2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

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14 CITY / 19 HWY
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What Changed for 2008:
  • New ML550 model
Mercedes-Benz launched the first-generation M-Class as a 1998 model: a 5-passenger model generally acknowledged as the first premium sport utility vehicle (SUV) to market. The M-Class was built on a body-on-frame chassis, with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system to offer equal performance on- and off-road. Advanced safety features included stability control and side-impact air bags.

The second-generation M-Class was introduced as a 2006 model. Built on a new unibody platform (shared with the larger GL-Class), the now larger and more stylish M-Class boasted improved build quality, handling and performance compared to the model it replaced. For 2008, the ML500 model has been superseded by the ML550.

Model Lineup
Mercedes-Benz offers four different M-Class models for 2008. They range from the diesel-powered ML320 CDI to the sporty AMG-tuned ML63. While all share the same unibody chassis, 5-passenger seating configuration and 4Matic full-time AWD, the various model numbers distinguish both engine displacement and equipment levels.

The 6-cylinder diesel ML320 CDI and the 6-cylinder gasoline ML350 both offer similar standard equipment such as full power accessories, dual-zone climate control, 8-way power seats, 19-inch wheels, and a SmartKey remote. The 8-cylinder ML550 adds standard leather upholstery; heated seats; 3-zone climate control; a harman/kardon LOGIC7 digital audio system; 19-inch, 5-spoke wheels; and more. The range-topping, 8-cylinder ML63 AMG adds 10-way power seats and premium leather upholstery. The exterior of the AMG model is differentiated by stainless-steel running boards, flared wheel arches, dual quad exhaust tips and 20-inch AMG 5-spoke alloy wheels.

Major options include several premium packages containing DVD navigation; rearview camera; Sirius satellite radio; bi-Xenon, curve-illuminating headlamps; and skid plates. An Adaptive Dampening System (ADSII), Keyless Go, air suspension, rear-seat entertainment system, and Distronic cruise control are also available on some models.

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV is available with four different engines, each specific to a particular model. The non-gasoline ML320 CDI is equipped with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6 diesel engine rated at 215 hp and 398 lb.-ft. of torque (EPA fuel economy estimates of 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway). The gasoline models include the ML350 with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 268 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque (EPA fuel economy estimates of 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway), and the ML550, with a 5.5-liter V-8 engine rated at 382 hp and 391 lb.-ft. of torque (EPA fuel economy estimates of 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway). The standard transmission is an electronically controlled 7-speed automatic.

The high-performance version of the M-Class is the ML63 AMG. Under the hood, an AMG-built, 6.3-liter V-8 engine puts out 503 hp and 465 lb.-ft. of torque (EPA fuel economy estimates of 11 mpg city/14 mpg highway). According to Mercedes, when mated to the standard AMG Speedshift 7-speed automatic transmission, this engine propels the ML63 AMG to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. Mercedes-Benz provides a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty on all M-Class vehicles.

In the 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class, both driver and front passenger are protected by dual-stage front air bags, side-impact air bags, and emergency tensioning 3-point safety belts with height-adjustable shoulder belts. Second-row passengers are provided with side-impact air bags and pre-tensioning seat belts. Window curtain air bags are designed to deploy along the front and side door windows during an accident, or if the system determines a rollover is imminent. The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system is standard on second-row outboard seats. The Mercedes-Benz M-Class has been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2007, it earned 5 stars (the agency's highest rating) for front-impact crash protection and 4 stars for rollover protection.

Tele Aid is a hands-free wireless telemetric system offered on the 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class. With the push of a single button, driver and passengers are able to summon help in the event of an emergency, contact roadside assistance for vehicle help, or contact a Response Specialist to answer questions. The system is also designed to be autonomous: In the event of an air bag or seat belt tensioning device deployment, Tele Aid will immediately call for assistance and send GPS-based vehicle positioning information to the emergency personnel. Depending on the selected service package, Tele Aid can also offer remote door unlocking, alarm notification, stolen vehicle recovery services, and more.

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