The Mercedes Benz ML's front seats are heated, on both the SE and Sport, and come with full electric adjustment, including powered lumbar support.
The Mercedes Benz ML's front seats are heated, on both the SE and Sport, and come with full electric adjustment, including powered lumbar support. The steering column is manually adjustable for rake and reach, so finding a driving position is easy.
As befits the name, the Mercedes Benz ML 280 CDI Sport has 'sports' front seats covered in Alcantara and Artico, which are very hard-wearing man-made suede and leather materials, respectively, but you would be hard pushed to tell the difference from the real thing. The SE just has Artico, which looks equally as smart and luxurious but is easy to clean.
The seats are very comfortable and supportive and there is plenty of legroom in the rear of the cabin. The rear seats have a 1/3 2/3 split and fold to form a flat load floor, should the need arise to increase the luggage capacity from 500- to a maximum 1,830-litres. The outer rear seats have ISOFIX anchors and automatic child seat sensors that work with Mercedes Benz child seats fitted with a transponder.
The fascia is plain and functional but there is a lot going on in terms of instruments, navigation and entertainment. Standard issue for both the SE and Sport is an Audio 20 system with single MP3 compatible CD/radio with a 5-inch colour screen and telephone keypad, Bluetooth hands-free and an AUX socket. For the first time in a Mercedes Benz ML, it is possible to connect an iPod or USB memory stick using the new Media Interface, which adds £140, plus a further £40 for the connection cables to the glovebox but it does mean that the files can be played and controlled through the car's main audio system.
There are secondary controls on the steering wheel for most of the gizmos but by far the most impressive, if not the most expensive, is the Cockpit Management and Navigation Display system, or COMAND for short. Although it adds £2,300 to the basic price, it does provide its own entertainment.
The system comprises a high resolution, 6.5-inch colour screen to display Europe-wide navigation and an integrated 6 CD/DVD changer and music register, which is capable of holding around 1,000 music tracks. COMAND also has the latest Linguatronic, voice-operated control system, for telephone, navigation and audio. Simply press the button on the steering wheel and speak your command, such as "Radio 1", "show map", "zoom in", or a name in the stored phone register. It is very clever and has the benefit of both hands remaining on the steering wheel and eyes staying on the road.
Mercedes Benz M-Class Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mercedes Benz ML 280 CDI Sport|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||9.8 seconds|
|Top Speed||127 mph|
|Transmission||7G-Tronic 7-Speed Automatic|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||34.9 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5 Star|
|Warranty||3 years / Unlimited miles|
|Price (when tested on the 07/04/09)||£41,347|