2012 Mercedes M-Class Review - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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2012 Mercedes M-Class Review

Changes to latest ML seem small, but are significant

Luxury SUVs are so ubiquitous now that you’d think they’d been around for decades. But our obsession with leather-lined wagons-on-stilts only dates back to the late ‘90s, a brief blip in automotive history. The Mercedes-Benz ML-Class and the Lexus RX300 were at the genesis – two radically different takes on the same formula, one car-based for better in-town manners, the other a rough-and-tumble near-off-roader with a German accent.

Despite the ML’s less-than-glamorous reputation for poor reliability and questionable assembly, Mercedes-Benz stuck with the project, investing billions of dollars into the Alabama facility. The follow-up in ’05 was a redemption in terms of design, dynamics and overall quality. Mall parking lots full of the luxury SUV are the loudest confirmation it had the right combination of style, power and safety.

After another seven years, the ML is up for replacement, but with heavy competition coming from both established players in the segment and high-profile new entries, Mercedes-Benz won’t have it easy. In 2012, it’s no longer enough to just have the three-pointed star on the grille – it has to deliver much more than that.


The result is an SUV that’s slightly longer and wider, but shorter than before. The exterior seems less dramatic, but does carry over the sharper eyes, LED running lights and wide rear arches from MB’s latest sedans and coupes. The rear treatment mimics the new E-Class Wagon, but brushed-aluminum skidplates front and rear help butch up the design. The thick, sharply angled C-pillar is carried through for the third-gen too.

The standard 19-inch wheels with high-profile 255/50-series Continental tires look positively tiny stuffed into those big arches. For now, no up-sized options in the hope of sharpening up the steering. The ML now uses electric assistance for its power steering – as opposed to a hydraulic pump that leeches power from the engine. Besides the small gain in fuel economy, its main benefit is a new active parking system that automatically scans the street sides for a suitable spot, and guides you in without having to touch the wheel. The downside? No steering feel, although the effort is well judged.
Read the complete review at AutoGuide.com
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 07-28-2011, 05:40 PM
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Saw it in person for the 1st time last week. Huge improvement! The inside is beautiful.
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