Members of the press gathered recently at the Nasser Bin Khaled showroom to get an up-close feel of the Third generation Mercedes-Benz M Class which was recently unveiled at the 2012 Qatar International Motor Show. The new ML brings together unparalleled standards in performance, looks, safety and fuel efficiency.
Khaled Shaa’ban, General Manager of NBK Automobiles who said: “From the moment we unveiled the new ML Class at the Qatar International Motor Show 2012, we saw considerable interest in this fantastic vehicle which combines, beautifully, the essence of luxury with the high performance a rugged driving experience requires. The new ML Class is, in all meaning of the word, a generation ahead taking the SUV experience to an entirely new level.”
The new generation ML is instantly recognisable as an M-Class by its characteristic body design with the hallmark C-pillar shape. It combines high levels of design, appeal and ease of use to create a powerful presence. The front of the vehicle is dominated by the powerfully self-confident design of the radiator grille with its centrally positioned Mercedes star, giving it that typical M-Class look. Seen from the side, the elongated lines give formal emphasis to the on-road credentials of this vehicle, whose compact proportions are defined by a large wheelbase and short overhangs.
The C-pillar that is so characteristic of this model series takes its cue from earlier generations of the M-Class and differentiates it very clearly in stylistic terms from its competitors. At the same time, the way the roof line slopes down to the rear underlines the sporty appeal of the new M-Class. This, together with the similarly wrap-around effect of the two-part rear light unit with LED fibre-optic technology, and the lowered roof with its large roof spoiler, add up to an overall harmonious design.
The rear bumper, which features an integrated chrome-effect load sill guard in a new “wing design”, defines the characteristic appearance of the SUV’s rear end. The available wheels range from light and aerodynamically optimised 43.2 cm (17-inch) wheels through to 50.8 cm (20‑inch) wheels with an elegant, high-quality appeal. As an option, 53.3 cm (21‑inch) AMG wheels can be fitted to emphasise the sporty look of the new M‑Class.
The interior design concept clearly combines an authentic SUV experience with a sense of wellbeing that is usually the reserve of top-class Mercedes-Benz saloons. While an expressive dome shape embodies the power of an SUV, the gently sloping contours of the dashboard in the front passenger area afford an outstanding sense of space, thereby highlighting the vehicle’s suitability for long journeys.
The spacious, bright interior offers substantial elbow room thus enhancing spaciousness. Eye-catching features on the dashboard include a large trim element that matches the trim used for the doors and therefore creates a harmonious wrap-around effect. The seats in the new M-Class have been designed to offer high long-distance comfort and optimum lateral support. All of the key settings can be adjusted electrically.
New features include rear seat backrests adjustable for angle and the through-loading feature via the armrest for transporting skis. Folding both backrests as well as the seat cushions forward creates a level load compartment with a capacity of 2010 litres up to the roof lining – a record in this segment.
The new M-Class comes as standard with the Audio 20 CD system, which comprises a radio with twin-tuner, a colour display with a 14.7 cm screen diagonal, an MP3/WMA/AAC-compatible CD player, a USB interface with CD Cover Art display, an AUX-IN socket in the centre armrest and a telephone keypad. The Bluetooth interface also allows hands-free telephony and Audio Streaming for the transfer of music.
One of the particularly interesting features on offer is the Becker® MAP PILOT, a fully integrated navigation module. The COMAND Online multimedia system with a high-resolution 17.8 cm colour display provides internet access in the M-Class for the first time. Customers can either browse freely when the vehicle is at a standstill or use a Mercedes-Benz App with pages that load extremely quickly and are also easy to use when the vehicle is on the move. As an option, COMAND Online is available with a 6-disc DVD‑changer. This system’s standard features include Speed Limit Assist, which recognises traffic signs and displays them in the instrument cluster.
The third generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class scores particularly highly on outstanding energy efficiency and on average the new model range consumes 25 percent less fuel than the previous models. One true champion in terms of fuel consumption is the ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC, which boasts an NEDC consumption of just 6.0 l/100 km (158 g CO2/km) and has a range of up to 1500 kilometres on a full tank.
Further strengths of the premium SUV with permanent all-wheel drive include exceptional safety and well-balanced ride comfort as well as excellent driving dynamics both on and off the road. What’s more, the ML features an array of new chassis developments and innovative dynamic handling control systems which further enhance both driving enjoyment and handling safety. A characteristic body design and a variable interior with a high wellness factor add to the richness of the driving experience in the new M-Class.
When it comes to performance, the ML 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY petrol-engine model is earmarked with the BlueDIRECT engine generation features. The key here is the third-generation direct petrol injection system with spray-guided combustion and new piezo injectors that have an injection pressure of 200 bar, together with multi-spark ignition (MSI) and a new stratified combustion process.
The range calculated for a full tank of fuel is particularly impressive. With an NEDC consumption of 6.0 l/100 km, the ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC with the standard 70-litre tank can cover around 1170 kilometres before needing to stop for fuel. If the vehicle is fitted with the optional 93-litre tank, the car can even cover up to 1500 kilometres between refuelling stops.
The excellent fuel economy is underpinned by a comprehensive package of BlueEFFICIENCY measures as well as by this state-of-the-art engineering. In addition to the ECO start/stop function that comes as standard, these measures include the new seven-speed 7G/TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission with a new fuel-economy converter, friction-optimised bearings and a transmission oil thermal management system.
Low-friction axle drives, electric steering, the optimised belt drive with decoupler, the on-demand control of all ancillary components and pumps, and tyres with low rolling resistance also play their part in reducing fuel consumption. What’s more, intelligent lightweight design has stopped the weight from spiralling upwards.
Even the standard version of the new M-Class offers a high level of comfort, dynamic on-road handling and outstanding off-road capabilities. For the first time, the M-Class chassis with steel suspension features selective damping. The driver is assisted by electric steering, which ensures the optimum level of steering assistance for the current driving situation. In addition to this, the SUV impresses with the smallest turning circle in its market segment.
For driving off the beaten track, the ML 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC and ML 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY models are equipped with extensive off-road features as standard, including 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive, 4ETS electronic traction control and an off-road button which activates a special off‑road driving mode. Furthermore, the start-off assist system makes hill starts easier, while the Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) automatically keeps the M‑Class at the speed set using the cruise control stalk.
The optional ON&OFFROAD package for the new M-Class has six driving modes for optimising driving dynamics and handling safety, as the optimum drive system control is provided for an extremely wide range of on-road and off-road operating conditions. The driver can select from one automatic mode, two special off-road modes and three on-road modes using a rotary control in the centre console.
Active roll stabilisation in the form of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM can be optionally combined with both the AIRMATIC air suspension with Adaptive Damping System (ADS) and the ON&OFFROAD package. Further benefits of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM include superb ride comfort both when cornering and driving in a straight line, together with enhanced off-road abilities.
The new M-Class promises relaxed and, therefore, safe driving in all possible conditions. By paying close attention to detail every step of the way, the development engineers in the Mercedes Technology Centre have significantly improved what they call the NVH comfort level (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness).
This is an important factor contributing to the general sense of wellbeing on board, whilst also playing its part in driver-fitness safety, especially on long journeys. The basis for the high level of NVH comfort is provided by the very rigid bodyshell of the M-Class. Further improvements have also been made to the drive system and chassis. This is all topped off by aero-acoustic refinements and the intelligent use of new-style insulation.
In line with the Mercedes-Benz brand philosophy, the new M-Class represents the embodiment of the Mercedes-Benz holistic safety concept of Real Life Safety, which is derived primarily from what happens in a real accident situation. The extremely robust occupant compartment of the M-Class, together with the front and rear deformation zones, forms an effective basis for the occupant protection system.
Up to nine airbags, activated on demand in accordance with the accident type and accident severity, can reduce the loads exerted on the occupants. In addition to active safety systems such as the standard-fit Brake Assist (BAS) or the optional BAS PLUS, which can help to prevent an accident or reduce the severity of an accident, the new M-Class features further enhanced passive-safety measures to help protect pedestrians, including an Active Bonnet as standard.
Both active safety and driver-fitness safety in the new M-Class are further improved by assistance systems that will already be familiar, primarily from the S- and E-Class. The standard equipment package includes the drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST, the anticipatory safety system PRE‑SAFE® and a tyre pressure loss warning system, as well as adaptive brake lights and Brake Assist (BAS). Active assistance systems such as Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist are available as additional equipment options.
The new Mercedes-Benz ML is undoubtedly a true benchmark of its class and is now available at the Nasser Bin Khaled Mercedes-Benz showroom located on Salwa Road.
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