The more things change, the more they stay the same. Those are apparently words to live by for Mercedes-Benz – the automaker has released a slew of information on its updated 2012 M-Class, yet the starting price remains the same as the sticker on the 2011 version. The U.S.-built luxury SUV is ready to give more, without charging for it.
Initially offered in two flavors, the gas-sipping ML 350 has a starting MSRP of $49,865 and the diesel-drinking BlueTec ML 350 will cost you $51,365 (*including destination). Both versions of the 2012 M-Class get a new front-end that features the familiar three-pointed star, an encroaching chrome "skid plate" and a set of LED daytime running lights.
Under the hood, each M-Class features an updated power source. The ML 350 is motivate by a new 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 engine, which produces 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Also new is the seven-speed automatic transmission to which the motor pairs. If you prefer diesel to traditional gasoline, the ML 350 BlueTec boasts a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that's rated at 240 horses and an impressive 455 lb-ft of torque. Both M-Class variants come standard with 4Matic all-wheel-drive.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class also benefits from upgrades to its interior. Reading like a Hemingway novel, the list of standard features is quite impressive in length while the available options are equally impressive – especially the iPad docking stations built into the front headrests.
What else is on that list of features? Click past the jump for the full press release, and be sure to take a look at the next-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class in the included gallery.
July 11, 2011 - GREENOUGH, MT
The all-new M-Class SUV makes its on-road debut in the U.S. this week. The 2012 M-Class represents the third generation of a highly successful Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle that began the industry trend toward SUVs with a more car-like ride.
While the dramatically styled 2012 M-Class sits about 3/4-inch lower than the previous model, the new SUV is nearly an inch longer and a half-inch wider. This eye-catching interpretation of a modern SUV makes a strong presence that projects trend-setting design and quality.
Mercedes-Benz begins the 2012 model year with two M-Class models - the thrifty ML350 BlueTEC diesel now has considerably more power (240 horsepower, 455 lb.-ft. of torque), while the popular ML350 4MATIC is equipped with a brand new direct-injection V6 engine (302 hp, 273 lb.-ft.).
A Bold Face
The nose of the 2012 M-Class is dominated by a bold front grille that holds the familiar three-pointed star logo in the center, while a chrome skid plate curves from the front bumper up toward the grille. Bracketing the front grille, newly designed headlights are flush-mounted in the fenders. New LED daytime running lights are recessed in the front bumper.
Sweeping Side Proportions
Its bold proportions are defined by a relatively long wheelbase and short overhangs. The lines along the sides appear stretched, including a high belt line accented with stainless-steel trim, and its roof line slopes down toward the rear, emphasizing the sportiness of the new M-Class. Striking chrome luggage rails run the length of the roof. Reminiscent of previous M-Class models, an angled C-pillar distinguishes the SUV from its competitors.
A Contemporary Cockpit
The dynamic interior design of the new M-Class underscores the spacious width of its new cabin and fosters a sense of well-being with elegant high-quality materials and attention to detail. Interior trim includes wood and aluminum elements with controls in a silver shadow finish. Soothing ambient lighting, which can be switched between 3 different colors, is available as part of the optional Premium 2 package.
A sporty, four-spoke steering wheel frames a hooded twin-gauge instrument cluster. The left gauge houses the analog speedometer and fuel gauge, while a tachometer and coolant temperature gauge are on the right bridged by a 4.5-inch screen that can display a wide range of useful information, including a trip computer and GPS navigation directions.
The steering wheel holds paddles for shifting the transmission manually and multifunction buttons for scrolling through menus on the driver's display. The buttons can also adjust the audio volume, make and take phone calls, or activate the voice control system. Newly-designed stalks on the steering column for turn signals, highbeams, wipers, cruise control and transmission mode make the new SUV easier than ever to drive.
COMAND and Control
Perched at the top center of the dashboard in order to minimize driver distraction, a seven-inch COMAND display is bordered by large swiveling air vents. The new head unit comes with a ten-gigabyte music storage hard drive, SD card slot, and an MP3 compatible CD /DVD player as well as a Bluetooth interface for wireless audio streaming and hands-free phone operation, HD/AM/weatherband radio, an FM phase-diversity twin tuner and a USB port hidden in the storage compartment of the center console.
An optional hard-drive-based GPS navigation system offers many new features, including a 3D display, a compass overlay, dynamic route guidance, the ability to show alternate routes plus the functionality to record routes while driving. Also optional, a Sirius-XM feature can provide real-time traffic and weather information on the navigation map.
The 2012 M-Class line also features a new transmission with a more advanced torque converter lock-up clutch that provides even better fuel mileage, more responsive driving, quieter operation and increased durability. The new transmission is also designed to work best with a new type of low-drag ATF fluid, colored blue instead of the usual red.
302-Horsepower V6 Engine for the ML350 4MATIC
With 302 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, the 3.5-liter V6 engine has 13 percent more power than last year. Assembled in an entirely new block with 60-degree cylinder angles, the latest V6 doesn't need a balance shaft for smooth operation. Like its predecessor, the new engine has aluminum cylinder heads, pistons and cylinder block (with cast-in Silitec cylinders), as well as a crankshaft, connecting roads and valves made of special forged steel.
Direct Fuel Injection
The new V6 engine makes use of industry-leading electronics technology first used on Mercedes-Benz diesels - electronic fuel injectors that spray gasoline directly into the combustion chambers rather than indirect port fuel injection most gasoline engines used in the past. Featuring a piezo-ceramic crystalline element that changes shape instantly when electrical current is applied, blazingly fast piezo injectors make it possible to design very sensitive and precise injection systems, including the ability to program several small injections with each piston stroke.
BlueTEC - A Blueprint For The World's Cleanest Diesels
The ML350 BlueTEC is powered by a purpose-built 3.0-liter V6 diesel, now with 240 horsepower, an astonishing 455 lb.-ft. of torque and 30 percent better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline engine. Using several technologies to minimize diesel exhaust emissions, the ML350 BlueTEC begins with a four-valve-per-cylinder diesel featuring centrally located piezo-electric injectors, CDI direct injection, a variable-nozzle turbocharger and exhaust gas recirculation.
ATTENTION ASSIST Cautions "Time For A Rest?"
Among the many standard life-saving features on the M-Class is the innovative ATTENTION ASSIST system that can alert the driver to the first signs of drowsiness, a factor that causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S. A steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving. Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning, and a "Time for a Rest?" message with a coffee cup icon appears in the instrument cluster.
New iPad® Docking Station
Coinciding with the debut of the new M-Class is the launch of the all new Mercedes-Benz iPad® Docking Station. With this new product, customers are able to utilize their own mobile entertainment. They now have the capability to watch movies, play music, view pictures, play games, surf the Internet, all from the convenience of their own iPad® without having to hold it in their hands while in transit.
The iPad® Docking Station holds the iPad® in place behind the headrests of the front seats, allowing rear occupants to view. For optimum viewing, the iPad® Docking Station can be rotated up to 90 degrees and be tilted, while being charged through the vehicle's electrical system. This product is a perfect fit for the Mercedes-Benz customer and will be available for most Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and Sport Utility Vehicles. This product will be available in September 2011.
2012 ML 350 4Matic
- Power sunroof with express open and close
- Aluminum roof rails*
- Dual-zone automatic climate control with dust filter
- 8-way power front seats w/door-mounted controls & driver 4-way lumbar support*
- Heated front seats*
- CD/ DVD / MP3 /AM/ FM/ Weatherband radio
- HD Radio*
- Bluetooth Audio Streaming*
- 8-speaker sound system with auxiliary input, USB port* and SD card slot
- Bluetooth interface for hands-free calling
- 7" display with central COMAND controller*
- 4-spoke multifunction leather steering wheel with shift paddles
- 4.5" instrument cluster display*
- Front and rear cupholders
- Rain sensing intermittent wipers
- Integrated garage door opener
- Cruise control
- Power windows with express up and down
- Automatic headlamps with twilight sensor & locator lighting
- Trip computer
- Privacy glass
- Retractable Luggage Compartment Cover
- Power Lift Gate*
- Eucalyptus Wood Trim*
- 302 Horsepower @ 6,500 RPM*
- 273 lb-ft of Torque @ 3,500 – 5,250 RPM*
- 7-Speed automatic transmission*
- AGILITY CONTROL Suspension*
- Front suspension: Independent double wishbone with stabilizer bar
- Rear suspension: Independent 4-arm multilink with stabilizer bar
- 1" Twin 5-Spoke Alloy Wheel w/ 255/50 all-season tires
- ATTENTION ASSIST*
- ADAPTIVE BRAKE*
- LED Daytime Running Lamps*
- Fiber Optic / LED Tail Lamps*
- Mercedes-Benz mbrace™
- New vehicle 4-year/50,000 mile warranty
- 24 hr. roadside assistance program
- Owner information kit
- Mercedes-Benz maintenance system
- Steel-reinforced cabin with front & rear crumple zones
- Front & rear outboard seatbelts with pre-tensioners & force limiters
- Dual two stage front airbags
- Side airbags mounted in front seat backrests
- Head protection curtains
- Driver's side knee airbag*
- Rear side airbags
- 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with Brake Assist System
- Electronic Stability Program (ESP®)
- Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR)
- Antitheft alarm with engine immobilizer
- SmartKey with panic button
- Advanced tire pressure monitoring system
Premium 1 Package ($3,600)
- Rearview Camera
- Power folding, auto dimming mirrors
- Driver memory with Power Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column
- COMAND System w/ hard-drive navigation & SIRIUS real-time traffic & weather
- iPod / MP3 Media Interface
- SIRIUS Satellite Radio
- 10GB music register
- Enhanced voice control
- Double sun visors
- 115V AC power outlet
Premium 2 Package ($5,450)
Premium 1 package contents plus:
- Heated & cooled cup holders*
- harman/kardon LOGIC7® Surround-Sound System w/ Dolby Digital 5.1
- Rear storage compartment
- Multi-color Ambient lighting*
Dynamic Handling Package ($5,150)
- Adaptive Damping System
- ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM*
- AIRMATIC Air Suspension
- 20" Twin 5-spoke Alloy Wheel
Lighting Package ($1,290)
- Headlamp cleaning system
- Adaptive Highbeam Assist*
- Bi-Xenon headlamps with active curve illumination
- Corner Illuminating lamps
Lane Tracking Package ($850)
- Blind Spot Assist
- Lane Keeping Assist*
Driver Assistance Package ($2,950)
- DISTRONIC PLUS with PRE-SAFE® Brake*
- Active Blind Spot Assist*
- Active Lane Keeping Assist*
Stand Alone Options
- Full leather seating ($1,620)
- Burl walnut wood trim (TBD)
- PARKTRONIC w/Active Parking Assist* ($970)
- Wood /Leather multifunction steering wheel ($590)
- Power panorama sunroof* ($1,090)
- Heated steering wheel ($225)
- Trailer hitch ($550)
- Stainless steel running boards w/ rubber studs ($670)
- Rear Seat Entertainment System ($1,970)
- Rear Seat Entertainment System Pre-Wiring ($240)
- Heated rear seats ($620)
- KEYLESS-GO ($650)
Special Order Options
- Sport Interior
- 2nd seat row luggage pass through*
- Heated & Active Ventilated Front Seats
- 3-Zone automatic climate control
- Night View Assist*
- Cargo Management System
- MB-Tex wrapped dashboard
- Black Dinamica/MB Tex
- Auburn Brown/Black Leather*
- Almond Beige/Black Leather
- Grey/Black Leather
- Black Premium Leather
- Anthracite Poplar Wood Trim*
- Brown Satin Ash Wood Trim*
- Aluminum Trim*
- Black headliner
Black, Obsidian Black, Capri Blue, Arctic White, Steel Grey, Iridium Silver, Palladium Silver, Pearl Beige*, Dakota Brown*, Diamond White
Black MB-Tex, Almond Beige MB-Tex, Grey MB-Tex, Black Leather, Almond Beige Leather, Grey Leather
*=highlight for 2012MY