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2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Trims

ML350 4MATIC

Avg. Price: $43,948

A brand new look, inside and out, as well as a bunch of added amenities, including upgraded switchgear, upholstery choices and performance parameters, all come together nicely in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4MATIC.

The base trim of a traditionally luxury-toting lineup, this midsize SUV sports seating for 5, 5 doors, standard full-time all-wheel drive (AWD), and some 71 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. It also sports 19-inch alloy wheels, skid plates, a roof rack, a power sunroof, heated power-adjustable mirrors and a power rear liftgate outside, with leatherette upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, power door locks and windows, and dual-zone auto climate control adorning the inside. Leather, wood and alloy cabin accents work well with the front and rear floor mats, while the leather and alloy telescoping and tilting steering wheel boasts audio and cruise controls, as well as paddle shifters.

A universal remote garage door opener is complemented by Bluetooth/mbrace hands-free communications, and the 100-watt audio system is managed by Mercedes’ COMAND system, with touchscreen DVD-capable display. Look for a single-CD player, 8 speakers, a USB port and a memory card slot to round out the entertainment and communications suite.

Options for the entry-level ML350 4MATIC include the Premium One and Premium Two packages with a rear-view camera, power-folding mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors, a power-adjustable telescoping and tilting steering wheel, satellite radio, navigation, an upgraded premium stereo, keyless ignition and entry and ambient cabin illumination. Standalone options, meantime, include rear-seat DVD entertainment, tri-zone climate control, heated rear seats and a fixed panoramic rear sunroof.

Powering this entry-level M-Class trim is a well-wrought 3.5-liter variable-valve-timed (VVT) V6 that puts out 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque under the management of the standard 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission. Mileage is pegged at 17 mpg city/22 highway, and the AWD system splits power 50/50 to the front and rear axles in normal cruising and diverts torque from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip when things get slippery.

Standard safety features, finally, include 4-wheel antilock brakes with PreSafe emergency pre-braking that can be upgraded with optional adaptive cruise control. Of course, traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, a driver’s side knee airbag and active front headrests remain standard, as do turn-signal-integrated mirrors, daytime running lights and front fog/driving lights, along with M-B’s mbrace emergency communications and stolen vehicle recovery technology, and a remote antitheft alarm. Optional safety equipment, meantime, includes the Lane Tracking Package with lane departure and blind-spot warnings, as well as an available night vision camera, high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights and Active Park Assist.

ML350 BlueTEC

Avg. Price: $46,452

With turbodiesel power and efficiency as well as standard full-time all-wheel drive (AWD), the 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 BlueTEC offers a boatload of luxury, utility, economy and style. Totally reworked for 2012, this 5-passenger midsize sport ute boasts 71 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seatbacks folded, along with such exterior enhancements as 19-inch alloy wheels, skid plates, a power sunroof, a roof rack, heated power-adjustable mirrors and a power rear liftgate. On the inside, look for leatherette upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, remote power door locks and power windows, all surrounded by wood, leather and alloy cabin trim accents and a leather and alloy steering wheel.

Cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a universal garage door opener represent some of the more notable convenience doodads, with dual-zone auto climate control seeing to everyone’s comfort. Bluetooth hands-free communications interfaced with Mercedes’ mbrace technology is standard, as is a 100-watt stereo that’s under the management of M-B’s COMAND system and flaunts a large touchscreen display, a single-CD player, 8 speakers, a memory card slot and a USB port.

Despite this plethora of standard goodies, the 2012 M-Class ML350 BlueTEC also offers such available extras as the Premium 1 and Premium 2 packages. These popular bundles boast a rear-view camera, power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors, power-adjustable telescoping tilt-wheel steering, satellite radio and a hard-drive-based navigation suite, along with keyless entry and ignition and a premium 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with Surround Sound. Standalone options, meanwhile, include a fixed panoramic rear sunroof, a night vision camera (allowing added forward vision capability at night), tri-zone climate control, heated rear seats, cooled front seats, rear-seat DVD entertainment and, for those challenging parallel-parking chores, Active Park Assist.

A torque-laden and efficient 3.0-liter V6 engine is mated with the ubiquitous 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission to give this high-end ute 240 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. Mileage is estimated at an admirable 20 mpg city/27 highway, and the full-time AWD system allows a 50/50 torque split to both axles in normal driving and instantaneous transfer of torque from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip when road conditions deteriorate.

Noteworthy standard safety equipment aboard the 2012 M-Class ML350 BlueTEC includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS) with Mercedes’ PreSafe emergency braking assist that can be equipped with optional adaptive cruise control. Traction and stability control, of course, come standard, along with front side-mounted airbags, a driver’s side knee airbag, front and rear head airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. Further safety features include front fog/driving lights, daytime running lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, a post-collision safety system, mbrace emergency telecommunications and stolen vehicle recovery assistance and a remote antitheft alarm. Optional safety equipment, finally, includes the Lane Tracking Package with lane departure warnings and blind-spot alerts, and high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights.

ML550

Avg. Price: $54,302

As the midlevel trim of Mercedes-Benz’s luxury-laden and reworked M-Class midsize SUV lineup, the 2012 M-Class ML550 4MATIC offers a ton of plush appointments, standard full-time all-wheel drive (AWD), turbocharged V8 power and 71 cubic feet of cargo area with the rear seats folded.

The new-look profile flaunts 19-inch alloy wheels, a power-opening liftgate, a power sunroof, a roof rack, step running boards, a trailer hitch and heated power-adjustable mirrors. Inside, this classy ute boasts leatherette upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, remote power door locks, power windows, a leather and alloy steering wheel, and leather, wood and alloy interior trim accents. Cruise control is, of course, standard, as are telescoping tilt-wheel steering, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a universal remote garage door opener. Dual-zone auto climate control, meantime, complements a 100-watt audio system that boasts an MP3-capable single-CD player, 8 speakers, a memory card slot and a USB connection, all managed by M-B’s touted COMAND system with its DVD-capable color touchscreen display. Finally, Mercedes’ mbrace telecommunications system is interfaced with Bluetooth hands-free technology.

Options for the midlevel M-Class ML550 4MATIC include the Premium 1 and Premium 2 packages with a rear-view camera, power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors, power-adjustable telescoping tilt-wheel steering, satellite radio, a hard-drive-based navigation suite, remote keyless entry/ignition and Harman Kardon premium audio with 14 Surround-Sound-capable speakers. Standalone options, meantime, include rear-seat DVD entertainment, heated rear seats, tri-zone auto climate control, cooled front seats, a night vision camera for better forward-looking night vision capability and Active Park Assist for professional-grade parallel-parking maneuvers.

Powering this midlevel trim is a variable-valve-timed (VVT), 402-hp twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 engine. Mated with the standard 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission, this medium-sized V8 pounds out 443 lb-ft of torque to the tune of 15 mpg city/20 highway. Meantime, the full-time AWD system sends torque to both axles at a 50/50 split, and stands ready to divert power instantaneously from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip when road conditions warrant.

Finally, standard safety features aboard the 2012 M-Class ML550 4MATIC include 4-wheel antilock brakes with M-B’s vaunted PreSafe emergency braking system (available with optional adaptive cruise control), traction and stability control, front and rear side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, and active front headrests. Further standard safety equipment includes front fog/driving lights, daytime running lights, a post-collision safety system, mbrace emergency communications and stolen vehicle recovery assistance, and a remote antitheft alarm. The available Lane Tracking Package can also be added to provide lane departure warning and blind-spot alerts, and high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights also remain optional.

ML63 AMG

7 national listings
Avg. Price: $80,460

Straight out of Mercedes-Benz’s vaunted racing division, the luxury-laden, super potent, sport-oriented 2013 M-Class ML63 AMG offers midsize SUV utility in a track-ready 5-seat people hauler. Look for standard full-time all-wheel drive (AWD), as well as twin-turbo V8 power in this flagship trim, with some 71 cubic feet of cargo area (with the rear seatbacks folded) on tap for any high-speed home-building needs.

With its standard 518-hp twin-turbo V8 powerplant, this screamer flaunts 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, all under the auspices of the standard 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission. With fuel-saving variable valve timing (VVT), expect 15 mpg city/25 highway from this big rig, while towing capacity with the standard trailer hitch is maxed out at 7,200 pounds. The full-time AWD system, meantime, allows a 50/50 torque split between the front and rear axles in normal driving conditions, with instantaneous transfer of torque from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip when the going gets sloppy. Finally, this flagship trim boasts standard engine stop/start technology for some marginal added fuel savings.

Outside, the 2012 M-Class ML63 AMG boasts 20-inch AMG-styled alloy wheels, a power sunroof, power rear liftgate, skid plates, a roof rack, step running boards and heated power-adjustable mirrors. Inside, look for premium leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable sport front seats, memory for driver's settings, remote power door locks, power windows and unique AMG-themed leather, wood and alloy cabin accent pieces.

Cruise control, a telescoping and tilting steering wheel with mounted paddle shifters, a universal remote garage door opener, a rear-view camera, and front and rear parking sensors mean ultra convenience, while dual-zone auto climate control and Bluetooth hands-free technology via Mercedes’ touted mbrace system allow everyone to stay cool and in touch.

As a further indication that this ute is a cut above not only its siblings, but its lesser rivals, a standard COMAND-controlled Harman Kardon premium audio system flaunts 850 watts, an MP3-capable 6-CD changer, 14 speakers, Surround Sound, satellite radio, a memory card slot, a large DVD-capable touchscreen display and a USB connection.

One of the more popular options in this posh and potent people-hauler is the AMG Performance Package, with its amped-up powerplant capable of 550 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque for a top speed of 174 mph. This power-oriented package also flaunts red painted calipers and an AMG-labeled sport steering wheel, not to mention a carbon fiber engine cover. A Piano Black wood lacquer cabin accent upgrade is another option choice, as is rear-seat DVD entertainment, a night-vision-enhancing camera system and Active Park Assist for those challenging parallel-parking duties. Tri-zone climate control, heated rear seats, power-adjustable tilt-wheel steering and cooled front seats, meantime, can also be added to this already posh-packing potentate.

Standard safety equipment of note aboard the top-shelf 2012 M-Class ML63 AMG includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS) with PreSafe emergency braking response that can be upgraded with optional adaptive cruise control. Then there’s traction and stability control, front and rear side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, a driver’s side knee airbag and active front headrests, all of which also come standard. Daytime running lights are delivered in this flagship trim, as are front fog/driving lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, mbrace emergency communications and stolen vehicle recovery assistance, and adaptive high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights. The Lane Tracking Package that’s optional for the three lower trims is standard on the ML63 AMG and includes lane departure warnings and blind-spot alerts.