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Interior of the New M-Class
A look at the interior design
immediately demonstrates the way the authentic SUV experience is combined with
the sense of comfort inherent in a premium Mercedes-Benz sedan. While the
expressive design of the center stack embodies the power of an SUV, the gentle
downward curve of the dashboard on the front passenger side gives a sense of
spaciousness, thus emphasizing the vehicle's comfort. The roomy and well-lit
interior offers noticeably more elbow room than its predecessor (1.34 inches
more in the front, .98 inches in the rear). An eye-catching feature of the
instrument panel is large decorative wood trim that is continued along the doors
in a seamless wrap-around effect. These generously proportioned trim elements,
in a three-dimensional design, are available in four high-quality wood finishes,
or in aluminum. The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class can thus be
appointed to reflect either exclusive refinement or sporty sophistication,
according to the customer's taste. The door handles and seat adjustment switches
have been inset with precision craftsmanship into the side trim. The door center
panels feature distinctive decorative stitching, with a separate, exclusive look
for the optional Sports package.
The state-of-the-art instrument cluster
with its two clear and easy to read round dials and a large, 4.5 in display
between them, impresses with the high-quality look of its design. Dominating the
center of the dashboard is the large screen for the COMAND system. The control
and display concept was developed specifically with user-friendly operation in
mind. In the M-Class, Mercedes- Benz is introducing an advanced ergonomic
concept that will find its way into all future new models. Just one element of
this is the improved accessibility of the turn signal stalk on the steering
column. All control levers can now be clearly seen. The cruise control lever has
been moved to the lower position.
Infotainment, navigation and
communication systems are intuitive and easy to operate using the metal Central
Controller located on the center console. Vertical rectangular air vents on
either side of the large screen serve to emphasize the more functional aspects
of the SUV. The outer air vents are the same shape but in this case horizontally
positioned, thus giving added design flair. The center console incorporates an
armrest with integrated handrest, in front of which is located the Central
Controller and various switches.
The seats in the 2012 M-Class are
designed to provide a high level of comfort on long journeys as well as
excellent lateral support. All important parameters can be electrically
adjusted. These include the adjustment of seat height, backrest rake, seat
cushion angle and reach. Generous seat adjustment travel of more than 13.75
inches lengthways and more than 3.5 inches in height ensure that M-Class drivers
will always find the ideal seating position.
A high level of variability
characterizes the rear seats, which are fitted with an armrest and cupholder.
The backrest angle adjustment on the rear seats is new, as is the optional
through-loading feature above the armrest for the transport of skis. Folding
both backrests as well as the seat cushions forward creates a level load
compartment with a capacity of 71 cubic ft. up to the roof liner.
colors are available for the interior appointments: black, almond beige and
grey. In conjunction with the Sport Interior package, the combination of
DINAMICA microfiber and black M-B TEX man-made leather, or premium leather and
black two-tone leather is also available.
High Efficiency Diesel
Engine in the ML350 BlueTEC
State-of-the-art engines and a
comprehensive range of fuel efficiency measures all contribute to delivering
superb energy efficiency. BlueTEC diesel engines and the new generation of
BlueDIRECT gasoline engines provide the starting point for the excellent
efficiency of the new M-Class.
The ML350 BlueTEC uses a completely
reworked 3.0-liter V6 engine, which meets emissions standards in all 50 states
and delivers far better performance, yet with considerably reduced fuel
consumption. The efficiency improvements have been achieved, above all, through
the use of the innovative TWAS (twinwire- arc spraying) technology - in use
since 2005 in AMG's successful high-performance engines. The process reduces
internal friction in the engine significantly. At the same time, the weight has
been reduced by 9.5 lbs., as there is no longer any need for the grey cast iron
cylinder liners that, until now, had to be pressed into the engine block. The
benefits are striking: with these measures alone, fuel consumption could be
reduced by around 3 percent.
Excellent Comfort and Driving Dynamics
A high level of comfort, aggressive on- and off-road handling are part of
the standard equipment on the new M-Class. For the first time, the steel
suspension of the M-Class chassis now includes AGILITY CONTROL adaptive damping.
During normal driving on only moderately uneven roads or during slow off-road
driving, the system responds with a soft ride that enhances the occupants'
comfort as well as the car's off-road capability. In order to maintain this
sense of comfort during hard driving or abrupt evasive maneuvers, the shock
absorbers become firmer, ensuring a high level of driving stability. The M-Class
driver is supported by an electromechanical steering system that provides the
optimum level of power assistance to suit the particular driving condition.
Parking or maneuvering off-road is made easier thanks to maximum power
assistance. The SUV also features the tightest turning circle in its market
segment, with a 180-degree turn negotiated within a circle diameter of just 38.7
feet. At higher speeds, the power assistance is reduced to improve SUV's
For those who want to venture off paved roads, the 2012 ML350
BlueTEC 4Matic and 2012 ML350 4Matic feature comprehensive traction systems as
part of their standard equipment, including the permanent 4Matic all-wheel drive
system and the electronic traction control system ETS, as well as an off-road
button that activates a special off-road transmission mode.
* To improve
traction, the slip thresholds and shift points of the autoMatic transmission
have been raised
* A flatter accelerator pedal curve improves the sensitivity
with which the driver can accelerate
* Off-road ABS provides optimum braking
on a loose surface
Hill Start Assist and the HOLD function are further
features that help the driver pull away on a slope. Downhill Speed Regulation,
or DSR, enables the M-Class to autoMatically maintain the speed set via the
cruise control lever.
package for the new M-Class (available next year in the U.S.) uses a range of
six transmission modes to optimize driving dynamics and handling safety, by
ensuring that the necessary drive control is available to cope with the very
different driving conditions on and off-road. One autoMatic mode, two dedicated
off-road modes and three on-road modes are available.
The system is
controlled via a rotary knob on the center console. The settings for AIRMatic,
and the powertrain, are adapted to accommodate these specific requirements. The
six transmission modes in detail:
* AutoMatic - covers most everyday
* Offroad 1 - light terrain, dirt roads and tracks
Offroad 2 - challenging off-road terrain with hilly stretches
* Winter - for
driving in wintry conditions on slippery roads, on snow, ice or with snow chains
* Sport - more adventurous, aggressive driving on winding roads
* Trailer -
optimizes acceleration, maneuvering and braking with a trailer
many options, the setting is made intuitively, and the program selected is shown
in the multifunction display as well as in very realistic, almost photo-quality
imagery on the screen of the COMAND system. Irrespective of which underlying
program is set, the gear reduction, lock, DSR or the self-leveling suspension of
the AIRMatic system can all be adjusted individually. As with the basic settings
of the ON&OFFROAD package, it is practically impossible for the driver to make
mistakes. Conflicting settings, which might have a negative impact on handling,
safety or traction, are ruled out. If there is any doubt, the system will revert
to autoMatic mode.
In terms of "hardware", the ON&OFFROAD package
consists of a skid plate, a two-stage transfer case with reduction gear, a
longitudinal differential (lowrange) lock and enhanced AIRMatic functionality
that allows a maximum ground clearance of 11.2 inches and a fording depth of
Entertainment and Information
The new M-Class
comes standard with a new audio headunit with a 7-inch color display, Bluetooth
audio streaming and telephony, phonebook download, 6-disc CD/DVD/MP3/ AM/FM /weatherband
radio, HD Radio, album cover art, auxiliary input and USB port.
of the optional Premium 1 package, customers receive hard-drive based
navigation, SIRIUS traffic & weather, 3D city models, intermediate navigation
destinations, and area avoidance.
Model Range in the US
market launch of the 2012 M-Class, there will be two models available in the
U.S. The ML350 BlueTEC 4Matic delivers an output of 240 hp and 455 lb-ft of
torque, with an estimated fuel consumption of 20 city 25 highway. With 302 hp
and 273 lb-ft of torque, the gasoline-engine ML350 4Matic has an estimated fuel
economy of 17/22 mpg.
Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTEC 4Matic: Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications