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Mercedes-Benz M-class (ML320, ML350, ML500 and ML55) 2005 and earlier



  • sduff1sduff1 Posts: 11
    Friday I picked up my Brilliant Silver ML500 Sport. She's the best! And I've had the 2000 ML320 and 2001 ML430. I love all the new stuff, especially the rear air. The 500 engine has all the pickup I think it needs. It doesn't seem to strain. However, I have 2 square tires to be replaced. It's so cool looking; I'd drive it w/4 square tires!! The new bumpers and fog lights really sport it up. The new a/c controls are great. I do miss the recirculation button; this one turns itself off after 20 or so minutes. I had 100watt headlights in my other ML. These new lights are brighter; I won't be needing to change them out. I will miss the rear thing to hang clothes on; they're gone. There are these odd holes now, probably for a dog divider. The armrest is nice with the small storage area over the larger one. I didn't get the voice command; that would have been interesting. Our friends have a S500 with that and theres certain
    "twangs" it just won't recognize. I didn't get the phone this time either. I might regret that later. I had it on the others; a very nice feature. Once you use the nav system a few times, it's pretty easy and although I can read a map, I really got used to having it. The rear back glasses now pop out. You used to have to buy the M7,rear seat, to get that option. Oh, no more of that baffeling noise when the sunroof is back!! The new side mirrors also seemed to eliminate some of the noise when the front windows are down too. You can also program the right mirror to move down when you put it in reverse. Takes some getting used to. Overall, it's the best SUV out there. A few years I gave up a Navigator for the new body Suburban. Then, only at my husbands constant nagging, I got the ML w/3rd seat. Of course, I had to have the "Stow-Away" box to go on the back when we travel but it's the best of both worlds. I did try the Land Cruiser; hated the floating effect. I'm hooked now, for sure!
  • This is actually off the dealers lot that I drove today.
    Hope you enjoy the pictures be sure to leave a message in the guest book.

    sama from GA:

    The hooks above each rear passenger door is for the divider that can also be attached in the rear. The rear windows are the ones on either side of the 3rd seat passengers. They are now power operated from the front cockpit controls. When I first read your post I thought you ment the rear hatch does not open. Too bad.

    I forgot to get some pictures of the new storage compartment in the center console but as was mentioned it is two level and useful. Although the quality of the tabs to pull it up and open seem to be a little low...they are just plastic and seem difficult to catch.

    Here is a sneak peek

  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    What model Conti tires are those?
  • kenyee..unfortunately I don't remember. It was starting to rain and I was trying to get as many photos as I could before the bottom fell out.

    I also tried to get some photos of the black ML500 the dealer had also. But when I got back someone had taken it off the lot. I do know that that I think the 320 wheels are better looking than the 500 for some reason. The 320's have more design to the them. The 500's look similar but more plain. Although the ML500 wheels do keep the blue/silver MB logo in the center as before whereas as you can see the ML320 have the basic MB logo in the center.
  • the first 24 photos are from today. The others are from the web and are noted in the descriptions. I do not claim these; only the first 24.
  • fredtwdfredtwd Posts: 25
    I picked up my Desert Silver w/ Java leather ML320 today (M1, M2, M5, Heated Seats and Bose). So far so good.

    I ordered the Navigation system with it. The dealer ordered the Navigation and received the 2001 model. After installing it, it turned out that the 2001 navigation does not work in the 2002 M-Class. The 2002 navigation is on back order, so I'll have to wait a couple of months for my navigation.

    Has anyone received a 2002 ML320 with Navigation?

    Thanks in advance.

  • the first 24 photos are from today. The others are from the web and are noted in the descriptions. I do not claim these; only the first 24.
  • varigvarig Posts: 99
    I know that this has probably been asked before and discussed into the ground, but I did not want to read through 4,000+ messages today. The listed gas mileage on a 2002 320 is 15 city, 19 hwy. Is this what most 320 drivers are averaging?
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    Mind if I asked you what you paid (with regards to invoice or MSRP)?

    I'm starting my search this weekend, and wanted to see how dealers are treating the 2002 MY. Lousy economy would help a deal around invoice, but location (NYC) offsets any ability to deal. Most likely, it'll be time for a road trip.

    Also - anyone know where I can find out more info on the MB Navigational system? I read here that a DVD-ROM based unit is in the works, but wonder if I order the ML320 for MY2002, if I can add DVD navigation when it's available.

    Not that I should even care about the DVD navi - not like I'll need the entire US on one disc - how far can you drive in a day?
  • can any one tell how comfortable 3rd row seats are in ML320? Also if u have seen MDX then are they better than MDX. We are going to decide between MDX VS ML320 and 3rd seating is a factor in that...

    Thanks a lot!!!!
  • Hey all,

    According to sequoiasaurus's pictures, and contrary to what is indicated in the official 2002 M-Class brochure, it seems that the rear window switch/AC panel does NOT have the burlwood trim. In addition, the roll-up cover in the center console's oversized cupholder lacks the traditional M-B "laser-cut-from-a-single-piece-of-wood" wood trim as well. Does anyone know why this is? Does it require a separate package; or is it a dealer-installed accessory?
  • fredtwdfredtwd Posts: 25
    Which models and/or trim packages does this come with? I do not see it on the 2002 ML320.


  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    I'm making the exact same comparison right now..

    I have a deposit down on 2002 MDX, to be delivered in January @ MSRP.

    On Saturday, while walking past a MB dealer, my wife decided she wanted to have a look at the 2002 ML320, which had just arrived.

    To make a long story short - I'm right on the fence between them now. I'd love to hear how you compare the two (or anyone else, for that matter). Here's what I have so far:


    Pros - More cargo space, better engine performance (240HP 19/22 MPG), cheaper.

    Cons - Not as safe (ESP, HID, side curtain airbags), unknown long term reliability (VTM-4), not as luxurious.

    And the ML320:

    Pros - safer, included maintenance (4/50k), more luxurious, touch shift transmission, lifetime road assistance, better resale value, better 3rd row seating.

    Cons - less fuel efficient, reliability history shaky, more expensive to maintain, more expensive, smaller cargo space.

    Regarding your third row question - I think the ML's 3rd row is better, but neither is a full time third row solution. The MDX's third row I'd say is an emergency third row, for use no more than 45 minutes at a time unless the occupant is under 15 years old.

    If you've got a similar comparo - I'd love to hear it. My needs in a car - safety, reliability, drivability in poor weather (rain and snow), good urban vehicle.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    This is something you have to decide for yourself. The ML seats look like the other seats and probably have the same heft build but require you to fold them to the side when not in use. The MDX ones fold into the cargo floor, but are not as sturdy as their other seats because of the size constraints.

    The Chrome grill only comes w/ the ML500, not the ML320.

    No ETA on the DVD nav yet. You're asking a big what if question that we can't answer. Sort of like "will the Pentium5 use the same memory for my PC?".
  • I couldn't agree more with Johnnyc's answer concerning this. And it is up to personal preference. I prefer the ML's seats than the MDX. My head hit the roof in the MDX and not the ML and leg room was more in the ML.

    Chrome grill as Kenyee says is only available on the ML500 but my dealer said he could order me one for my 320 b/c we both agreed its looks great.
  • sshowittsshowitt Posts: 137
    I bought my warranty last year for a 2000 ML430. It cost $1575.
    That was the 4 yr 50K premium warranty. Best deal that I have found.
  • The best offer I could so far is around 1500 off MSRP. Most of them offered 1000 off MSRP. No matter the options & 320 or 500.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Yes, it can be ordered. It's actually from the ML55 for MY2001 and earlier models; it's a simple matter of around 8(?) screws to pop it in. Cost is around $140 if I remember right.
    The MY2002 ML55 has the entire grill painted.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Just curious -- When folks here fold the M7 third row seats against the sides, do they tend to leave it that way most of the time? Is there any concern that a high rear-end collision could push the folded seats into the top of the second row?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Haven't had the chance to respond to your question till now; I also had to do some checking up. Besides being bolted/anchored to the wall structure of the ML, the seats are also tethered to the top of the roof. When raised, they are about 3 inches below the top of the rear head restraint in its lowest non-extended position.


    All of the seat frames are made of the same HSLA (High Strength, Low Ally) steel that is used as the critical load bearing safety structures of the vehicle, and as such, can withstand a very significant forces. In the case of a very severe high speed rear end collision, the rear section of the frame is designed to buckle in the middle, breaking off the underbody spare tire carrier, and directing the force of the impact downwards and away from the occupants.

    The 3rd row seats are anchored high up enough on the walls not to be affected. MB planned on the ML having 3 rows of seats during the design phase of the vehicle, so this was taken into account in all of the necessary crash tests. I was surprised when I recently saw a 1996 prototype ML being equipped with the 3rd row in the static A-pillar loading rollover test. I did not realise prior to this, that the seats had been taken into account this far back. Even the taillamp shape had not been developed at this point and the vehicle was fitted with generic taillamps.

    In the pictures below, this '99 ML320 was rear ended at a high rate of speed by an 18 wheeler tractor. It was not a straight on collision and actually offset more to the passenger's side. Because of the height of the truck, the damage on the right side C and D-pillars is very evident especially with the tailgate removed. It is also because of the offset nature of the accident that the passenger side rear fender and roof suffered significantly more damage, with the last frame cross member (i.e. the rear bumper) pushed within a couple of inches of the right rear tire. As you can see, as I have described above, the rear end portion of the frame crumpled in an inverted "V" formation, rather than like an accordian. The spare tire carrier broke away to redirect energy.

    The vehicle actually still ran and drove in its present condition in the junkyard.



  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Thank you for sharing them with us.

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accesories message boards
  • srirsrir Posts: 1
    Does the $1500 below MSRP include the advertising fee($600)?

    What is the pricing for 2001 models now-a-days. I have seen posts talking about $1500 below invoice. Has anyone got a better deal than this?
  • mtsangmtsang Posts: 70
    Like others, I didn't care for the looks of the '02 ML320 wheels after seeing pix of it on the MB sites. However, after seeing the close-up shot of the wheels (that Jack posted), I LIKE them. I like the details and the polished chrome on brushed alumimum MB insignia at the center.

    Additionally, I noticed in the pic that adhesive weight on the inside of the wheel is used. I wonder if they'll do this for all '02 320 wheels?

    Thanks Jack, for taking the time and trouble to share the pix!!!
  • rockypaulrockypaul Posts: 104
    If Drew's pics do not convince you on the superiority of the ML try this:
    crawl under each vehicle and decide which is more substantial and a better value.
    Also, on gas mileage, my '99 320 with 32,000 mi. has averaged 21 mpg in all types of severe weather.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Nice photos (well, not for the owners of those vehicles!). You don't happen to have crash-test photos with the seats in the folded-up-to-the-side-position, do you (you always seem to have the photos!). Just curious because the arrangement is relatively unusual.

    BTW, where does the CD changer go with the third row seats installed?

    Yes, MB definitely does go the extra mile for safety, no doubt about it.
  • rs64rs64 Posts: 64
    The CD changer goes in the rear passenger side -
    side compartment. It hinges out when the panel is removed. The driver side compartment has the first aid kit.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Okay, my next curiousity item. We all know that the BMW X5 edged out the ML in the IIHS crash test (though we all know that the ML beats the BMW in other safety areas).

    (Of course, the BMW is such a freak of a vehicle ...)

    I don't think MB is the type of company to take this laying down. Any word on whether or not the 2002's have some improvements to "correct" matters, and whether they're asking IIHS for a retest? Expensive, I know, but like I said, MB seems too proud of its safety (justifably so) to be beaten out.

  • mchwemchwe Posts: 23
    great posts above about the 3rd row seat. we want this, but i haven't been able to see pictures of the 3rd row (even at the dealer!).

    question: is the 3rd row easy to get into, and which way do you get into it? from the tailgate, or do you have to fold down one of the second row?

    also, the third row seat in the crash pictures doesn't look like it would split in the middle for the sake of folding. are there different versions of the 3rd row?

    finally, if anyone knows, how quick and easy is it to deploy the 3rd row seats from the folded position? would my fairly petite wife be able to do it easily?

    thanks for everyone's help! it is interesting to me that the ml500 is about $5k less than a e320 wagon: it seems that the m class is so much more car for the money, even if fit/finish are not as plush.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    FWIW, the pictures were just to illustrate my explanation + the crumple zone design and not so much to convince anyone that it's superior. MB does seem to test for a good number of contingencies (within limits of course). FWIW also, Saab has one intesting rear end collision test. They drop a huge pendulem (think wrecking ball) and smash it into the back of the vehicle. I didn't really take that seriously till I actually saw the crash footage of the 9-5.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    No, I don't have any salvage yard pictures of MLs with the seats folded to the sides. From my observations, most owners either leave them deployed, or they simply fold down the seatback(s).

    The arrangement is not so uncommon actually. I believe that the Toyota Land Cruiser's 3rd row folds up to the sides, as did the Toyota Previa's. From what I have seen of another Town Hall participant's pictures, for the Isuzu Troopers outside of N.America, the optional 3rd row also splits and folds to the sides.

    The CD changer goes into the same spot, which is the hidden panel on the right side cargo area wall. The right seatback does have to be tilted forward so that the changer can swing out. With the in-dash CD player available, most people seem to go for that nowadays I think, with the CD changer used for longer vacations (for a maximum of 7 discs).

    I am not aware of any structural changes for the '02 MLs, as such I doubt that MB is going to ask for an IIHS retest. The platform is still the same, even though a few structural elements were added for MY2000 for better crashworthiness. The next generation ML will, of course, be better than the current model. That is the benefit of purchasing something which is the latest design.
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