mercedes-Benz has also made the new M-class larger, measuring 150 mm longer than the first model. The M-Class was named "Best New Sport Utility Vehicle" in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year awards.
Due to public knowledge of poor quality control at the Alabama factory, Mercedes-Benz extensively publicized the US$600 million spent to improve the factory. According to early automotive press reports, the 2006 M-Class vehicles demonstrate vast improvements in build quality.
New features in the 2006 M-Class include the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed transmission, optional Active Curve-Illuminating Bi-Xenon headlights which "steer" in the path of the vehicle, and an adjustable-height air suspension. The base price for the ML350 in the US is about US$40,000.
- ML350 - 3.5 L 4-valve V6, 200 kW (272 hp DIN) and 350 N·m (258 ft·lbf)
- ML500 - 5.0 L 3-valve V8, 288 kW (392 hp DIN) and 336 ft·lbf (455 N·m)
- ML450 - 4.6 L 4-valve V8, 325 hp (242 kW) and 370 ft·lbf (500 N·m)
- ML550 - 5.5 L 4-valve V8, 410 hp (306 kW) and 405 ft·lbf (550 N·m)
- ML63 AMG - 6.2 L 4-valve V8, 510 hp (347 kW)
- ML280 CDI - 3.0 L V6 Turbo Diesel, 140 kW (190 hp DIN) and 440 N·m (325 ft·lbf)
- ML320 CDI - 3.0 L V6 Turbo Diesel, 165 kW (224 hp DIN) and 510 N·m (376 ft·lbf)
- ML400 CDI - 4.0 L BiTurbo V8, 315 hp (235 kW) and 516 ft·lbf (700 N·m)
The AMG version of the W164, the ML63 AMG, was introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show as a 2007 model. It features a 6.2 L M156 V8 engine producing 503 hp (375 kW) and 465 ft·lbf (630 N·m) of torque. Mercedes-Benz's 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission is standard.
First Generation/Origins (1998-2005)Edit
At launch, the M-Class was a technological 'tour de force'. It was the first SUV to feature stability control, a system designed to detect loss of control and instantaneously intervene with selective braking to bring the vehicle back on its intended course. This system is now hailed by safety experts, and studies have shown stability control and systems like it are capable of reducing single vehicle crashes by up to 30 percent. Furthermore, the M-Class boasted front and side-impact airbags with advanced occupant detection for the front passenger seat, which, combined with Mercedes' legendary safety structure, earned the M-Class the highest marks in insurance industry crash tests.
Initial quality was poor, and jokes about an "Alabama Mercedes" began to make the rounds. A road test on the British programme Top Gear revealed that the presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, could put his fingers into the gap below the rear lights and above the rear bumper. This improved over the years, especially after a mild facelift for 2002. However, owners are often unhappy with the car's quality - for example, the car was placed last out of 142 cars in the Top Gear Motoring Survey 2004. DaimlerChrysler spent US$600 million on improvements at the Alabama factory before launching the second-generation ML in 2005.
Major model variants have included the ML320, ML350, ML430, ML500 and ML55, along with the ML230 and the turbodiesel ML270 CDI and ML400 CDI in Europe. The ML55, or ML55 AMG, featured a V8 engine made by Aufrecht Melcher Grossaspach (AMG), modified body-work, and other performance features. Prices initially were around US$35,000 for the base model in the late 1990s. The ML350 replaced the ML320 as the base model in the United States a few years after its introduction by Mercedes-Benz.
The M-Class was Motor Trend magazine's Truck of the Year for 1998.
Design quirks and odditiesEdit
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Land Speed Record
|Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz and Emil Jellinek||US website|
|A division of Daimler AG|
- Mercedes-Benz International
- ModernOffroader.com cutaway drawing
- Mercedes-Benz M-Class "Edition 10"
- Fórum Mercedes-Benz Brasil
- Mercedes M-Class Facelift in Detail
- Mercedes-Benz M-Class
- 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Facelift Set For New York Show Debut
- Mercedes-Benz Presents Special Edition ML 63 AMG Models
- New York: Mercedes-Benz ML 450 hybrid - Up to 34 MPH on battery alone
- New 24MPG Mercedes-Benz ML450 HYBRID Unveiled at NY Show, Still Pawned by Lexus
- Mercedes Launches New GL-Class, ML-Class and R-Class BlueTEC Diesel Models in Europe
- Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG gets updated exterior, little else
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