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Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Mercedes-Benz ML350.jpg
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Parent company Daimler AG
Production 1997–present
Class Mid-size SUV (W163)
Mid-size Crossover SUV (W164)
Body style(s) 4-door SUV
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive/four-wheel drive

The Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a luxury mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV), first offered in 1997 as a 1998 model, and built by the German automaker Mercedes-Benz. Gradually, the M-Class became a sales success in the United States and Mexico. In terms of size, it is slotted in between the smaller GLK-Class (based on the C-Class) and the larger GL-Class, with which it shares platforms. For a short time, between the years 1999 to 2002, the M class was also built by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, for the European market, until it moved to part of the U.S. market.

W163 (1997–2005)

1998-2001 Mercedes-Benz ML 320 (W163) wagon 03.jpg
Production 1997–2005
Assembly Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Graz, Austria (1999–2002)
Class Mid-size Luxury SUV
Platform Mercedes-Benz W163
Engine(s) 2.3 L I4 (150 hp only manual)
2.7 L I5 (Diesel)
3.2 L V6
3.7 L V6
4.3 L V8
5.0 L V8
5.4 L V8
Transmission(s) 5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 111.0 in (2819 mm)
Length 1998–2002: 180.6 in (4587 mm)
AMG: 182.5 in (4636 mm)
2003–05: 182.6 in (4638 mm)
Width 1998–2002: 72.2 in (1834 mm)
AMG: 74.6 in (1895 mm)
2003–05: 72.4 in (1839 mm)
Height 1998–2002: 69.9 in (1775 mm)
AMG: 69.3 in (1760 mm)
2003–05: 71.7 in (1821 mm)
Curb weight 4,614 lb (2,093 kg)

The Mercedes-Benz W163 M-Class SUV was introduced in 1997 for the 1998 model year. It is a midsized body-on-frame suv with seating for 5 or 7 with an optional third-row seat. The M-Class was the first luxury SUV to feature stability control, a system designed to detect loss of control and instantaneously intervene with selective braking to bring the vehicle back on its intended course. This system is now hailed by safety experts, and studies have shown stability control and systems like it are capable of reducing single vehicle crashes by up to 30 percent. Furthermore, the M-Class boasted front- and side-impact airbags with advanced occupant detection for the front passenger seat, which, combined with Mercedes' legendary safety structure, earned the M-Class the highest marks in insurance industry crash tests.

Facelifted Mercedes-Benz ML (W163; Europe)

The W163 series ML-Class was released in the US as a 1998 model as the ML320. Later, in 1999 a V8 option became available with the familiar Mercedes-Benz 4.3 Liter V8 under the hood.

A road test on the BBC programme Top Gear revealed that the presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, could put his fingers into the gap below the rear lights and above the rear bumper. This improved over the years, especially after a mild facelift for 2002. However, owners are often unhappy with the car's quality — for example, the car was placed last out of 142 cars in the Top Gear Motoring Survey 2004. DaimlerChrysler spent US$600 million on improvements at the Alabama factory before launching the second-generation ML in 2005.

2001–2005 Mercedes-Benz ML 500 (W163) Luxury (Australia)

Before the vehicle was launched, Mercedes-Benz allowed the producers to use two pre-production M-Class SUVs in the film The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and used the vehicle's appearance in the film as a way to advertise it when it was launched. As a result, a Mercedes-Benz ad appears before the film on original VHS copies of the film. Jeff Goldblum, the star of the film, received one for free from Mercedes-Benz as a result of the tie-in.

Major model variants have included the ML320, ML350, ML430, ML500,and the ML55, along with the 4-cylinder ML230 and the turbodiesel ML270 CDI and ML400 CDI in Europe. The ML55, or ML55 AMG, featured a V8 engine made by AMG, modified body-work, and other performance features. The ML350 replaced the ML320 as the base model in the United States in 2004, although the ML320 CDI is sold in states where emissions regulations allow.

The M-Class was Motor Trend magazine's Truck of the Year for 1998. The ML320 was voted the 1998 North American Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, in January 1998.

The current Popemobile is based on a W163 ML430 and has been in service since July 2002.[1] VW had offered to build a new vehicle based on the Touareg, but Pope Benedict XVI opted to continue using his predecessor's Mercedes-Benz-manufactured vehicle.[2]

W164 (2005–present)

2005-2008 Mercedes-Benz ML 320 CDI (W164) wagon 01.jpg
Production 2005–present
Assembly Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Santiago Tianguistenco, Mexico
Class Mid-size Luxury Crossover SUV
Platform Mercedes-Benz W164
Engine(s) 3.5 L V6
5.0 L V8
4.6 L V8
5.5 L V8
6.2 L V8
3.0 L V6 diesel
4.0 L V8 diesel
Transmission(s) 7-speed automatic
Hybrid: CVT
Wheelbase 114.7 in (2913 mm)
Length 4788 mm (188.5 in)
AMG: 189.8 in (4821 mm)
Hybrid: 188.2 in (4780 mm)
Width 1910 mm (75.2 in)
AMG: 76.8 in (1951 mm)
Hybrid: 77.8 in (1976 mm)
Height 1815 mm (71.5 in)
AMG: 73.3 in (1862 mm)
Curb weight 2150 kg (4740 lb)
Fuel capacity 25.1 US gal (95 L/21 imp gal)
Related Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Dodge Durango

The redesigned M-class (chassis name W164) was introduced in April 2005 as a 2006 model after a showing at the North American International Auto Show in January. It was almost entirely new, with a more sporting, aerodynamic look—the coefficient of drag is down to 0.34. Mercedes-Benz has also made the new M-Class larger, measuring 150 mm longer than the first model. The M-Class was named "Best New Sport Utility Vehicle" in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year awards.

Mercedes-Benz extensively publicized the US$600 million spent to update its factory and add manufacturing space for the new R-Class. According to early automotive press reports, the 2006 M-Class vehicles demonstrate vast improvements in quality.

The W164 platform used for the new M-Class is shared with the new GL-Class and is a unibody type rather than the former (W163) body-on-frame used by the M-Class vehicles produced from 1998–2005. The X164 GL-CLass, a longer seven-seater version of the W164 platform, is also available.

New features in the 2006 M-Class include the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission, optional Active Curve-Illuminating Bi-Xenon headlights which "steer" in the path of the vehicle, and an adjustable-height air suspension. The manual transmission has been dropped.

4-valve engines are replacing the previous 3-valve SOHC V6 and current 3-valve V8:

  • ML350 – 3.5 L 4-valve V6, 272Hp(258 ft·lbf)
  • ML500 – 5.0 L 3-valve V8, 302HP
  • ML500 (ML550 for North America) – 5.5 L 4-valve V8, 382HP(550 N·m)
  • ML63 AMG – 6.2 L 4-valve V8, 510HP (370 kW)
  • ML300 CDI – 3.0 L V6 Turbo Diesel, 190.4HP (325 ft·lbf)
  • ML350 CDI – 3.0 L V6 Turbo Diesel, 224HP (376 ft·lbf)
  • ML450 CDI – 4.0 L V8 Diesel, 306HP (700 N·m)

Models using Bluetec Diesel engine with urea injection were introduced in 2008 for the 2009 model year.


The AMG version of the W164, the ML63 AMG, was introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show as a limited edition 2007 model. It features a 6.2 L M156 V8 engine producing 510 hp (380 kW) and 465 lb·ft (630 N·m) that is handcrafted in Germany. The engine is added to an AMG Speedshift 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission. The 2006 ML63 AMG can accelerate from 0–60 mph (96 km/h) in just 4.8 seconds, or from 0–62 mph (100 km/h) in just 5.0 seconds. These impressive features made the ML 63 AMG the most powerful naturally aspırated V8 SUV in the world.[3]


The 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class got a minor face-lift as it debuted at the 2008 New York International Auto Show.

This face-lift includes new front headlights, redesigned front and rear bumpers, new exterior mirrors, new rim choices, a larger front grille, restyled interior, and a new ML 420 CDI engine choice. The ML 280 CDI became the ML 300 CDI, the 320 CDI the 350 CDI, and the 420 CDI became the 450 CDI.

ML450 Hybrid

2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid

At the 2009 New York International Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz showed their ML450 Hybrid SUV, which was announced on April 8, 2009. The ML450 Hybrid consumes almost 50% less fuel than the ML550 does, even though it produces over 90% of the power generated by the V8 model. Total power generated will be 335 hp (250 kW) and 381 lb·ft (517 N·m) of torque, while getting 24 mpg-US (9.8 L/100 km/29 mpg-imp) on the highway and 21 mpg-US (11 L/100 km/25 mpg-imp) in the city, according to United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates. The engine itself runs on the Atkinson cycle and by itself makes 275 hp.[4] The ML 450 was developed under the Global Hybrid Cooperation, and will only be available in the United States under lease. For the 2012 model year the Mercedes Benz ML lineup will be completely redesigned, final versions of the vehicle have not been released but have been speculated for sale in Fall 2011.[5][6] It also comes with a continuously variable transmission.[citation needed]



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