1 Oct 2008
WITH a plethora of new arrivals in the premium SUV segment since the second-generation W164 M-class was launched in April 2005, Mercedes-Benz could not wait to spark things up with a mid-life facelift.
Mechanically, the big 4WD remains unchanged (although fuel economy has been improved by an average of 0.4L/100km) and the five-model line-up continues, but there are some significant feature adjustments through the range to temp buyers, along with exterior changes that include larger exterior mirrors.
Subtle front-end styling changes include stepped headlights, a reshaped bumper and larger radiator grilles with three louvres, while the rear features darkened tail-lights and twin oval tailpipes, which can be changed for the square outlets that are standard on V8-engined models.
Interiors feature a new four-spoke multifunction steering wheel design with standard shift paddles, redesigned seats with four-way lumbar support and optional new two-tone dashboards.
Benz’s new generation of telematics provides numerous improvements, including fully-integrated iPod connection and the latest COMAND APS interface, and audiophiles can select an optional Harman Kardon surround-sound package that offers some 12 speakers with a total output of 610 Watts.
Riding on new 17-to-20-inch alloy wheels and with standard seven-speed transmissions, the M-class range continues with the 140kW/440Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel ML280 CDI, the 3.5-litre 200kW/350Nm V6 petrol ML350, the 3.0-litre 165kW/510Nm V6 diesel ML320 CDI, the 285kW/530Nm 5.5-litre petrol V8-powered ML500 and the flagship ML63 AMG, which is still powered by a 375kW/630Nm 6.2-litre petrol V8, but is now distinguished by chunkier front and rear air dams and a chromed (simulated) underguard, as well as an enlarged radiator grille.