(from DaimlerChrysler Press Release)
Having changed the landscape of off-road vehicle development on its
arrival seven years ago, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class has stepped up
another gear. The Stuttgart-based brand sowed the seeds of a new
segment with the introduction of the original M-Class in 1997 and
now state-of-the-art technology – such as three new and powerful
engines, the standard-fitted seven-speed automatic transmission
7G-TRONIC, the anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®,
AIRMATIC air suspension, the now even more effective four-wheel
drive system 4-ETS – is set to reaffirm the Off-Roader’s leading
position in a fast-growing market. After its premiere at the 2005
Detroit Auto Show, the new M-Class will be introduced onto the US
market in the spring of next year and in Europe next summer.
You need look no further than the design of the new M-Class, with
its beguiling blend of heavily contoured surfaces and taut lines, to
admire the majestic character of the second-generation Off-Roader.
The swept-back windscreen, striking front wings and rising
shoulderline of the new car set the unashamedly sporting tone, a
theme developed by the proportions of the body. The new M-Class is
150 mm longer, 71 mm wider and 9 mm lower on the road than its
predecessor and its wheelbase has grown by 95 mm to 2915 mm.
Three of the four engines available for the 2005 model are hot off
the press and outstrip the output and torque of the power units for
the outgoing model to the tune of up to 38 per cent. Cutting-edge
drive-system technology and impressive aerodynamics (the Cd value is
down to 0.34 from 0.39 previously) combine to cut fuel consumption
by as much as ten per cent.
The V6 diesel engine with third-generation common-rail direct
injection, which takes the place of the outgoing five-cylinder
in-line unit in the range, is celebrating its series-production
premiere. Put to work under the bonnet of the new ML 320 CDI, the
new power unit delivers 165 kW/224 hp and places a maximum of 510
Newton metres of torque on tap from 1600 rpm. Also on hand to offer
the twin benefits of six-cylinder comfort and dynamism is the new ML
280 CDI, serving up 140 kW/190 hp and a peak torque of 440 Newton
metres. This diesel model burns just 9.4 litres of fuel per 100 km (NEDC
combined), making the new M-Class one of the most economical off-roaders
in its class. Another new arrival is the V6 petrol unit powering the
ML 350 – your ticket to 200 kW/ 272 hp and maximum torque of 350
Newton metres. The engine range is headed by the proven
eight-cylinder unit at the heart of the ML 500, which now delivers
225 kW/306 hp.
The globally unique seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC is
fitted as standard in all variants of the new M-Class. Intelligent
shift management allows the transmission to make optimum use of the
engine’s enviable reserves of power, whilst at the same time
ensuring that the M-Class is an even less frequent visitor to the
fuel pumps than ever before. 7G-TRONIC can now be operated
electronically using a selector level positioned close to the
steering wheel, technology which Mercedes-Benz has christened DIRECT
SELECT. Additional steering-wheel gearshift buttons, meanwhile,
enable the driver to glide manually through the seven gears with the
minimum of fuss.
Ready for the rough: the off-road
package with differential locks and AIRMATIC
Mercedes-Benz has taken the permanent
four-wheel drive and 4ETS traction systems to the next level by
incorporating additional functions such as a downhill driving aid,
Start-off Assist and the off-road ABS system. The M-Class can be
ordered with two different variants of the four-wheel drive system,
allowing it to meet the varying requirements of off-road drivers: a
new off-road package is available as an optional extra, allowing the
M-Class to master even the toughest routes across rough terrain.
Among its primary features are a two-speed transfer case with an
off-road ratio, manually or automatically selectable differential
locks (100 per cent) between the front and rear axle and on the rear
axle, and a modified version of the AIRMATIC air suspension system
tailored to off-road driving, which raises ground clearance by 110
mm to as much as 291 mm and the vehicle’s fording depth to a maximum
of 600 mm.
The air suspension also significantly increases ride comfort, which
is why Mercedes-Benz offers a road-tweaked version of this
technology as an option (not as part of the off-road package).
AIRMATIC teams up as standard with the Adaptive Damping System
(ADS), which adjusts the responses of the shock absorbers to the
situation in hand, to open the door to a new dimension in driving
dynamics and ride comfort.
The new M-Class is also fitted with re-developed front and rear
suspension. The double-wishbone front suspension makes a significant
contribution to minimising road roar and tyre vibration and ensures
impressive driving dynamics with its raised aluminium wishbones. The
rear axle, meanwhile, has four-link suspension.
Standard-fitted light-alloy wheels and wide 235/65 R 17 (V6 models)
R 18 (V8 model) tyres reinforce the sporting pedigree of the new
A new era in safety: PRE-SAFE® makes
its debut in this vehicle class
The Mercedes-Benz M-Class also sets the
pace for other off-roaders to follow in terms of safety. Its
occupant protection system is underpinned by a self-supporting body
structure with large deformation zones in the front and rear ends
and a wealth of top-class state-of-the-art technology fitted as
standard. This includes adaptive two-stage airbags for the driver
and front passenger, front sidebags and windowbags, as well as belt
tensioners and belt force limiters for all seats. In the event of a
rear-end collision, the newly developed NECK-PRO crash-responsive
head restraints provide additional protection for the driver and
With the option of adding the anticipatory occupant protection
system PRE-SAFE® to the mix, the new Mercedes Off-Roader raises the
bar in its class. This multi-award-winning technology provides a
reflex response to critical driving situations where an accident
threatens to occur, preparing the car and occupants for a collision.
PRE-SAFE® acts in advance to tighten the driver and front passenger
seat belts, bring the fore-and-aft setting and the cushion and
backrest angle of the electrically adjustable front passenger seat
(optional) into a more favourable position and close the sunroof
(optional) if the vehicle is about to overturn.
It is by forming an unparalleled synergy of active and passive
safety that PRE-SAFE® can prepare car and occupants for a possible
impact. The system is based on a link-up with the anti-lock braking
system (ABS), Brake Assist and the Electronic Stability Program
(ESP), whose sensors identify dangerous driving manoeuvres.
PRE-SAFE® uses the data from these sensors to optimise occupant
protection before a collision.
The new M-Class also boasts exceptional long-term quality – another
Mercedes trademark. Part of the standard specification for the Off-Roader
is a new type of paint finish developed on the back of nano-technology,
which made its series-production debut in Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Offering significantly improved scratch resistance compared to
conventional non-metallic or metallic paint finishes, nano-particle
clearcoat provides a noticeably enhanced shine. Like all Mercedes
passenger cars, the M-Class also comes with the 30-year MobiloLife
mobility and value-retention warranty.
Up there with the best: greater
comfort and more space
The interior of the new M-Class also
exhibits typical Mercedes quality, thanks to higher-quality
materials, more pleasant touch and feel characteristics and
significantly improved spaciousness for all the vehicle’s
passengers. For example, at 880 mm, the distance between the front
and rear seats is 15 mm greater than that in the outgoing model,
achieving a level more familiar in a luxury-class saloon. Knee-room
for the rear passengers has been increased by 35 mm and elbow width
by 32 mm.
M-Class customers can select the seats for their new Off-Roader to
suit their personal comfort requirements. In addition to the
standard-fitted front seats with electrically adjustable height,
backrest and cushion angle, sports seats with special backrest
contours can also be specified.
Up to 2050 litres of load capacity
offers ample space for luggage and sports equipment
The cushions and backrests of the rear
seats are split 63:37 and can be folded down. Removable cushions can
be ordered as an option, creating a level loading surface stretching
2.10 metres in length through the rear of the car. Maximum load
capacity stands at 2050 litres, exceeding that offered by its
predecessor model by 30 litres (VDA measuring method).
The proven EASY PACK system makes the boot area of the M-Class
easier to load and unload. Among other features, it can be supplied
as an option with an electri-cally operated tailgate and a package
designed to secure items safely in place in the load area.
State-of-the-art assistance systems more familiar from luxury-class
Mercedes models help to relieve the stress on the driver, raise
comfort and further improve safety. The M-Class is available as an
option with the newly developed multi-zone THERMOTRONIC automatic
climate control system, the PARKTRONIC parking aid and the control
and display system COMAND APS with Europe-wide DVD navigation.
Bi-xenon headlamps with the Active Light System and the cornering
light function (optional) enhance driving safety during the hours of
A success story beginning in 1997:
blazing a trail for modern SUVs
With its unique design concept, the
Mercedes-Benz M-Class led the way for a new generation of off-roaders
on its premiere in 1997, and a whole series of international prizes
and awards have since underlined its exceptional design, off-road
performance, functionality, driving pleasure and safety.
A total of over 620,000 drivers around the world have so far opted
for the original “Sport Utility Vehicle” (SUV), making it one of the
most successful models in its class. And the arrival of the
second-generation M-Class in spring 2005 is set to open a new
chapter in this automotive success story.