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I have been thinking about replacing my 2002 ML 500. With 84,000 miles, although in great condition, it may be time to get a new SUV. Options are; keep a perfectly good ML 500, trade for ML Diesel, trade for BMW x5 diesel, or wait for the ML redesign in a year or two. Has anyone gone through this process? Opinions please of the four options. What is known about the redesigned ML? Any other vehicles I should consider. Thanks.
 

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I recently had a similar situation. We purchased a 2010 ML350 Bluetech (diesel). Absolutely wonderful vehicle and it already gets 30 mpg (if you drive at 65 mph). I then needed an SUV for myself, for occasional, mild off-roading in the mountains. I strongly considered another (but used) ML, the BMW X5, and the Volkswagen Touareg. I narrowed it down to the 'Benz and the VW, because I've heard and read the BMW's are slightly less off-road capable, and don't have the luxurious ride. I ended up with the Touareg and it drives very, very comparable to our 'Benz.
Any way you go - with the options you presented; you'll enjoy.
 

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I have been thinking about replacing my 2002 ML 500. With 84,000 miles, although in great condition, it may be time to get a new SUV. Options are; keep a perfectly good ML 500, trade for ML Diesel, trade for BMW x5 diesel, or wait for the ML redesign in a year or two. Has anyone gone through this process? Opinions please of the four options. What is known about the redesigned ML? Any other vehicles I should consider. Thanks.
If it is diesel vs gasoline, I personally would stick with gas. I know a lot of folks on this forum will get uptight about my comment but just put everything in dollars and cents and you will see that there are reasons that diesels are not as popular in the USA as they are in Europe:

a) Diesel fuel costs equal to or more than premium,
b) Diesel cars are always priced higher than gas models
c) With diesels you have to add adblue (Bluetechs) so extra operating cost
d) No matter how much torque they produce, they ain't performing like gas engines! If they did, then Formula 1 cars would run on diesel fuel. You will certainly miss your ML500 if you switch! It's quite simply the difference in flammability of the two fuels. Yes the diesels are compressed etc... but that wastes even more energy.
e) They don't provide major mpg gains (7-8 mpg better than gas on average but if you factor in the added expenses the gains are quickly diminished)
f)No matter what folks are saying about "the new generation of diesel motors" they are noisy and produce black smoke at times although much less than older generation diesels.
g) Most diesels have starting issues in cold temperatures.
h) Diesel fuel is NOT available at all service stations. You can find it on the highway but not as much in the city (at least in PA)
i) Last but not least, I never understood consumers that are willing to spend $50, 60, 70, 80 thousand dollars for a premium vehicle but are concerned about mpg! And don't anybody tell me they are being conscious of their carbon footprint because if they were they would take public transportation or drive a Prius...

Do the math and you will see that you don't gain as much as they let you believe. Don't get me wrong, I think the diesels have a purpose, but not here yet. IMHO, the only reason we see MB marketing them is because they had to respond to the fuel efficiency trend of this past decade and since they are newcomers in the hybrids they are pushing hard on the diesels which are possibly the best diesels around.

In Europe, the gallon of premium costs about 3-4 times as much as in the US (depending the country) but diesel is generally cheaper enough to justify it. (25-30% cheaper than their gasoline prices) So in that situation it is a totally a different ball game! Also, in some EU countries, diesel fuel does not include all taxes (just like heating oil in US) because the fuel is used by taxis, trucks and whoever wants to have a diesel, so the price is even lower.

In short, my advise is to keep your ML500 and go with the next generation of MLs in a year or more (based on the three choices you presented). Other option would be to trade for a ML550.
 

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No AdBlue in 2007-2008 versions.

Diesel has cost less than premium where I live for a least a year now.

24 hrs of LeMans has been won by diesel-powered cars for something like 5 years now.
 

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aagst1, I have to pick at some of your points. d) The E320 diesel has a faster 0-60 time than the gas version. The power (torque) in my 2008 ML320 CDI makes it far superior to the gas version for towing. e) We have a 50% mpg gain verse our prior ML320 gasser. By my computations we figured we will make up the higher cost for a diesel quite soon based on our driving amount. f) No black smoke ever, nor any smell from the exhaust. The exhaust tips can be wiped off and there is no soot or oily residue after 47,000 miles, as there was with our old 1978 diesel. g) We live in NW Wisconsin; no starting issues at any temperature. -32, parked outside, started just like it was indoors and any warm day. i) The mpg of the diesel was a big decision enhancer. Contrary to what too many people believe, many of us buy a Mercedes-Benz for its quality and longevity. And many of us are quite conscious of spending money frugally. Also, M-B is at the forefront of efficiency and new technology regarding carbon footprint.

Jim W.
 

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According to www.fueleconomy.com side by side comparison between 2011 ML350 and 2011 ML350 Bluetec both 4Matic the gas model the mpg is 15/20 (city/why) and for the diesel is 18/25. Combined figures as per the site are 17 mpg for gas and 21 for diesel. That's waaaaaay far away from 50 percent improvement.
As far as smoke maybe I don't know but everytime I am behind one I see black smoke coming out the tail pipe everytime the driver floors it and it quickly downshifts. Then it goes away. Don't get me wrong this is a great improvement from the 80s.

As far as towing is concerned you are correct diesels are superior. Like I said there is a need for diesels but they are not for everyone.
 

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According to www.fueleconomy.com side by side comparison between 2011 ML350 and 2011 ML350 Bluetec both 4Matic the gas model the mpg is 15/20 (city/why) and for the diesel is 18/25. Combined figures as per the site are 17 mpg for gas and 21 for diesel. That's waaaaaay far away from 50 percent improvement.
As far as smoke maybe I don't know but everytime I am behind one I see black smoke coming out the tail pipe everytime the driver floors it and it quickly downshifts. Then it goes away. Don't get me wrong this is a great improvement from the 80s.

As far as towing is concerned you are correct diesels are superior. Like I said there is a need for diesels but they are not for everyone.
For my 2 cents, I love my current CDI and had occasion to get a 2011 GLK loaner overnight while i was getting my tranny oil changed. In the smaller lighter GLK the newer higher powered gas motor felt underpowered when compared to my CDI. I cant wait until the bring the GLK out with some sort of Diesel, I will order one the day they become available.And also my CDI Never smokes and smells less in the garage on startup than my last gas ML and i live in a part of the world where it hits -40 and with the fuel heaters and glow plugs, it always starts. Just my 2 cents on a few yrs of actual use
 

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Unless your just overflowing with cash to burn, keep your great shape W163.

Buying a W164 now, is just asking to take a nice hit on depreciation. Just look at the 2009 E class as a example. You can get 08/09 E's at amazing prices. Honestly, why not keep the W163 forever for your SUV needs and just get that 09 E class ;)

I say wait for the next edition benz SUV to be released.
 

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OK, Gasoline Vs Diesel, Lets Go!

Ok, We've owned both and in current generation ML's. Plus my last two VW Jettas were diesels.
Our first 'Benz was an '06 ML350, recently traded for a '10 ML350 Bluetech.
I'm a data guy, so, here we go:
First off, perceived power - The ML (gasoline) V6 is a fantastic engine...and I don't like V6's! Great response, smooth power curve; I didn't find myself wanting a V8. The response is a bit better than our new diesel. The diesel is no slouch, however. That said, there's a couple of short, steep hills on the interstate between Billings and Sheridan. The gasoline V6 downshifts, to maintain speed up the hill;....the diesel doesn't. Diesels make their horsepower at low rpm.
My last, 09 Jetta TDI had, hands down, the best engine I've ever driven. That diesel was rated at 140 hp and absolutely stormed around a car in passing.
Second off, mileage - Driving 75 mph on the interstate, our gasoline ML averaged 22.5 mpg. Driving the same 75 mph; our Bluetech averages 28.5 mpg. That's 6 mpg better and the diesel isn't even broke in. I expect a bit better once it gets in the 8000-10,000 mile range. Slow it down to 65 mph, the Bluetech gets an honest 30 mpg.
Thirdly, smoke - None of my 3 diesels have ever had a problem with visually detectable smoke. Well, that's not quite true - my '03 Jetta did, until I cleaned the intake manifold. Never had another problem with that after installing a coalescer on the crankcase ventilation. There was a little smell from the '03 when it was started, until it warmed up. Nothing from the '09 and barely detectable from the '10 Bluetech.
I love modern, european diesels.
Price - I recently traded my '09 Jetta on an '08 Touareg. I really wanted the diesel version, but, on the Touaregs, the difference in price is $7000 to $10,000, so I went with the V6. But I still want one ! On the new 'Benz's its much closer - when we bought the Bluetech, the difference was approx $1100. It was a no-brainer.
 

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You make some good points aggst1. One point you don't mention though is to consider the type of vehicle and how you drive it. For example, there is a damned good reason why most commercial heavy trucks run on diesel.

If you are considering a sports car then you certainly would have to think twice about a diesel. The diesel is not as responsive as a petrol engine both because of the different burn rate of diesel and all modern diesels have a turbo which needs time to spool in order to deliver the power/torque benefits. For many cars the development of auto transmissions (such as 7G) has also helped diesels to operate more effectively within their narrow power-band more often but they still are unable to match the responsiveness and power delivery characteristics of a good petrol engine.

For how many people use an ML the diesel engine is very well suited and can compliment the character of the car very nicely. So consider your driving style and how you use your car.

I am neither pro-diesel or pro-petrol. I am very glad to have had the choice and have found a good match of engine for how I use my car and how I choose to drive it.

BTW - your point about the Prius? Both Ford and VW group now have diesel cars that are cheaper, more fuel efficient and more fun to drive than the expensive Prius.
 

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If it is diesel vs gasoline, I personally would stick with gas. I know a lot of folks on this forum will get uptight about my comment but just put everything in dollars and cents and you will see that there are reasons that diesels are not as popular in the USA as they are in Europe:

a) Diesel fuel costs equal to or more than premium,
b) Diesel cars are always priced higher than gas models
c) With diesels you have to add adblue (Bluetechs) so extra operating cost
d) No matter how much torque they produce, they ain't performing like gas engines! If they did, then Formula 1 cars would run on diesel fuel. You will certainly miss your ML500 if you switch! It's quite simply the difference in flammability of the two fuels. Yes the diesels are compressed etc... but that wastes even more energy.
e) They don't provide major mpg gains (7-8 mpg better than gas on average but if you factor in the added expenses the gains are quickly diminished)
f)No matter what folks are saying about "the new generation of diesel motors" they are noisy and produce black smoke at times although much less than older generation diesels.
g) Most diesels have starting issues in cold temperatures.
h) Diesel fuel is NOT available at all service stations. You can find it on the highway but not as much in the city (at least in PA)
i) Last but not least, I never understood consumers that are willing to spend $50, 60, 70, 80 thousand dollars for a premium vehicle but are concerned about mpg! And don't anybody tell me they are being conscious of their carbon footprint because if they were they would take public transportation or drive a Prius...

Do the math and you will see that you don't gain as much as they let you believe. Don't get me wrong, I think the diesels have a purpose, but not here yet. IMHO, the only reason we see MB marketing them is because they had to respond to the fuel efficiency trend of this past decade and since they are newcomers in the hybrids they are pushing hard on the diesels which are possibly the best diesels around.

In Europe, the gallon of premium costs about 3-4 times as much as in the US (depending the country) but diesel is generally cheaper enough to justify it. (25-30% cheaper than their gasoline prices) So in that situation it is a totally a different ball game! Also, in some EU countries, diesel fuel does not include all taxes (just like heating oil in US) because the fuel is used by taxis, trucks and whoever wants to have a diesel, so the price is even lower.

In short, my advise is to keep your ML500 and go with the next generation of MLs in a year or more (based on the three choices you presented). Other option would be to trade for a ML550.
I have to take exception to (D) ergo the Audi R10 TDI diesel prototype LMP1 won the 24hrs of Lemans since its intro in 2006.
 

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I don't know where the information is coming from but mine is from experience. I have owned both gas and diesel ML320's and the response of the diesel is superior to the gas version. As mentioned previously, the E320 diesel is faster 0-60 than the gas E320.
Having towed heavy loads with both diesel and gas M-Classes there is no comparison. The gas 320 couldn't hold the speed, downshifted with practically any small rise in the road, had to lug up steeper grades and was pretty disappointing to use. The diesel with a similar load could be set with the cruise at the speed limit and rarely changed more than 1 mph with any grade. The diesel was very quick to adjust to road configuration.
The value add-on of about $1,500 for the diesel version was well worth what we paid. I would not go back.

Jim W.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
options

Thanks for the opinions. I drove the ML and BMW diesels. The BMW is really fast, almost the equal of my ML 500. I thought my ML rode rough until I hit a pothole with the X5 with Sport Package. Terrible ride on anything but glass smooth pavement. Great steering. Not much room. Considering the ML is soon to be replaced, I will keep my ML 500 and add SAT radio. Any tips on how to do this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
final word on ml/bmw

The "deal" on the x5 diesel vs. the ml was too compelling. After serious comparisons among the q7, ml, bmw and toureg, I traded in my ML500. I was able to acquire the x5 for a great price. What really "sealed the deal" was the difference in performance and dealer service between the ML diesel and the x5. After 1000 miles, these are my observations about the difference between the two:
1. The ML rides smoother and is quieter.
2. The x5 is as quick as my ML500. The ML diesel is slower by far.
3. The ML has more room, but the multi-contour seats/steering wheel/trim of the x5 is better.
4. The x5 handles like a sports sedan.
5. I ordered the x5 and received delivery in five weeks. Both MB dealers said it would take two months for my order to be filled!

In the end, the decision was based on the performance of the ML/BMW and the dealerships closer to me. Our nearest MB dealer is terrible. The BMW dealership was considerably better.

To the person who bought my 2002 ML500: You bought a "hell" of a truck for a fantastic price. Enjoy it. :thumbsup:
 
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