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First impression with my test drive

2345 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  sheepdog
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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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.

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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.

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.

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