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2007 GL320CDI
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Discussion Starter #1
I had the pleasure of driving a ML500 today. It had just completed it's PDI and hadn't even been cleaned yet.

My test vehicle was a pewter/black with entertainment, sunroof and appearance packages.

The black alcatara (?) seats are very sporty looking to me and are very comfortable. As mentioned earlier by Rodney the rear seats are very different. They are fixed and recline very far back. To some this will be a problem; For me it was nice as I like to feel somewhat reclined (but not a low rider) when riding/driver. I felt rear seat leg room was vastly improved over the W163. Front seats can be easily adjusted to just about any position imaginable.

Quality of materials was superior in every way compared to the W163 and top notch compared to other MB vehicles. The HK stereo was great as usual.

The overall driving was markedly improved over the W163. There is a great balance between firmness and luxury when going over bumpy roads. I was very pleased with the drive.

The new transmission will take some getting used to at first. Shifts are quick and almost unnoticeable. I liked the shift pads behind the steering wheel too.

After we left the dealership for the test drive, we proceeded to my wifes office which is about 8 miles away. Being the first time the salesman or I had driven the new W164 we weren't aware of how quite it was nor were we paying attention to speed because we were playing with the all the gadgets. We got pulled over for speeding. We were going 54 in a 35 zone. Thankfully the cop let us go with a warning!
 

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2020 MB GLE 450 4MATIC, 2015 BMW M4
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Thanks for the impressions, Jack.
Good to know you like the Alcantara-that's what I want to get. Are the manual shifters paddles or just buttons on the back of the wheel (do they rotate with the wheel or are they fixed)? I assume the one you drove had steel springs, not air suspension?
 

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CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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Are the manual shifters paddles or just buttons on the back of the wheel (do they rotate with the wheel or are they fixed)?
They are switches on the back of the wheel itself. Basically, if you were to hold the wheel at 9:30 and 2:30, to that your thumbs were resting on the top set of spokes, your index finger would wrap around behind those spokes and be right on the switches. The switches are rockers, similar to the window switches on the W163, but they are concave instead of convex to make them easier to feel with your finger. They rock to the left or right. The transmission can be shifted up and down from either switch. This is a little different if you have driven an AMG model (except the W163) where the left switch is down and the right switch is up.
IIRC, pressing the half of the switch toward the steering column is a downshift, and pressing the half toward the outer edge of the steering wheel is an upshift.

- RODNEY
 

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2007 GL320CDI
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Discussion Starter #4
Rodney is correct. Both sides have up and down on them.

Mine did not have air suspension.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I forgot to mention something...

The rear seat headrest are very annoying. If the headrest is all the way down it sits just behind my shoulders. I'm 5'11" too. I couldn't sit this way for too long. If moved up to a comfortable position then the headrest block the view when backing and look out of place and not pleasing to the eye.
 

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RE: Rear headrests

AutoSaurus - 3/24/2005 2:24 PM

I forgot to mention something...

The rear seat headrest are very annoying. If the headrest is all the way down it sits just behind my shoulders. I'm 5'11" too. I couldn't sit this way for too long. If moved up to a comfortable position then the headrest block the view when backing and look out of place and not pleasing to the eye.
I thought it was clever how compact they are when down. Ideally, you keep them down unless someone in the back seat. I hardly ever have passengers in the back seat, so it's no problem. If you do, however, I can see it would be pain putting them up and down all the time.
 

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RE: Rear headrests

They should have made them electrically retractable like in the sedans. Actually, instead of “flopping� back, they should have made them electrically adjustable like the front seat headrests with an override for the driver to fully lower them all when there are no rear-seat passengers. I hate dealing with the manual adjustment buttons. I feel like I need a chiropractor every time I have to adjust a headrest.

- RODNEY
 

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'00 ML320 Elegance
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I'm curious...

AutoSaurus - 3/24/2005 2:24 PM
If moved up to a comfortable position then the headrest block the view when backing and look out of place and not pleasing to the eye.
How is this arrangement different, or rather, more obstructive than what we have currently in the W163. Don't the rear headrests not block anyway? I haven't found this to be an issue after removing the centre rear head restraint.

Having the 3M fresnel lens (alas no longer in production) plus the Parktronic makes a world of difference!
 

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RE: I'm curious...

Drew - 3/25/2005 12:08 PM

AutoSaurus - 3/24/2005 2:24 PM
If moved up to a comfortable position then the headrest block the view when backing and look out of place and not pleasing to the eye.
How is this arrangement different, or rather, more obstructive than what we have currently in the W163. Don't the rear headrests not block anyway? I haven't found this to be an issue after removing the centre rear head restraint.
It’s not any more obstructive to your view than the W163. In the W163, the rear head restraints are mounted on the top of the seat back and are the exact same parts as the front restraints, thus giving some protection even when fully lowered. Of course even when fully lowered (on the W163), they still obstruct the view. On the W164, the head restraints are mounted in a recess, several inches below the top of the seat back. When fully lowered, they are no higher that the W163’s seatback with the restraints removed. Of course when lowered, they hit a 6-foot tall person in the shoulder blades, which is not only useless for safety purposes, but is also very uncomfortable. Not only that, the restraints themselves seem somewhat less “beefy� than you’d expect in a MBZ vehicle; they remind me a lot of the Lexus RX.

In my W163, I have all three rear head restraints in place (though usually lowered) and have no real problems seeing out the back.

- RODNEY
 

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RE: I'm curious...

rudeney - 3/25/2005 2:49 PM

Of course when lowered, they hit a 6-foot tall person in the shoulder blades, which is not only useless for safety purposes, but is also very uncomfortable.
I would say that is a safety feature - if the head restraints can be lowered to where they don't perform their duty, they should force you to set them properly before using. If they're uncomfortable, then simply set them properly when the seat is in use, and lower them when not.

We have our middle rear head restraint removed, and it makes the world of difference for rearwards vision. Especially if you have the W163 video entertainment system - with the screen down and the middle head restraint mounted, there is quite a small gap left to observe traffic behind you.

BTW, our salesman called yesterday to say that the dealer has some W164's to drive. We'll probably go check them out tomorrow!
 

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2006 ML350
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Test drove a ML350 with premium package. In a brief summary here are my thoughts. Quality of workmanship significantly improved. Ride and transmission very smooth. Front seats comfortable but not as high a position as the W163. Leg room front and back very acceptable. Power tailgate excellent. Drawbacks - design of folding rear seats. You can no longer put very long objects such as an 8" folding table in the car as the way the rear bottom cushion folds, the back of the front passenger seat can not be reclined way back. Cargo area is slightly narrower with now barely sufficient room for golf clubs to fit left to right instead of angled or from to back. Given the redesign there is more of a blind spot for the driver on the rear passenger side when you look back. As mentioned by another writer, the rear seats are at an unusual angle that takes time to get use to. No keyless go on the 350. Styling is certainly not aggressive or exciting. Based on the brochure the new red is what is on the mbusa web site picture - the alpine rain seems to be close to a silver blue -- the green seems to be a dark green. No longer a storage area under the passenger front seat. Looks like great quality but somewhat of a failure in design and features given what the pricing is. Why not pre safe and the other new safety items for the US? Will probably wait to see the R class or wait for option additions in the 2007 model.
 

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Rear seat...

sheepdog - 3/26/2005 8:02 AM
You can no longer put very long objects such as an 8" folding table in the car as the way the rear bottom cushion folds, the back of the front passenger seat can not be reclined way back.
I believe that is why the rear seat cushions can be temporarily removed, so that you can indeed get such an object in the vehicle.

Why not pre safe and the other new safety items for the US? Will probably wait to see the R class or wait for option additions in the 2007 model.
PRE-SAFE and (I think) NeckPro are to be launched later in the model year. They are simply configuring all of the initial MLs according to the "Launch Package" configuration, presumably for ease of ordering, and to allow the factory some sort of standardisation in the initial launch phase.
 

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Drew - thanks for your input. Unfortunately I have been to 2 different dealers and neither one knows anything about the rear seat cushions being removable.

Test drove a 2nd ML350 without the premium package but with the trim package. The leather seating inserts with MB tex on the remaining portion of the seats is quite acceptable in look. Very difficult to tell the 2 apart except by feel. Entertaiment package sound system was reasonably good but I'm not sure if worth $1000+. Waiting to see what kind of discount if any they are willing to offer.

2nd dealer indicated that it would be quite rare for MB to offer options later in the model year that were not at the least mentioned in the brochure. Usually they would be listed with a designation for "later availability".
 
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