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Bigger, Stronger And More Efficient - The 2012 Mercedes M-Class

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On: Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 3:32PM | By: Chris Salamone

Bigger, Stronger And More Efficient - The 2012 Mercedes M-Class

As of yesterday, the official unveiling of the 2012 M-Class has reached the far corners of the internet. Although the upcoming M-Class shares many design cues from former models, this third generation Benz looks to showcase many significant improvements. Just based on appearance, the front grille is more distinctive, the sides and taillights have more drastic angles, and rims are offered from 17 to 21 inches. Yes, consumers may be reminded of former models, so please put on your monocle, raise your thinking pipe, and take a quick peek. Hopefully all concerns will be laid to rest.

For starters the interior cabin shows touches of influence from the unanimously glorious S-Class and features higher quality materials and ergonomic design. The center console is wider, there's aluminum and wood trim accent throughout dash, and a much-needed update comes to the Mercedes-Benz COMAND system—including access to the interweb.

This newly redesigned M-Class actually shares much of its infrastructure with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, for better or worse. As such, the vehicle’s standard suspension incorporates selective damping and a self-leveling Airmatic air suspension, which also includes dynamic roll stabilization. In standard M-Class fashion, all models come with permanent all-wheel drive.

Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz has opted to launch two diesel models and only one unleaded gasoline version—the ML 250 Bluetec, ML 350 Bluetec, and ML 350 BlueEfficiency, respectively. The ML 250 Bluetec 4Matic is propelled by a 2.1 L four cylinder turbodiesel engine that outputs 204 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. European tests estimate that the ML 250 should achieve 36 to 39 mpg, averaging 720 miles total per tank.

The ML 350 Bluetec 4Matic is mated to a new version of a 3.0 L V6 turbodiesel, which is much more potent and still reasonably efficient. While the old engine made 231 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, the new 3.0 L creates 258 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque, returning about 32 to 35 mpg.

The only gasoline model seems comparatively inadequate. This is because the ML 350 BlueEfficiency is powered by a 3.5 L V6 measured at 306 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque while delivering lower fuel efficiency numbers. Even so, Americans prefer unleaded fuel and will no doubt justify these numbers with some kind of circular argument involving engine rumbling or convenience.

A major benefit the new M-Class receives from sharing with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be the addition of an on & off road package which allows six different adaptive transmission modes to meet and defeat any environmental challenges a sophisticated driver might face. And the improvements don’t stop there. The new 2012 M-Class includes many improvements previously found only on E and S-Class models, while, at the same time, enhancing traditional M-Class design goals and features. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)



James Roberts | 3:54PM (Thu, Jun 9, 2011)

It's come a long way since the the first Mercedes SUV in Jurassic Park


Gfautoshopper | 9:05AM (Fri, Jun 10, 2011)

Wow, that is a nice looking ML redesign. Query: Instead of focusing on the diesel, why doesn't Mercedes push hybrids like the rest? Some people may think, "well, if you have the money, it doesn't matter," but even the Lexus LS600h is a hybrid. We all know Mercedes has the money to make developments.


AutoShopperJustin | 8:34AM (Mon, Jun 13, 2011)

All about it! What a great looking family ride. With so many moms not wanting the mini van, the suv seems to be the only other option besides a sedan, this is perfect, I love the panoramic sunroof, like a convertible too ! Great job Mercedes!

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