More M for muscle with the new Merc
One of Mercedes’ big hits has had a makeover, writes STEPHEN OTTLEY
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.