The current second generation Mercedes Benz M-Class has been with us since September 2005. We tested the Mercedes Benz ML 280 CDI SE back in 2006 and the face lifted (Autumn 2008) Mercedes Benz ML 280 CDI Sport in 2009.
Since its launch in 2005 - 300,000 units have been produced around the world, with 13,000 being sold in the UK.
There is now a choice of three diesel engines - ML 300 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY ( 2,987 cc, 6-cylinder, 204 hp/150 kW), ML 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY (2,987 cc, 6-cylinder, 231 hp/170 kW), ML 450 CDI (3,996 cc, 8-cylinder, 306 hp/225 kW) and two petrol engines the ML 500 (5,461 cc, 8-cylinder, 388 hp/285 kW) and the ML 63 AMG (6,208 cc, 8-cylinder, 510 hp/375 kW).
There is a choice of two trim levels the SE (traditional) and Sport (contemporary), plus there is an AMG model - the ML 63 AMG. On the road prices start at £40,165 for the entry-level ML 300 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY SE and rise to £77,885 for the range topping ML 63 AMG.
We drove the Mercedes Benz ML 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY SPORT with an on the road price of £43,358.50 which was equipped with over £10,000 worth of optional extras taking the list price up to £53,816.16 (ouch!)How It Drove - Performance
The Mercedes Benz ML 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY SPORT we tested was fitted with a 6-cylinder 2,987 cc diesel engine linked to a 7-speed automatic gearbox (no manual option is available throughout the range).
The idea behind BlueEFFICIENCY is lower fuel consumption and CO2 output via a number of measures such as reducing tyre friction, improved aerodynamics, weight reduction and lower-displacement engines. Does this all make the ML more eco-friendly -well every little bit helps but we are not sure it has the same impact on the ML as it does with the car range.
The Mercedes Benz 350 CDI engine produces 224 hp and 510nm of torque between 1,600 - 2,800rpm which is enough to propel the ML 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY from 0-62 mph in a respectable 8.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 134 mph.
Having recently driven the Land Rover Discovery 4 the ML 350 CDI certainly feels more lively and eager, although when the engine is cold there does seem to be some delay before the car will take off.
There isn't a manual option available and as with all Mercedes Benz M-Class's our test car was fitted with the excellent 7-speed automatic transmission, known as 7G-TRONIC. Gear shifts are pretty much seamless and little catches the automatic box out. If you prefer manual gear changes they can be made in formula one style by using the paddles on the back of the steering wheel. We tended to the leave car in drive and let it take care of itself. We weren't too keen on the steering column mounted gear lever and would prefer to select gears from a conventional tunnel mounted lever, but I guess it does free up the transmission tunnel.
This is a 11-year+ news article, from our Mercedes Benz archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
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