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First impression with my test drive

2343 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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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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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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