More M for mus­cle with the new Merc

One of Mercedes’ big hits has had a makeover, writes STEPHEN OT­T­LEY

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige News -

THE ban­dages have come off Mercedes’ face- lifted ML range and the re­design has de­liv­ered a more mus­cu­lar look with more power and mod­est fuel-econ­omy gains.

How­ever, Aus­tralian buy­ers will have to wait for the new range. A Mercedes Aus­tralia spokesman says it is un­likely to reach here un­til Oc­to­ber or Novem­ber.

The cur­rent five-model lineup of two turbo-diesels and three petrol en­gines are likely to carry over, along with the car’s 4MATIC all-wheeldrive sys­tem and seven-speed au­to­matic gear­box.

That means buy­ers can ex­pect the ML350 V6, ML500 V8 and ML63 AMG petrol mod­els and ML280 and ML320 CDI vari­ants.

Power ranges from 140kW to 285kW for the ML500. The AMG’s 6.2-litre V8 will pump out 375kW. Frac­tional gains have been made in fuel econ­omy, which has im­proved by 0.4-litres/100km.

Aus­tralia is ex­pected to con­tinue with all five mod­els when the car even­tu­ally goes on sale.

The front and rear of the big Merc has been tweaked to freshen the car’s looks. The front gains a re­designed bumper, re­con­toured head­lights and a more dom­i­nant grille.

The rear also gets a new bumper with in­te­grated re­flec­tor strips and smoked-glass tail-lights.

Inside there is a new, four-spoke, mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel with pad­dle shifters and in­creased spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

It now in­cludes the pre­safe and neck-pro head re­straints and an all-new, high-per­for­mance telem­at­ics sys­tem.

Apart from the breadand-but­ter mod­els, the ML63 AMG gets a mus­cu­lar makeover with more dis­tinc­tive front and rear ends, a chrome un­der­guard and larger AMG grille.

The range-top­ping model also gets 20-inch al­loy wheels.

The M-Class has been a big suc­cess for Mercedes-Benz lo­cally since the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion was launched here in Septem­ber 2005.

Last year it sold 2459 of the four­wheel-drives, the com­pany’s sec­ondbest seller be­hind the new C-Class.

Prices and fi­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tions are yet to be de­ter­mined but the cur­rent range starts at $79,100 for the 280 CDI and tops out at $161,100 for the AMG.

Shin­ing ex­am­ple: the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, tweaked at the front and back to give it a new look.

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