Base ML350 BlueTEC 4dr All-wheel Drive 4MATIC
2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

MSRP ?

$50,490
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Engine Engine 3.0LV-6
MPG MPG 20 City / 27 Hwy
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2012 M-Class Overview

Getting Deliciously Dirty With Clean Diesel Back in July, our man Bowman got his first chance to drive the new Mercedes M-Class in the wilds of Montana, and he came away particularly impressed by the ML350 BlueTEC 4Matic. It's great news that this updated diesel powertrain finally got to the United States in November, but in Montana, we missed out on the new-generation On&Offroad Package and innovative Active Curve System. Fortunately, we were recently afforded the chance to test all of this goodness over a small paved circuit in Austria, as well as up and down a truly hellacious off-road course. By the end of the day, we were convinced that this ML350 diesel 4x4 thus equipped can finally take it to a similarly optioned BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne. And, as Mercedes Germany tells us, North American buyers will at long last get a crack at this On&Offroad harder-core package for 2013. Are they at risk of messing with the winning on-road recipe that has made the M-Class the world's best-selling premium SUV, with over 1.2 million sold? First off, we just have to say it: We like the looks of this new-for-2012 model a whole lot more than the aging clumpiness of the first two generations. The profile could be more balanced visually, but from every other angle, the new ML is a spot-on looker in what is frankly an aesthetically compromised segment. We first climbed behind the wheel of an ML350 BlueTEC 4Matic without the On&OffRoad package (above in silver), and we can echo what has already been said about this 3.0-liter V6 BlueTEC diesel: It's at the top of its game, and M-Class' revamped air suspension is much more satisfying when either normal cush or sportier seriousness is called for. While 17-inch tires are standard, the optional (and less noisy) 255/50 R19 W Continental ContiSportContact tires are just the right blend for asphalt action. The real new goodness, however, starts when the available Active Curve System is put to work. Active front and rear anti-roll bars actuate instant-to-instant to compensate for lateral g forces, and the added confidence from behind the well-designed steering wheel is clear. As you might imagine, this technology is particularly noticeable when hustling this 4,795-pound bruiser hard through the corners. Off-road, and when selected on road, the ACS can remain "open" – disengaged – to allow for more live axle feel and articulation. Engage it, though, and kinks get straightened out nicely. As to the On&OffRoad Package we finally got to test in a brown-colored ML350 BlueTEC 4Matic, there are six different ride and drivetrain settings. The one most used is certainly Auto, which capably handles almost any daily drive situations. Then there are Sport, Winter and Trailer modes by turning the console knob to the left, and two off-road modes by turning to the right. The first off-road mode is milder and does not involve the low range of gears, though the suspension does raise slightly. The most extreme off-road setting …
Full Review

2012 M-Class Overview

Getting Deliciously Dirty With Clean Diesel Back in July, our man Bowman got his first chance to drive the new Mercedes M-Class in the wilds of Montana, and he came away particularly impressed by the ML350 BlueTEC 4Matic. It's great news that this updated diesel powertrain finally got to the United States in November, but in Montana, we missed out on the new-generation On&Offroad Package and innovative Active Curve System. Fortunately, we were recently afforded the chance to test all of this goodness over a small paved circuit in Austria, as well as up and down a truly hellacious off-road course. By the end of the day, we were convinced that this ML350 diesel 4x4 thus equipped can finally take it to a similarly optioned BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne. And, as Mercedes Germany tells us, North American buyers will at long last get a crack at this On&Offroad harder-core package for 2013. Are they at risk of messing with the winning on-road recipe that has made the M-Class the world's best-selling premium SUV, with over 1.2 million sold? First off, we just have to say it: We like the looks of this new-for-2012 model a whole lot more than the aging clumpiness of the first two generations. The profile could be more balanced visually, but from every other angle, the new ML is a spot-on looker in what is frankly an aesthetically compromised segment. We first climbed behind the wheel of an ML350 BlueTEC 4Matic without the On&OffRoad package (above in silver), and we can echo what has already been said about this 3.0-liter V6 BlueTEC diesel: It's at the top of its game, and M-Class' revamped air suspension is much more satisfying when either normal cush or sportier seriousness is called for. While 17-inch tires are standard, the optional (and less noisy) 255/50 R19 W Continental ContiSportContact tires are just the right blend for asphalt action. The real new goodness, however, starts when the available Active Curve System is put to work. Active front and rear anti-roll bars actuate instant-to-instant to compensate for lateral g forces, and the added confidence from behind the well-designed steering wheel is clear. As you might imagine, this technology is particularly noticeable when hustling this 4,795-pound bruiser hard through the corners. Off-road, and when selected on road, the ACS can remain "open" – disengaged – to allow for more live axle feel and articulation. Engage it, though, and kinks get straightened out nicely. As to the On&OffRoad Package we finally got to test in a brown-colored ML350 BlueTEC 4Matic, there are six different ride and drivetrain settings. The one most used is certainly Auto, which capably handles almost any daily drive situations. Then there are Sport, Winter and Trailer modes by turning the console knob to the left, and two off-road modes by turning to the right. The first off-road mode is milder and does not involve the low range of gears, though the suspension does raise slightly. The most extreme off-road setting …Hide Full Review