What Changed for 2009:
- Exterior restyling for 2009
- New ML320 BlueTec 50-state diesel model replaces ML320 CDI
- Sportier seating with 4-stage power driver's lumbar support
- Pre-Safe preventive protection system newly standard
- New options include HD Radio and Sirius real-time traffic information
- Optional rear entertainment includes dual 8-inch screens
- Most models get new 19-inch alloy wheels
Mercedes-Benz launched the first-generation M-Class as a 1998 model: a 5-passenger vehicle generally acknowledged as the first premium sport utility vehicle (SUV) to market. The M-Class was built on a truck-like 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 like a passenger car 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 For 2008, the ML500 model was superseded by the ML550.
For 2009, a new 50-state ML320 BlueTec diesel-engine model replaces the former ML320 CDI diesel. The freshened exterior restyling of the M-Class includes a larger, lower grille, bigger mirrors, modified headlights, wider back bumper with insert reflectors, and new stainless steel skid plates that wrap around dual exhaust outlets. Mercedes-Benz also promotes the improved sport seats within the cabin with their 4-stage power lumbar support for the driver. The 4-spoke steering wheel includes gearshift paddles for manual transmission control and the door panels now feature upholstered center panels. A new COMAND system includes a 6.5-inch display screen, in-dash 6-CD/DVD changer, and Bluetooth connectivity. All M-Class models are manufactured in Alabama.
Mercedes-Benz offers four different M-Class models for 2009. The range includes the economy-oriented, and new for 2009, diesel-powered ML320 BlueTec to the sporty AMG-tuned ML63. The middle range models include the ML350 with a 3.5-liter V-6, and the ML550 with a 5.5-liter V-8 engine. All M-Class models for 2009 have standard 4Matic full-time AWD. While all share the same unibody chassis and 5-passenger seating configuration, the various model numbers distinguish both engine displacement and equipment levels. New 19-inch, 5-spoke wheels are mounted on most models, while the ML63 AMG gets 20-inch wheels. Available rear-seat entertainment includes twin 8-inch screens, wireless headphones, and an integrated DVD player with dual-source capability.
The 6-cylinder diesel ML320 BlueTec 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, in-dash 6-CD/MP3 changer, Tele Aid assistance, sunroof, and a SmartKey remote. Run-flat tires are standard on the ML320 BlueTec. The 8-cylinder ML550 adds heated front seats, running boards, and 255/50R19 tires. The range-topping, 8-cylinder ML63 AMG adds 10-way power seats, premium leather upholstery, rear climate controls, and adaptive headlights. 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; satellite radio; harman/kardon audio; power rear liftgate; and bi-Xenon curve-illuminating adaptive headlamps. An air suspension and rear-seat entertainment system are also available. HD Radio and Sirius real-time traffic information are newly available for 2009. Additional options include an iPod/MP3 interface, hard-drive for navigation and storing 4 gigabytes of music, and Zagat restaurant information. Linguatronic voice-activated control is optional for the first time.
The 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV is available with four different engines, each specific to a particular model. The non-gasoline ML320 BlueTec is equipped with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6 clean diesel engine rated at 210 hp and 398 lb.-ft. of torque (EPA fuel-economy estimates of 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway). Mercedes-Benz promotes the BlueTec's cruising range of up to 600 miles. 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. All M-Class models for 2009 feature Mercedes' 4Motion AWD system.
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/15 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 2009 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.
Mercedes-Benz's Pre-Safe system, standard on 2009 M-Class models, can sense an impending collision before it happens, the manufacturer claims. According to Mercedes, it can then take measures to protect occupants. That includes tightening front seat belts, and moving the front passenger seat to the position that offers the best protection. Side windows will close and, if an impending rollover is sensed, the sunroof closes automatically.
The Mercedes-Benz M-Class has been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It earned 5 stars (the agency's highest rating) for both front-impact and side-impact crash protection, and a 4-star rating for rollover protection. In separate testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2009 M-Class has earned \"Good\" ratings (the Institute's highest score) for both frontal and side impacts.
The new BlueTec diesel system featured on the 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTec includes an oxidation catalyst and a no-maintenance particulate filter. A NOx storage converter combines with an SCR catalytic converter to reduce NOx emissions. An AdBlue system injects an aqueous urea solution into the exhaust flow, releasing ammonia that reduces NOx to nitrogen and water. The system injects the proper amount of AdBlue, according to engine load and speed. According to the manufacturer, the AdBlue tank must be refilled approximately every 10,000 miles by the dealer.
Tele Aid is a hands-free wireless telemetric system offered on the 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class. With the push of a button, driver and passengers are able to summon help in an emergency, contact roadside assistance, or contact a Response Specialist to answer questions. In the event of an air bag or seat belt tensioning device deployment, Tele Aid will immediately call for