2000 M-Class New Car Test Drive
The M-Class is the Mercedes-Benz of sport-utility vehicles. It delivers an excellent balance of the rugged looks, room, security and utility that SUV buyers seek.
Some 4X4 trucks offer rugged-terrain tires and greater ground clearance than the M-Class, but they behave like trucks on the highway. Other sport-utilities, such as the Lexus RS 300, feel more car-like than the M-Class on pavement, but offer limited off-road capability.
Three models are available: $35,300 ML320, $43,750 ML430 and $64,900 ML55. The ML320 comes with a 3.2-liter V6, while the ML430 comes with a 268-horsepower overhead-cam 4.3-liter V8. The limited-production ML55 AMG comes with a 342-horsepower 5.5-liter V8.
The M-Class comes standard with dual front airbags, side-impact airbags that deploy from the front seats, seatbelt pretensioners and automatic belt force limiters. A child-seat recognition system prevents deployment of the front passenger airbags when an appropriate child safety seat is installed.