2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Press Release) The new Mercedes-Benz M-Class: Champion of
Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development, commented: "The M-Class embodies all the automotive experience that we have accumulated over 125 years and thus represents in short a quantum leap in terms of efficiency, safety, agility, driving enjoyment and design!"
Long-distance runner: high efficiency ensures extensive range
BlueTEC diesel engines
and the new generation of BlueDIRECT petrol engines provide the
basis for the excellent economic efficiency and outstanding
environmental performance of the new M-Class. As far as the diesel
models are concerned, now only available as BlueTEC units with SCR
emissions technology, the focus is firmly on downsizing and on the
new version of the V6 CDI engine.
The ML 350 BlueTEC uses a completely reworked 3.0-litre V6 engine, which also more than meets the EU6 emissions standard and delivers far better performance, yet with considerably reduced fuel consumption. The efficiency improvements have been achieved, above all, through the use of the innovative TWAS (twin-wire-arc spraying) technology already used with great success since 2005 in AMG's high-performance engines. The positive results here have led Mercedes-Benz to adapt this cylinder wall coating technology for use in the V6 diesel engine as well. The process reduces internal friction in the engine significantly. At the same time, the weight has been reduced by 4.3 kg, as there is no longer any need for the grey cast iron cylinder liners that, until now, had to be pressed into the engine block. The benefits are striking: with these measures alone, fuel consumption could be reduced by around 3 percent.
Attention to detail: a fine finish adds efficiency
The excellent fuel economy is underpinned by a comprehensive package of BlueEFFICIENCY measures as well as by this state-of-the-art engineering. In addition to the ECO start/stop function that comes as standard, these measures include the new seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission with a new fuel-economy converter, friction-optimised bearings and a transmission oil thermal management system. Low-friction axle drives, electric steering and tyres with low rolling resistance also play their part in reducing fuel consumption.
The optimised belt drive system with decoupler, together with on-demand control of all ancillary components and pumps, also helps to reduce the energy requirements of the new M-Class. The oil and water pumps in the engine, as well as the fuel pump in the rear section of the vehicle, are only activated according to actual need. The same control logic is used in the THERMATIC and THERMOTRONIC air conditioning systems. In these, the coolant compressor only runs when necessary. A key factor in the diesel engines is also the optimisation that has been undertaken of the flow and counterpressure in the exhaust system with its SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) emission control technology.
An intelligent use of lightweight construction techniques has enabled the development engineers to stop the steadily increasing weight spiral. The control arms of the front and rear axles, for example, as also the bonnet and wings, are made out of light and yet very strong aluminium alloys, while the cross member for the instrument panel is made of magnesium.
Detailed analysis: the "energy-transparent vehicle" makes things clear
The development tool "energy-transparent vehicle", created in-house by Mercedes-Benz, was used for the first time as part of the M-Class development process. The pioneering opportunities presented by this method, which detects the possibilities for optimisation right down to even the most minute component, will be exploited on all new model series in the future. An exact and meticulous examination of the flow of energy throughout the vehicle (tank-to-wheel) helps the development engineers to optimise every single assembly that has an impact on fuel consumption, right down to individual wheel bearings.
Air flow optimisation: the most aerodynamically efficient SUV in its class
With a drag coefficient, or Cd value, of 0.32, the new M-Class (ML 250 BlueTEC) also sets a new best figure for this vehicle class (total aerodynamic drag Cd x A = 0.92 m2; predecessor 0.94 m2). Intensive simulations undertaken with the digital prototype, along with final touches added in the wind tunnel, ensure a perfect flow of air around the vehicle. The key factor determining the low wind resistance is the aerodynamic efficiency of the basic body shell, including the optimised design of the front bumper with its integrated spoiler, of the A-pillars and of the roof spoiler, plus numerous other detailed improvements. These include:
The result: excellent comfort and driving dynamics
A high level of comfort, dynamic on-road handling and excellent off-road capability are part of even the standard equipment package on the new M-Class. For the first time, the steel suspension of the M-Class chassis now includes selective damping. During normal driving on only moderately uneven roads or during slow off-road driving, the system responds with a soft ride that enhances the occupants' wellbeing as well as the car's off-road capability. In order to maintain this sense of wellbeing during hard driving or abrupt evasive manoeuvres, the shock absorbers work even harder in such circumstances, so ensuring a high level of driving stability. The M-Class driver is supported here by an electric steering system that provides the optimum level of steering power assistance to suit the particular driving situation. Parking or manoeuvring off-road is made so much easier, thanks to the availability of maximum power assistance. The SUV also scores here with the tightest turning circle in its market segment. The 180-degree turn is negotiated within a circle diameter of just 11.8 metres. At higher speeds, the power assistance is reduced, to the benefit of the car's handling.
For those who want to venture off surfaced roads, the ML 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC and ML 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY models feature a comprehensive off-road programme as part of their standard equipment. This considerably improves the options once the going gets tough. It includes the permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC and the electronic traction control system ETS, as well as an off-road button that activates a special off-road transmission mode.
Start-off Assist and the HOLD function are further features helping the driver to pull away on a slope. Downhill Speed Regulation, or DSR, enables the M-Class to maintain automatically the speed set via the cruise control lever.
For those wishing to drive the M-Class more extensively away from surfaced roads, we recommend the optional ON&OFFROAD package.
Full programme: ON&OFFROAD package for all eventualities
The ON&OFFROAD package
for the new M-Class uses a range of six transmission modes to
optimise driving dynamics and handling safety, by ensuring that the
necessary drive control is there to cope with the very different
operating conditions encountered on and off-road. One automatic
mode, two specifically off-road modes and three on-road modes are
Despite so many options, for the driver the decision is always very clear: the setting is made intuitively, and the programme selected is shown in the multifunction display as well as in very realistic, almost photo-quality imagery on the screen of the COMAND system. Irrespective of which underlying programme is set, the gear reduction, lock, DSR or the self-levelling suspension of the AIRMATIC system can all be adjusted individually. As with the basic settings of the ON&OFFROAD package, it is practically impossible for the driver to make mistakes. Illogical settings, which might have a negative impact on handling, safety or traction, are ruled out. If there is any doubt, the system will revert to automatic mode.
In terms of "hardware", the ON&OFFROAD package comprises an underride guard, a two-stage transfer case with reduction gear, a longitudinal differential lock and enhanced AIRMATIC functionality that allows a maximum ground clearance of 285 millimetres and a fording depth of 600 millimetres.
King of the curve: no roll or rocking here!
Active roll stabilisation in the form of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM can be combined as on option with AIRMATIC air suspension with Adaptive Damping System (ADS) as well as with the ON&OFFROAD package. This system uses active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles, which it controls automatically, irrespective of lateral acceleration, speed or the switch setting of the ADS Comfort/Sport switch. ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM compensates for the roll angle of the body through bends, so delivering significant improvement in both agility and driving pleasure. At the same time the system increases driving stability and thus safety, especially and importantly at high speeds. Improved ride comfort both on winding stretches of road and on the straight, together with enhanced options for off-road driving, are also among the benefits of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM.
Gently does it: attention to detail ensures comfort
The new M-Class promises relaxed and thus safe driving in all possible conditions. By paying close attention to detail every step of the way, the development engineers in the Mercedes Technology Center have significantly improved what they call the NVH comfort level (Noise, Vibration, Harshness). This is an important factor contributing to the general sense of wellbeing on board, whilst also playing its part in driver-fitness safety, especially on long journeys. The basis for the high level of NVH comfort is provided by the very rigid bodyshell of the M-Class. Further improvements have also been made to the drive system and chassis. This is all topped off by aero-acoustic refinements and the intelligent use of new-style insulation.
These measures at a glance:
Well thought-out: passive safety at its best
In line with the Mercedes-Benz brand philosophy, the new M-Class represents the embodiment of the Mercedes-Benz holistic safety concept of REAL LIFE SAFETY, which is derived primarily from what happens in a real accident situation. The extremely robust occupant compartment of the M-Class, together with the front and rear deformation zones, forms an effective basis for the occupant protection systems.
The front end structure, with its high energy-absorption potential, is essentially made up of the firewall and two lines of longitudinal members, anchored at the A-pillars. Two vertical members link the longitudinal members, so further increasing deformation resistance. The necessary rigidity and strength of the floor assembly is provided by a robust structure made up of a separate centre tunnel plus separate longitudinal members along each side, attached to the side wall. These are supported by cross members anchored to the floor as well as by a connecting member to the B-pillar as support for the front structure. The extremely robust side wall assembly comprises, quite apart from the longitudinal members described above and the side roof frame, A-pillars in a dual-casing design, internally reinforced with high-strength steel. In a side collision, the cross member beneath the cowl, the cross member between the longitudinal members underneath the pedal floor, the high-strength-steel cross member beneath the driver's seat and the magnesium-alloy cross member underneath the instrument panel, as well as the front roof frame, ensure the highest possible stability of the occupant cell. The positioning of the fuel tank in front of the rear axle and of the filler neck over the rear axle increases the available deformation distance, so maximising the level of energy absorption in the event of a rear-end collision. This is achieved, above all, through the box-shaped design of the rear longitudinal members.
The complex restraint system can offer the highest possible protection. Up to nine airbags, which activate as they are needed, according to the type and severity of the accident, can reduce the stresses exerted on the occupants. The individual components in detail:
Complementing the active safety systems such as the standard Brake Assist (BAS) or the optional BAS PLUS, which can prevent an accident or reduce its severity, the passive measures that contribute to pedestrian safety have also been further improved in the new M-Class. These include, for example, the installation of an Active Bonnet as standard.
Intelligent partner: protects its occupants as well as others
Both active safety and driver-fitness safety in the new M-Class are further improved by Assistance Systems that will already be familiar, primarily from the S- and E-Class. The standard equipment package includes the drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST, the anticipatory safety system PRE‑SAFEฎ and a tyre pressure loss warning system, as well as adaptive brake lights and Brake Assist (BAS). The following Assistance Systems, some of them active, are available as additional equipment options:
Active Park Assist and the reversing camera enhance both safety and convenience.
Feature line: effortlessly superior, high-quality design
The vehicle body design for this new-generation model, with the very typical shape of its C-pillars, is full of character and immediately recognisable as an M-Class. Its styling, high-quality appeal and excellent ease of operation combine to give it a forceful presence. The front of the vehicle is dominated by the powerfully self-confident design of the radiator grille with its centrally positioned Mercedes star, giving it that typical M-Class look. The new styling of the headlamps conveys a high-quality, exclusive and innovative impression, especially when the Intelligent Light System (ILS) is taken as an optional extra. The LED daytime running lamps are set in chrome inserts integrated into the bumpers. A deeper, broad, chrome-effect underguard continues down from the lower edge of the radiator grille, so serving to reinforce the impressive overall appearance.
Seen from the side, the
elongated lines give formal emphasis to the on-road credentials of
this vehicle, whose compact proportions are defined by a large
wheelbase and short overhangs. The C-pillar that is so
characteristic of this model series takes its cue from early
generations of the M-Class and differentiates it very clearly in
stylistic terms from its competitors. At the same time, the way the
roof line slopes down to the rear underlines the sporty appeal of
the new M-Class. No pillar is visible in the transition from the
rear side window through to the rear windscreen. This, together with
the similarly wrap-around effect of the two-part rear light unit
with LED fibre-optic technology, and the lowered roof with its large
roof spoiler, add up to an overall harmonious design. The rear
bumper, which features an integrated chrome-effect load sill guard
in a new "wing design", defines the characteristic appearance of the
SUV's rear end. The chrome-look finish of further product features,
such as the roof rails, the beltline trim strip or the load
compartment handle, emphasise the high-quality appeal of the
Your wellbeing included: the interior of the new M-Class
A look at the interior design concept immediately demonstrates the way the authentic SUV experience is combined here with the sense of wellbeing inherent in a top-class Mercedes-Benz saloon. While the expressive design of the centre dome embodies the power of an SUV, the gentle downward curve of the instrument panel on the front passenger side gives a good sense of spaciousness, thus emphasising the vehicle's long-distance credentials. The roomy and well-lit interior offers noticeably more elbow room than its predecessor (34 millimetres more in the front, 25 millimetres in the rear) and thus more space and comfort. An eye-catching feature of the instrument panel is a large decorative trim element that is then continued along the doors in a very harmonious wrap-around effect. These generously proportioned trim elements, in a three-dimensional design, are available in four high-quality wood finishes, or in aluminium. The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class can thus be appointed to reflect either exclusive refinement or sporty sophistication, according to the customer's taste. The door openers and seat adjustment switches have been inset with precision craftsmanship into the side trim. The door centre panels feature distinctive decorative stitching, with a separate, exclusive look for the Sports package.
The state-of-the-art instrument cluster with its two clear and extremely legible round dials and a large, 11.4 cm display between them, impresses with the high-quality look of its design. Dominating the centre of the instrument panel in the centre of the vehicle is the large screen for the COMAND system. The control and display concept was developed specifically with user-friendly operation in mind. In the M-Class, Mercedes-Benz is introducing an advanced ergonomic concept that will find its way into all future new models. Just one element of this is the way the accessibility of the multi-function control lever on the steering column has been improved. All control levers can now be clearly seen. The cruise control lever has been moved to the lower position.
Infotainment, navigation and communication systems are intuitive and easy to operate using the metal Controller located on the centre console. Vertical rectangular air intake vents either side of the large screen serve to emphasise the more functional aspects of the SUV. The outer air vents are the same shape but in this case horizontally positioned, thus giving added design flair. The centre console incorporates an armrest with integrated handrest, in front of which is located the Controller and various switches, such as those for the off-road programmes.
The seats in the new M-Class are designed to provide a high level of comfort on long journeys as well as excellent lateral support. All important parameters can be electrically adjusted. These include the adjustment of seat height, backrest rake, seat cushion angle and reach. Generous seat adjustment travel of more than 350 millimetres lengthways and more than 90 millimetres in height ensure that M-Class drivers will always find the ideal seating position.
A high level of variability characterises the rear seats, which are fitted with an armrest and cupholder. The backrest angle adjustment on the rear seats is new, as is the through-loading feature above the armrest for the transport of skis. Folding both backrests as well as the seat cushions forward creates a level load compartment with a capacity of 2010 litres up to the roof liner.
Four colours are available for the interior appointments: black, almond beige, alpaca grey and tobacco brown/marron. These can be combined with a large range of materials: fabric/ARTICO man-made leather, ARTICO man-made leather and leather in six colour combinations. In conjunction with the Interior Sports package, the combination of DINAMICA microfibre and black ARTICO man-made leather, or nappa leather and black leather is also available.
For both eye and ear: good entertainment and the best information
The new M-Class comes as standard with the Audio 20 CD system, which comprises a radio with twin-tuner, TFT colour display with a 14.7 cm screen diagonal, an MP3/WMA/AAC-compatible CD player, a USB interface with CD Cover Art display (if saved on the storage medium), an AUX-IN socket in the centre armrest and a telephone keypad. The Bluetooth interface also allows hands-free telephony and Audio Streaming for the transfer of music.
The Audio 20 CD system can be optionally upgraded with the addition of a 6-disc CD changer, Media Interface, the "Logic7" Surround Sound system from audio specialists harman/kardonฎ, digital radio (DAB) or comfort telephony in the armrest. Of particular interest is Beckerฎ MAP PILOT, a fully integrated navigation module with 2D/3D map displays for Europe. This system, which is offered as a genuine accessory, can be docked into a cradle in the glove compartment and controlled through the central control unit of the Audio 20 CD system. The navigation route is shown in both the central display and the instrument cluster, while route recommendations are issued acoustically through the vehicle loudspeakers. Also included: automatic tailback avoidance (TMC Pro) and voice-controlled address entry. Updates to map data, functional software and other features are possible via the internet on a home computer, since the module is removable.
The COMAND Online system, with a 17.8 cm high-resolution TFT colour display, offers internet access in the M-Class for the first time. Customers can either surf freely while the vehicle is stationary, or call up a Mercedes-Benz app, the pages of which build particularly quickly and are easy to use even while the vehicle is on the move. The integrated apps include Google Local Search, access to Facebook (from 11/2011) and weather, as well as the ability to download and adopt into the navigation system a route that has been previously configured in Google Maps and sent to the car, or specific destinations. Further Mercedes-Benz apps will be successively introduced and will then be available for use by all customers. Telephones that are compatible with the COMAND Online apps are listed on the website www.mercedes-benz.com/connect. COMAND Online is available as an option with a 6-disc DVD changer. The system includes Speed Limit Assist as standard, which recognises traffic signs and displays the applicable speed limit in the instrument cluster.
Something for everyone: extensive model range and high level of specification
At market launch of the
new M-Class, there are three models available: With fuel consumption
according to NEDC of 6.0 l/100 km (158 g CO2/km), the extremely
fuel-efficient ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC delivers an output of 150 kW
(204 hp) along with 500 newton metres of torque. It can accelerate
from a standing start to 100 km/h in 9.0 seconds, while its top
speed is 210 km/h. Inevitably somewhat faster on the move is the ML
350 BlueTEC 4MATIC, although with a fuel consumption that is almost
as frugal, at 6.8 l/100 km. With a maximum output of 190 kW (258 hp)
and ample torque of 620 Nm, the V6 diesel can accelerate to 100 km/h
in 7.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 224 km/h. With 225 kW (306
hp), the petrol-engined ML 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY has an average
consumption, according to NEDC, of just 8.5 l/100 km, with a top
speed of 235 km/h.
The interior is similarly impressive, featuring designo leather upholstery in either marron or porcelain with contrasting decorative stitching in a diamond-shaped pattern. The instrument panel, door centre panels, interior beltlines and centre console are also upholstered in leather. The wood/leather steering wheel in nappa leather with DIRECT SELECT shift paddles, wood trim in open-pore brown ash or high-gloss anthracite poplar and the black designo roof lining round off this luxurious package of appointments. The footwells have black velour floor mats with special metal 'designo' badges. Functional enhancements to the interior include a Memory package, seat heating for the driver's and front passenger seats, sidebags in the rear and the automatic child seat recognition system, ACSR. The M-Class Edition 1 may be combined with any diesel or petrol engine.