Tony O'Kane | Oct 15, 2008

Mercedes-Benz has freshened up the ever-popular M-Class for 2009 with a number of cosmetic additions, tweaks and revisions.

The most prominent changes are concentrated around the front of the large SUV, with a restyled front bumper, reprofiled headlamps and reshaped vents giving the 'M' a sportier and meaner 'face'. Around the back, the rear bumper has been subtly modified and the tailights now sport a smoked finish.

Front seats have been changed for '09, with four-way lumbar support on the driver's seat now being standard equipment, with the same mechanism also standard for the passenger pew in every model bar the base ML 280CDI.

2009-mercedes-benz-m-class-9 There's also a new steering wheel, a more user-friendly telematics interface, Bluetooth connectivity as well as provision for a portable music player to be plugged into the M's sound system. Mercedes-Benz's COMAND system and voice-recognition system have also been fine-tuned for the M-Class.

Running gear carries over from the previous model with no changes, with everything from the ML 280CDI's thrifty 140kW 3.0-litre turbo-diesel to the fire-breathing 375kW 6.3-litre V8 in the ML 63 AMG still on offer. Pricing, however, HAS changed, with the sticker price for every model in the M-Class range heading north by a few thousand dollars. For full details on the 2009 M-Class, hit the "press release" link below.

Five-Star Drive: Mercedes-Benz Releases the New-Generation M-Class 4MATIC SUV Range in Australia

The new-generation M-Class: dynamic, powerful, stylish

Melbourne – Mercedes-Benz has meticulously revamped the successful M Class. The new generation of the dynamic, stylish SUV now has even more distinctive characteristics, and looks even sportier and more powerful.

The front end of this off-roader is now defined by a redesigned bumper, recontoured headlamps and a larger, even more dominant radiator.

The rear view also sports a new-look bumper with integrated reflector strips, emphasising the vehicle's width, as well as tails lights with a smoked-glass look.

Stylistic fine-tuning and new high-grade materials which are pleasing to the eye and touch combine with a new two-tone colour scheme to add fresh highlights to the interior. Inside, the eye is immediately drawn to the new four-spoke multifunction steering wheel. The M-Class standard specification has also been significantly upgraded. It now includes an all-new, high-performance telematics system developed by Mercedes-Benz, which is much easier to use thanks to a host of new functions. The Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG is also now more distinctive and striking, courtesy of new front and rear aprons with a chromed underguard, and a larger AMG radiator grille.

The Mercedes-Benz M-Class is the trendsetter among today's SUVs. Its exceptional status is down to its characteristic dynamic, stylish design, a combination of compelling performance both on and off-road, the ride comfort and ease of operation of a saloon, along with great customer value. The M-Class also comes with a range of safety features that are unsurpassed in the SUV segment.

Buyers have also come to appreciate these outstanding qualities. Since the second-generation M-Class (model code W 164) was launched in April 2005, some 300,000 units have been delivered to customers around the world. As such, this state-of-the-art off-roader remains one of the most successful vehicles in this rapidly growing market segment.

Mercedes-Benz has now substantially upgraded the new-generation M-Class with fresh styling touches, even higher quality and extensively enhanced equipment and appointments. The premium SUV now looks even more powerful and sportier, making a bolder statement in terms of character and presence.

Added character and style for the exterior

The assured appearance of the M-Class is now marked by its dynamically flowing, yet at the same time crisp lines and a clear, powerful design idiom. Thanks to the new-look front-end as well as the modified rear, the new-generation M-Class looks more muscular yet brings a sense of aesthetic elegance to bear – in short, it has even more style.

The front end is dominated by a new-look, robust bumper as well as headlamps with a pronounced step in the lower edge. This step continues seamlessly down and around the radiator with its distinctive contours. The larger, lower-set radiator is another element brimming with character. Three wide, black louvres with large, rectangular air outlets and a gleaming chrome edge give structure to the radiator, making the new-generation M-Class appear even more dominant.

Fog lamps set well to the outside and a new-look simulated underguard make the off-roader appear wider and even more dynamic.

The rear bumper with integrated reflectors has also been restyled, making the M Class appear even more poised and assured for anyone following behind. The optional stainless steel underguard conceals the exhaust system with its twin tailpipes and also gives the car a wider stance on the road.

The reversing lights also feature darkened indicator repeater lenses in a smoked-glass look.

New powerful mirrors with their larger surface designed to provide better visibility.

Interior with high-grade appointments

The interior of the new-generation, state-of-the-art off-roader has been stylishly upgraded with high-quality materials. The door centre panel is now trimmed in ARTICO man-made leather. Two-tone leather appointments are also available as an option to give a hand-made impression.

In the enhanced interior the eye is also drawn to the new, four-spoke leather multifunction steering wheel with its chrome trim, improved ease of operation and standard-fit shift paddles. The seats have a more attractive, sportier design. The driver’s seat comes fitted with four-way lumbar support as standard equipment, which can also be fitted to the front passenger seat via the optional (in the Ml 280 CDI) Luxury Pack (which is standard fitment in the ML 320 CDI and ML 350).

The new-generation M-Class features a brand new telematics generation developed by Mercedes-Benz, offering a new dimension in user-friendliness, high performance and a host of useful new functions. Integrated features include a hands-free system based on Bluetooth technology, and a new media interface, which can connect an external music device such as an iPod.

On request there is also a new Media Interface, which can connect an external music device with the off-roader's onboard electronics and control system, enabling music tracks to be shown in the instrument cluster and the colour display in the centre console, and conveniently accessed using the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel. At the same time, the audio device's battery is also charged.

There is a choice of three units, all of them with a colour display, a twin tuner for improved radio reception, speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies and a Bluetooth interface which enables a mobile phone to be wirelessly linked to the hands-free system.

Along with the new telematics generation, Mercedes-Benz also is now also offering enhanced LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system in conjunction with the COMAND (Cockpit Management and Data) information and entertainment system (standard in all M-Class models, optional in the ML 280 CDI).

The occupants are also able to enjoy a surround-sound experience of impressive quality with the latest generation of the optional Harman Kardon® Logic7® sound system, which delivers exceptionally crystal-clear listening pleasure thanks to its output of 610 watts and digital signal processor (DSP).

This concert-hall sound experience is standard fitment to both V8-powered M-Class models (the Ml 500 and the high-performance ML 63 AMG), and is optional equipment on the rest of the M-Class range.

Rear-seat passengers also have the option of a new entertainment system with two large 8-inch screens, a centrally integrated DVD player, two sets of wireless headphones for greater freedom of movement as well as two remote controls.

Unrivalled safety features as standard

The Mercedes-Benz M-Class has always set the benchmark in terms of safety in the SUV segment.

The following safety equipment is fitted as standard in the new-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class:

  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Airbags: two-stage front airbags for driver and front passenger, sidebags in the front and rear plus windowbags
  • Brake Assist System (BAS)
  • Brake pad wear indicator
  • Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR)
  • Electronic Stability Programme (ESP®)
  • Electronic Traction Support (4ETS)
  • NECK-PRO active head restraints for the front seats
  • PARKTRONIC parking assistance system
  • PRE-SAFE accident anticipatory occupant protection system
  • Rain sensor for windscreen wipers with two-stage sensitivity

The new-generation M-Class passed European NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) crash tests with flying colours this year and was awarded the top mark of five stars for its very high level of occupant protection. This Mercedes off-roader has also achieved outstanding results in tests carried out by US rating organisations.

The latest Euro NCAP test results are confirmation that the safety concept of the M-Class, which is geared to real-life accident scenarios, also performs well in standardised rating crash tests. The impressive list of standard-fitment safety equipment helps to ensure occupants have an excellent standard of protection in the event of an accident.

The M-Class is the first vehicle in its market segment anywhere in the world to be fitted as standard with the anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®. The system makes use of the valuable seconds which elapse between a critical accident situation being identified and a possible impact ensuing to instigate protective measures. This makes it possible to reduce the forces acting on the occupants in an impact by up to 40 per cent.

The M-Class has garnered top marks in other rating tests too: it was awarded five stars in both the US NCAP and the US SINCAP tests performed by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and received the coveted “Top Safety Pick” designation from the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Impressive levels of fuel consumption

The M-Class is powered by powerful yet economical V6 and V8 petrol or diesel engines, which are very fuel-efficient. The 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive delivers outstanding performance both on and off-road. And the standard-fit 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission with optimised shift characteristics translates the power from the engines into refined dynamism.

Five power units are available to choose from in the new-generation M-Class ranging from 140 to 375 kW. The engineers’ meticulous attention to detail has produced fuel consumption figures ranging from 9.6- to 12.9-litres per 100km travelled.

The most powerful engine developing 375 kW is available in the guise of the ML 63 AMG 4MATIC.

The new-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class luxury SUV range is now available from all authorised Mercedes-Benz passenger car dealerships.

At a glance:

New design and technology

Exterior design

  • All-new front-end design with prominent horizontal lines
  • New radiator grille with three black louvres and chrome highlights (available in sterling silver look with chrome highlights as an option in the exterior sports package)
  • New-look projection-beam headlamps
  • New exterior mirrors with larger mirror surfaces
  • New rear bumper
  • Tail lights with darkened lenses (LED tail lights with clear-glass look as an option)
  • Twin exhaust system with oval tailpipes (rectangular chromed tailpipes in the exterior sports package as an option, standard for V8)
  • Chrome trim strip in the rub strips (optional in the exterior sports package, standard for V8)
  • Waistline trim strip in chrome (optional in the exterior sports package, standard for V8)
  • Load sill guard on the rear bumper in chrome (optional in the exterior sports package, standard for V8)
  • Exterior sports package with new, enhanced features such as aluminium-look roof rails

Interior design

  • Leather-trimmed dashboard in nappa leather or ARTICO man-made leather
  • Door linings in ARTICO man-made leather
  • New two-tone leather appointments
  • Leather multifunction steering wheel in four-spoke design with shift paddles
  • Seats with new design
  • Two types of wood trim: burr walnut, poplar with bird's-eye look or poplar in anthracite, with stowage compartment in dashboard console as standard
  • Luggage cover in standard specification

Comfort

  • 4-way electrically adjustable lumbar support for driver and front passenger seats (optional for passenger seat in ML 280 CDI)

Infotainment

  • COMAND APS system with large colour display and new additional functions
  • COMAND APS including hard-disc navigation, Music Register and voice-operated control
  • Universal media interface for connecting an iPod and other audio devices
  • LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system with whole-word recognition capability (excludes navigation system)
  • Surround sound system with twelve speakers and an output of 610 watts
  • Rear-seat entertainment system with larger screens and wireless headphones

Chassis

  • New 17, 18, 19 and 20-inch light-alloy wheels
  • 20-inch 5 twin-spoke light-alloy wheels standard for V8
Model Engine Power Torque Fuel Cons Price
ML 280

CDI

3.0l, V6, turbo-diesel 140kW 440Nm 9.6l/100km $81,000
ML 350 3.5l, V6, petrol 200kW 350Nm 11.7l/100km $94,000
ML 320 CDI 3.0l, V6, turbo-diesel 165kW 510Nm 9.6l/100km $97,000
ML 500 5.5l, V8, petrol 285kW 530Nm 13.4l/100km $127,500
ML 63 AMG 6.3l, AMG V8, petrol 375kW 630Nm 16.5l/100km $167,500
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