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Mercedes-Benz M-Class (2006+)

merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
edited June 2014 in Mercedes-Benz
I got a chance to see the new ML this past weekend in Detroit. I must say that I wasn't too impressed with it. The interior looks (they were all locked) to be of higher quality that the current model and the overall styling is much better and line line with the latest Mercedes themes present on the new SLK and CLS.

 

Somehow though I didn't find the whole vehicle that moving. I still think the VW Touared has a better interior and overally look. The new ML is much bigger on the inside though per the measurements, but it looks smaller and more trim on the outside... a styling trick Mercedes is good at nowadays.

 

Overall there seems to be something lacking wit the ML compared to Mercedes' cars. Anyone else seen the new ML in person if so what are you thoughts?

 

M
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Comments

  • Does anyone have info on actual release date (Motor Trend said, Spring) and options and features available. I loved my E320 Sedan AWD, but the current ML doesn't cut it. I'm currently considering BMW - X-3 and Lexus RX330. I suppose the Lexus Hybrid AND the new ML will be at a premium for awhile. Maybe I should just stay with my 2003 X-5. Great vehicle, but the seat is killing my broken back! Thanks
  • Personally my opinion it is larger, and a lot nicer on the inside. While the w164 is in sop at the moment later this year the M-class will introduce a new X164 long wheel base, I have seen the w164 but as of yet not seen x164 still keeping it created up and all.

     

    To give you a hint, I would love the new M-Class compared to the first generation which was a little cheaper looking this one is not, with more enhancements which are to many to go into. Wait until the later part of 2005 if you want an suv the larger M-class will be for you, sporting a frame that is supposed to be larger than the ford Expedition, but really The GST is awesome in style and in comfort. It does have the Panoramic roof and really a great product. Any questions just ask I try to help you with anything I can.
  • My dealer, Fletecher Jones of Newport Beach, CA called to say he was sending me advance information, specs, photos, etc. Should have them this weekend when I return home. The new design sounds and looks promising. Better MPG is a big plus along with more room and a much nicer interior.

    Price was up in the air. I heard mid 50s which seems like a huge jump over the current model. You can get a 2005 ML Special Edition for around 40,500. Why spend 15k more for a new model especially when an RX 330 or Touareg runs in the 39-42k range.

    I'll wait and test drive the new ML before making any decisions. I hope the hit the market with right options and pricing as the service on my two current MBs has been fantastic!
  • Don't know much about the MB's. Currently lease a Jeep Cherokee. What is a GST?
    Will the M Class have 3rd row seat/7 passenger capacity?
    Thanks
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    the 2-speed transfer case is now an option, that comes with the off-road package. So, if you don't get that, the ML is high-range only AWD.

    Bob
  • The new ML will be in two versions, first to release is the 5 passenger version. Gone are those funky fold up rear seats. Then in the fall the long wheelbase version with 7 passenger seating is scheduled to be released.

    The GST is an upscale wagon with AWD, higher driving position, an all glass roof, and seating for 6 or 7 depending upon configuration. Practical use of an all glass roof with no sun roof and no rack remain to be seen. If you ever use your sun roof or roof rack don't waste your time waiting for the GST.
  • Hmm.... sounds kind of like the Trailblazer/ Trailblazer EXT business to me. Well, at least the new one isn't shpaed like a shoe box.
  • By chance came upon a road test of the new ML by dealers/salesmen today. Several were testing about 6 ML's. Really liked the exterior redesign. They said they would be available in late March (South Florida). Can't wait to test drive.
  • You are one lucky person. I've been hounding my local dealer and the area MBUSA person to sneak me into one of those tests. No luck yet.

    Glad to hear that they look good in real life. The photos are nice but nothing like seeing a the real deal.
  • carzzzcarzzz Posts: 282
    Does anyone know the 2005 MB-ML has 7 seats or 5 seats?
  • jpouchetjpouchet Posts: 38
    5 seats in the first release. Then the long wheelbase version will be introduced in 7 seat. This should be in the fall with the GST at the same time.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well the current rumor mill has the M-Class being followed up early next year by a new G-Class which will have 7 seats. The R-Class will have 3 rows of 2 seats for 6. At first the word was that the longer ML would be called the MLX, but now the thinking is that the longer version will replace the current G-Class.

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    is not a huge priority among the majority of M-class buyers. Do they want excellent traction in foul weather, and the overall onroad performance of allwheel drive - yes. Are they the least bit interested in taking their $45k-plus luxury car off road - mostly no. If they really have to, they will be glad to pay for the option.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    What is the launch date? Any pricing info yet?

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    They keep us in the dark about pricing until the last minuit, but I would imagine between the improvements on one end, and making things like low-range optional on the other, the price will probably remain in the mid 40's once leather, power seats, roof, et al, are added on. My first ML350 is ready to ship, so we expect to get that car sometime in april, to the best of my knowledge.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    not long after posting that last, I got info that MB is going to launch a bit earlier, this month sometime. Also, still a little vague on price, but base is still supposed to be under 40k.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah I'm reading in other MB forums that the new ML is due like on March 19th or so?

    M
  • nickel58nickel58 Posts: 1
    The 2006 ML will start shipping in mid March. The official launch date was April 4th. However Mercedes-Benz moved up the launch date to mid March. Base price of the ML350 is $39,750.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    that's correct.
  • lanielanie Posts: 1
    Go to this Pennsylvania dealer's website for side by side photos of the 2005 & 2006 M-Class SUVs.

    http://www.knopfauto.com/
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The pics look good.

    I guess Mercedes is satisfied with the quality of the ML to push the release date up.

    ****** Deep Sigh, with fingers crossed ******

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    From another forum:

    Release date is March 21, 2005

    ML350: $39,750
    ML500: $48,500

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    Here's hoping the 2nd gen M-class will be as problem free as the other newer cars(slk, cls, re-faced c) have been. One thing to keep in mind is that back in '97 there was a new factory, new staff, and a new vehicle all at the same time. It's a wonder there weren't more problems out of them. Now it's just a new vehicle, other than the drivetrains, and I'll keep my fingers crossed, too.
  • superbobsuperbob Posts: 1
    Has the fuel efficiency changed on the 2006 ML350?
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    I have not seen any specs on the new ML yet, but it would stand to reason that with offroad gear being optional, and the new motor having variable valve timing, it may gain 1-3 miles per. If any techs are on this thread that have already been to school on it, they may know.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Edmunds has posted their first drive impressions of the 2006 M-Class and they say the interior materials are not up to Benz standards. Interesting because every other review of the new M-Class says the interior is up to Benz standards. I guess a hands on examination is in order.

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    I haven't laid eyes on the new M yet , either, but it's going to have the same interior as the new slk-, c-, and cls-class cars, so I don't see how it could be any worse. I do suppose some people will be gunning for it from day one because of the gen 1 car's troubles. I'll get my first 4 this week, so we shall see soon enough. I'll be sure to post my (slightly) biased opinions when I can.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well the Build Your Own section has been put up:

    http://www.mbusa.com/microsite/m-class/index.jsp

    Per the Benz usual there are lots of options. Including the expected AMG Sport Package:

    image Nice!

    Stroudman,

    Yeah I'm waiting for the chance to look at one on the inside too. I didn't understand why they had them all locked at the Detroit and Chicago auto shows.

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    probably had the doors locked to keep the interiors from getting damaged, is my guess. You or I wouldn't, but it's amazing how brutal some people can be towards things that don't belong to them. Those cars have to sell to someone, eventually, so the cleaner the better. My first four should arrive today or tomorrow, and I'm really looking forward to it.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh I know all about that. I've seen everything from gearshifts to emblems missing on cars at Autoshows. I've always wondered what they do with those cars afterwards. I'd take one if they replace everything that was taken and clean the seats - for a discount that is.

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    Cars like those will make the rounds at the shows, maybe get driven around by corporate reps for a while, then go to the auction, so they probably will be bought at a better price. They do get rehabed, but it's usually at the expense of the dealer who bought it, since cosmetic damage isn't a warranty issue.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Did those M's come in yet?

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    My tech's are performing pdi's as I type, and man are they nice. I'll wait to drive one after the plastic is all peeled off, tho. The interior is, IMO, on par with everything else we sell. Lots of trick bits - the 6-disc changer drops down out of the inside of the glove box. Real, American-style, slurpy-holdin' cupholders! Monocoque Chasis! They are a little high, so far. The factory sent us the first few models already configured, and a couple of them are pretty loaded. $48k. Still not bad tho. Much more gear and a sweeter engine than an X5 3.0 for less money. They'll be everywhere soon enough.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    I've now driven a 350, and I can best describe it as an E-class suv. It's as roomy, as appointed, and quiet(mostly) as the sedan. Very nice, much more suited to the folks who buy them. Toyota can put a tall roof wagon body on a camry platform, copy the design signitures, and call it the rx, but now we'll see. The truck-minded people might not like this new M, but for every one of them we turn off, we'll probably win back two or three who didn't like the truck-like ride B-4. The only thing that concerns me so far about this new M is that they've gone to an electronic column mounted shift lever similar to the 7-series. I'm not the least bit sexist, but I fear a few of the ladies aren't going to like that, because they are more prone than guys to not want to adjust to the new technology.(I'm not saying ALL women, but some). Hopefully I'll be wrong about that.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I see that MBUSA.com has been updated. Any buyers yet?

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    Two of our first four are all but sold. One to a client of mine who is now in a C320 wagon, and is really giddy about it. The other to a 1st gen M-class driver. We are a small dealer, but we are still getting some decent buzz around it.
  • Was able to finally inspect a few of the new MLs at the New York Auto show today. Two of them were unlocked and I was impressed with them.

    Stroudman & Merc1 - do you know if Mercedes is planning on doing a "test and ride" event for the new ML - similar to the C-Spot and Love Mercedes events last year?
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    outside of our internal training rides, I haven't heard of one yet, but will keep folks posted if I do. If you are an owner already, or have somehow made it onto their mailing list, they will likely send out a mailer as well.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm sure they'll have something, the tricky part is knowing about where to sign up for it. I went to the Love Mercedes Tour last fall. While a nice event it was nothing like the Power Driver AMG event I attended back in 2001. I did get to see the CLS back in Oct though, months before it hit the dealers.

    M
  • Thanks to both of you for replying. I'm anticipating that MB will have something but I just wanted to be sure I didn't already miss it. I was invited to the 2005 AMG Challenge event and as much as I really want to, I don't think I'll be able to attend it. I am looking forward to driving the new ML.
  • ajayapteajayapte Posts: 1
    Does the new 2006 ML350 have 3rd row seating option?
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    No, thank goodness it does not. The optional third seat in the first gen car was not only useless, but cumbersome. There are rumors of a long-wheelbase M-class that would offer 3 rows, but for now that's still a rumor. See R-class, coming this fall.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I see the dealers are awash in new ML's. Seems to be a lot of buzz surrounding to their arrivial. Here in IL the dealers are closed on Sunday, but you wouldn't know it by all the people gawking at the new MLs outside. I still need to sit in one to see if the interior is up snuff.

    M
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    Of course I see and show them every day now, but let me now when you get to drive one. It's a whole new vehicle, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on it.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If I ever drive one I'll be sure to let you know!

    M
  • jpouchetjpouchet Posts: 38
    Got the call from my local dealer, Fletcher Jones Mercedes of Newport Beach, where we bought our previous cars including my wife's Wonderful 2004 E 320 to come test the new ML 350.

    First observations, very nice styling. The body is sleek yet still keeps the rugged SUV looks many drivers want. The fit and finish were on par with the E and S class so this speaks well for US assembly.

    Climbing in was okay but not great. The wood was fine but not excellent like the E. I feel they missed the mark on the dash. It looks mid-market not high-end.

    The seats were firm but the leather was a joke. I had to go back to the window sticker on every ML I saw to confirm the seats were really leather inserts and not 100% MB Tex. My C had nicer feeling seats.

    The drive was firm without being stiff. I did notice a bit more body roll than in the X3/X5. Very little dive under braking and the brakes are excellent!

    Performance was fine, I never really pushed the car hard but the 350 V6 seems to have a good bit of power on tap. The 7-speed is like a hot knife through butter. Smooth and quick shifting all the way. I did notice a LAG in shifting when using the steering wheel toggle switches. Driver training will be required to remember the odd shift pattern especially putting the car in Park.

    Sun roof seemed small. AC worked well. Sound system was quite good but not up to the E class standard.

    Interior is a bit stark. It just did nothing for me. The instrument panel is plain and feels more Nissan like than Mercedes. The doors are boring and would be third-world if not for the wood trim. I can not imagine how cheap the aluminum trim version must look.

    Interior volume is excellent. If you want room for a family of four or five this baby has it. The rear seats, other than the questionable "leather", are comfortable, easy to get in and out of, and have plenty of room to relax in. No cramped feet or legs here.

    Cargo bay has some nice size to it. Easy to take a ton of luggage on a trip and stuff the dog back there at the same time with room to spare. This is one area Mercedes really got right.

    Overall - I wouldn't spend $48,000 for this SUV. The interior is cheap, the ride is less than sporty, the fuel economy is not very good especially when compared to the Lexus or Toyota Hybrids. For a lot less you can buy a very nice GMC Denali, get similar MPG, have more room, and get a REAL leather interior. Both have similar instrument styling and mid-market feeling interiors.

    As a multi-Mercedes owner it pains me to say that this was an easy vehicle to walk away from. I wouldn't want one in my driveway unless perhaps it was priced in the $35-$38 range where it would be more comparable to the X3 or XC 90. even then both of those get much better MPG. Finally, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is available fully loaded in 4x4 configuration for around $42k and gets 33 MPG city, 28 Highway. Now thats a serious piece of technology in action.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    reviews of their previous new vehicles would hammer them for having too many controls, the switchgear was too busy. So now they try to go back to their traditional austerity from before, and they get hammered again. Just goes to show, you can't please everyone...

    As far as sporty, think X5. The M-class is a luxury car, it's fairly athletic, but the priority is on luxury.

    The E-class costs more, it should feel and look nicer inside, shouldn't it?
  • afifafif Posts: 10
    I took a look at the new M class, but did not drive it. Interior seemed diappointing, especially the leather. I have a 2001 M class and a c320 (MB of Laguna Niguel). Reliability of both has been dismal, although dealer service has been excellent. I am sure that Mercedes will sell a fair number of these, but you probably get more for your money (and probably better reliability) with a lexus or toyota.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    Recent history is what it is with these vehicles, but only time will tell with regards to reliability on the most recent product. The interior is sturdy, the switchgear isn't flimsy or unintuitive. The leather isn't Nappa, but it's thick and a bit rugged, which, for what is often times a family car that kids and dogs have their way with, is what should hold up the best. If it's that disappointing, just what level of expectations do you have?
  • afifafif Posts: 10
    you are probably right about the leather, but I guess I am used to the leather on my other cars. The dashboard felt a little plasticky. Who knows, I might end up with one in a few years, but only if the reliability is good.
This discussion has been closed.