Specifications prices Modifications and Image 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Mercedes-Benz’s now-legendary M-Class SUV has been revised for again the latest generation. While the refresh doesn't completely alter the look of the vehicle, it does include a redesigned bumper, re-contoured headlamps and a larger radiator, as well as minor changes to content lists.
Since the Tuscaloosa, Alabama-built M-Class’ introduction in late 1997 for the 1998 model year, families across the globe have flocked to the three-row sports-utility vehicle. The latest generation of the M brought a new top-end V8 model, the ML550, and considerably more aggressive style.
The visual changes with the latest update include restyled front and rear fascias, grille, headlights and smoked taillights. The interior receives upgraded materials along with a two-tone color scheme and new four-spoke steering wheel with integrated shift paddles. New standard and optional equipment has also been added.
The 2011 Mercedes M-Class features one of the finest cabins in its class, with a pleasing design and top-notch materials. Its electronics interface can be a bit frustrating, however. While the menu structure and software are the same, the M-Class doesn't feature the multifunction control knob that more recently introduced Mercedes models do.
Passenger room is impressive, offering more rear legroom than most of its competitors. There's no third row offered, though. With the rear seats in place, there is a total of 29 cubic feet of luggage space. When the seats are folded flat, this expands to 72 cubes -- an average figure for this class of vehicle.
Newly optional are: a 12-speaker, 610W Harman Kardon Logic7 sound system and a rear-seat entertainment system with two 8-inch screens, a DVD player, two wireless headphones, and two remote controls. MB’s Linguatronic voice-operated control system is another high-tech option.
The M-Class accommodates up to five occupants. The powered front seats include a driver-side four-way power lumbar adjustment. A 60/40-split rear seat creates a level load surface when folded.
*Standard "mbrace" telematics system
*Optional leather-seating package
*Optional front and rear heated seats
*Optional heated steering wheel
*Optional Harman Kardon audio
*Optional backseat entertainment system with two screens
Stand-alone options include 20-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot assist, a trailer hitch, running boards, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, heated rear seats and a rear-seat entertainment system.
The ML63 AMG adds to the ML550 an air suspension and adaptive damping system, 20-inch AMG wheels, high-performance tires, upgraded brakes, AMG styling elements, the Premium 2 package, the Lighting package, front and rear parking sensors, extended leather trim, heated and ventilated sport seats and a sport steering wheel with shift paddles.
Almost all the exterior changes in the most recent redesign made the M-Class look lower and broader. The grille was lower and the fog lights were farther apart, for example. The stainless-steel skid plates — front and rear — pulled the eye downward. One exception was the side mirrors, whose signal lights grew and spread, threatening to overtake the entire mirror enclosure.
*Standard roof rails, optional crossbars
*Dual exhaust outlets
*Standard 19-inch wheels; 20- and 21-inch rims optional
*Optional front and rear parking sensors
The ML350 is available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (4Matic) and is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. Mercedes estimates it will go from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. Fuel economy is estimated to be 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive and 15/20/17 in 4Matic guise.
The ML350 Bluetec has a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that utilizes 50-state-legal clean-diesel technology. It produces 210 hp and a prodigious 400 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic and 4Matic are standard. In Edmunds performance testing, we recorded a 0-60 time of 8.5 seconds. Its estimated fuel economy is 18/25/21.
The ML450 Hybrid features a 3.5-liter V6, a pair of electric motors and an advanced transmission that has both fixed and continuously variable ratios. The transmission shares its general design with GM's two-mode hybrid systems, though in this case there are eight forward speeds versus GM's four. Total combined output is rated at 335 hp and 381 lb-ft of torque. The estimated 0-60 time is 7.8 seconds and estimated fuel economy is 20/24/22 mpg.
The ML550 gets AWD and a seven-speed automatic standard. Its 5.5-liter V8 produces 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque, which is enough for an estimated 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds. Its EPA-estimated fuel economy is 13/18/15.
The ML63 AMG packs a 6.2-liter V8 good for 503 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. It's connected to all four wheels via an AMG-tuned seven-speed automatic with manual override shift paddles. In Edmunds performance testing, its 0-60 time was a staggering 4.7 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is, not surprisingly, the lowest of the bunch at 11/15/12 mpg.
Standard safety features include:
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes
Electronic stability system
Side curtain airbags
Active front head restraints
Pre-Safe, which can cinch the front seat belts and close the windows in case of a crash
The technology in the new ML450 Hybrid allows the SUV to move on electric power alone at low speeds, one reason it gets 21/24 mpg city/highway.
The ML450 Hybrid features a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 275 hp and is supplemented by two electric motors that are part of the eight-speed, continuously variable automatic transmission. Total output is 335 hp. One electric motor is designed for acceleration from a standing stop while the other one is meant for on-the-move acceleration. When more power is needed, the gas engine starts automatically.
This M-Class has a number of familiar hybrid characteristics. The engine sometimes turns off when the car comes to a stop and starts again when the vehicle begins to move. The ML450 Hybrid also features regenerative braking, capturing energy that would otherwise be lost as heat and instead using it to replenish the hybrid system's high-voltage battery pack.
The ML450 Hybrid is distinguished from its siblings by some exterior styling cues, including its liftgate badge, a different hood and special 19-inch wheels. Inside, occupants can monitor the hybrid system's operation and fuel economy with the optional Comand screen on the dash.