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2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Overview

There are few better ways of saying “I’ve made it” than driving up in a brand new, 2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class midsize luxury SUV. This status-laden 5-place quasi-ute totes all the usual Mercedes perks plus 80.3 cubic feet of cargo space and, depending on the trim chosen, turbodiesel power and M-B’s handy 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD). Of course, everyone knows these babies don’t come cheap, so be prepared for the inevitable envy factor from friends and neighbors when you’re toting the family around in this posh and agile yet surprisingly practical sport ute.

Mercedes’ princely people-mover is available in 4 trims, the entry-level ML350, the turbodiesel-powered ML350 BlueTEC, the up-featured ML550 and the track-tested ML63 AMG, this latter a product of M-B’s AMG racing division. Add the German automaker’s touted AWD to the ML350 to get the ML350 4Matic sub-trim, while all other trims tote the 4Matic drivetrain as standard equipment.

For 2014 editions, only a few tweaks to exterior color choices and some minor updates to cabin features follow last year’s addition of the ML350 rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configuration to the trim lineup, while 2013 also saw the debut of available massaging front seats and upgraded Mbrace2 telematics technology.

Thus, the ML350 and its 4Matic stable-mate, as well as the ML350 BlueTEC, return with standard 19-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, power sunroof and power rear liftgate outside, while leatherette upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, alloy and wood interior accents, and full power accessories adorn the cabin. Of course, cruise control is again standard, as are further convenience items like telescoping tilt-wheel steering, a remote garage door opener and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Meanwhile, entertainment, interfaced under M-B’s touted COMAND system, is offered via a 100-watt stereo with 6-CD changer, 8 speakers and a 7-inch touchscreen with DVD monitor, as well as a memory-card slot and a USB port. Oh, and standard Bluetooth hands-free communications are integrated into the COMAND system, too.

Moving up to the ML550, look for things like the addition of standard step running boards, while the ML63 AMG sports 20-inch alloy wheels, premium leather upholstery, sport front seats, a rear-view camera, memory for driver's settings, an 80GB hard-drive-based navigation system and an 830-watt Harman Kardon audio system with 14 Surround Sound speakers and satellite radio.

As well-equipped as the 2014 M-Class lineup is, there are still options offered, like upgraded and upsized wheels, rear-seat DVD entertainment and an upgraded Bang & Olufsen premium audio system with 900 watts of power. Heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and M-B’s smartphone apps, along with cooled cupholders, can also be selected, while a trailer hitch, fixed panoramic sunroof and massaging front seats are also added. A word of warning, however: All these extras can get pricey.

Power and performance, you ask? Once more a peppy 3.5-liter variable-valve-timed (VVT) V6 powerplant mated with the standard 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission drives the ML350 and ML350 4Matic. Look for 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque from this classy combo, while 6,600 pounds of towing capacity remains on tap with the proper equipment. Mileage, meantime, is estimated at 18 mpg city/23 highway burning premium unleaded gasoline.

Stepping up to the ML350 BlueTEC, expect a 240-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine to go with the 7-speed shiftable automatic. Look for 455 lb-ft of torque out of this blown diesel, along with up to 7,200 pounds of towing capacity when properly equipped, while mileage is pegged in the realm of a nifty 20/28.

Next in line, the ML550 flaunts 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque with its standard twin-turbo 4.7-liter VVT V8 engine and accompanying 7-speed shiftable automatic. Be prepared, however for a hefty drop in mileage to 14/20 with this big V8, again burning premium unleaded.

Should a need for speed be in the picture, the ML63 AMG sports a 518-hp twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 that’s managed by M-B’s Speedshift track-oriented 7-speed shiftable automatic for a massive 516 lb-ft of torque. Alas, mileage drops even further to 13/17, with premium unleaded required again, but said mileage stays the same even if the available AMG Performance Package is selected, which bumps this potent powerplant’s output to 550 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque.

Meanwhile, the 4Matic system endowing all but the ML350 boasts, as is traditional, full-time AWD for cornering help and traction in slippery conditions, as well as the ability to instantly transfer torque from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip, front or rear, when surfaces warrant.

Notable standard safety equipment aboard all 2014 M-Class iterations includes 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. Further standard safety features across the lineup include M-B’s self-descriptive Attention Assist, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, pre- and post-collision safety systems, Mbrace2 emergency assistance and a remote antitheft alarm. Add-on-wise, the optional Driver Assist Package features adaptive cruise control and auto high/lo-beam headlights, as well as blind-spot alerts and lane-departure warnings, while the available Parktronic with Active Parking Assist makes parallel parking fairly painless.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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Mercedes-Benz M-Class Questions

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