Refined power: The new Mercedes-Benz M-Class

The trendsetter among modern off-roaders has stepped up another gear: Mercedes-Benz presents the new M-Class.
With state-of-the-art technology such as three powerful new engines, the standard-fitted seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC, the now even more effective four-wheel drive system 4-ETS, AIRMATIC air suspension and the anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®, the M-Class is set to reaffirm the off-roader’s leading position in a fast-growing market segment which Mercedes-Benz created with the preceding model in 1997.
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 (now 4780 mm), 71 mm wider (now 1911 mm) and 5 mm lower (now 1815 mm with roof rails) than its predecessor. The wheelbase has grown by 95 mm to 2915 mm.
Three of the four engines available for the 2005 model are new 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 the previous 0.40) combine to cut fuel consumption by as much as ten per cent.
A new V6 diesel engine, available with two different outputs, is celebrating its premiere. It features third-generation common-rail direct injection and the latest in piezo injectors. The unit in the ML 320 CDI delivers 165 kW/224 hp and places a maximum torque of 510 Newton metres 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. The diesel models burn just 9.4 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres (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, with 200 kW/ 272 hp and a maximum torque of 350 Newton metres. The engine range is headed by the eight-cylinder in the ML 500, which now has an output of 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, while making a major contribution to fuel economy.
7G-TRONIC can now be operated electronically using a selector lever positioned close to the steering wheel, a new technology which Mercedes-Benz has christened DIRECT SELECT. Additional steering-wheel gearshift paddles enable the driver to glide manually through the seven gears.
Ready for rough terrain: the off-road package with 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 Speed Regulation, 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: in addition to the basic version, a new off-road package is optionally available which enables the M-Class to master even the toughest routes across rough terrain.
Its primary features include 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 the ground clearance by 110 mm to as much as 291 millimetres and the vehicle’s fording depth to a maximum of 600 millimetres.
The air suspension also significantly improves ride comfort, which is why Mercedes-Benz offers a roadgoing version of this technology as an option. AIRMATIC teams up as standard with the Adaptive Damping System (ADS), which adjusts shock absorber response to suit the current driving situation. All this accelerates the M-Class into a new dimension in driving dynamics and ride comfort.
Mercedes engineers have also redeveloped the front and rear suspension of the M-Class: the double-wishbone front suspension makes a significant contribution to reduced road roar and tyre vibration, ensuring impressive driving dynamics with its raised aluminium wishbones.

The new rear axle has a four-link suspension system.Standard-fitted light-alloy wheels and wide 235/65 R 17 (V6 models) or 255/55 R 18 (V8 model) tyres emphasise the sporting pedigree of the new M-Class.

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 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 state-of-the-art technology from the luxury class 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 (optional) provide additional protection for the driver and front passenger.
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 its occupants for an impending 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 a rollover threatens.
It is by forming an unparalleled synergy of active and passive safety that PRE SAFE® can prepare the car and its occupants for a possible impact. The system is linked to the anti-lock braking system (ABS), Brake Assist and the Electronic Stability Program (ESP®), whose sensors identify dangerous driving manoeuvres. Mercedes-Benz also uses these data for anticipatory occupant protection.
The new M-Class also boasts exceptional long-term quality – another Mercedes hallmark. The fully galvanised body is given extra protection from corrosion by means of an organic coating at specific points. Structural areas subjected to high stresses are cavity-sealed, and folds are seam-sealed. Large plastic underbody panels eliminate the necessity for conventional PVC undersealing.
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 sheen.
Like all Mercedes passenger cars, the M-Class also comes with the 30-year MobiloLife mobility and value-retention warranty.
At the level of the luxury class: 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 60:40 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. The maximum load capacity is 2050 litres (VDA measuring method), significantly more than comparable competitors.
The proven EASY-PACK system makes the boot area of the M-Class easier to load and unload. Among other features, it can be optionally supplied with an electrically operated tailgate and a package designed to secure items safely in the load area.
State-of-the-art support systems familiar from the luxury-class Mercedes models help to relieve driver stress, enhance comfort and further improve safety. The M-Class is optionally available 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 darkness.
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 the qualities of the M-Class in the fields of design, functionality, driving pleasure, safety and off-road performance.
A total of over 620,000 drivers around the world have so far opted for the original “Sports 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.

The new ML 63 AMG: World premiere at the 61st IAA in Frankfurt/Main

Pole position in the off-road segment

Affalterbach – The Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG sets a new standard in the sporty off-roader segment. The new top-of-the–range model in the M-Class goes straight to the top of the competitive lineup with its 375 kW/510 hp AMG 6.3-litre V8-engine.

This new off-roader developed by Mercedes-AMG stands for sportiness and dynamism at the highest level, while its exclusive appointments meet even the most demanding requirements.

The ML 63 AMG celebrates its world premiere at the 61st International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main, and will be launched during the second quarter of 2006.

The powerful heart of a high-performance athlete beats beneath the bonnet of the ML 63 AMG: as a completely new and autonomous development by Mercedes-AMG, the AMG 6.3-litre V8-engine generates an output of 375 kW/510 hp at 6800 rpm and a maximum torque of 630 Newton metres at 5200 rpm; this makes the new AMG powerpack the world’s most powerful naturally aspirated eight-cylinder engine in regular production.

This unique combination of a high engine speed concept and a large displacement enables the best of both worlds to be achieved: outstanding liveliness accompanied by powerful torque from low engine speeds. The driver of the ML 63 AMG experiences the decidedly sporty character of the new AMG V8-engine in the form of great agility and dynamic responsiveness in all engine speed ranges.

No other off-roader in the direct competitive lineup has a larger displacement and output than the new ML 63 AMG. The AMG 6.3-litre V8-engine provides the performance levels of a sports car, with acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.0 seconds and a maximum speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited). Compared to the preceding ML 55 AMG with 255 kW/347 hp and 510 Newton metres, the new ML 63 AMG generates 46 percent more output and 23 percent more torque.

Power transfer in the top M-Class model is via an AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-Tronic automatic transmission with a DIRECT SELECT shift lever mounted by the steering wheel. Three shift modes specially configured for the sporty performance characteristics of the AMG V8-engine ensure that the power is used to best effect. These shift modes – “S” (Sport), “C” (Comfort) and “M” (Manual) – are selected using a switch in the centre console and differ in their gearshift characteristics and speed.

As in a Formula 1 racing car, the seven gears can be changed using the gearshift buttons on the AMG ergonomic sports steering wheel. The permanent four-wheel drive of the ML 63 AMG is also decidedly sporty in nature: in the interests of the best possible agility and performance on bends, the generous power of the AMG V8-engine is distributed to the front and rear axles on a 40:60 basis.

A specially strengthened drive train ensures an optimal power transfer and the reliability typical of a Mercedes.

AMG sports suspension and AMG high-performance braking system

The AMG sports suspension based on AIRMATIC ensures high cornering speeds, precise directional stability and low levels of body roll while providing excellent long-distance comfort. The air suspension features AMG-specific damper struts and the specially configured adaptive damping system ADS. A level control system automatically lowers the suspension at higher speeds.

Road contact is via high-sheen 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a 5-spoke design. Fitted with 295/45 R 19 wide-base tyres all-round, this wheel/tyre combination not only impresses with its muscular appearance, but also ensures that the sporty performance is translated to the road.

High-sheen 20-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a five-spoke design with 295/40 R 20 wide-base tyres are available as an option. The shortest possible braking distances are guaranteed by the generously dimensioned AMG high-performance braking system behind the AMG light-alloy wheels, which features internally ventilated and indented brake discs all-round.

Striking appearance with AMG styling and flared wings

Wide, muscular, with a broad stance and poised to leap forward – the visual appearance of the new ML 63 AMG immediately confirms its special position in the range. The athletic design of this powerful off-roader is characterised by its striking AMG styling with a front and rear apron, an AMG-specific radiator grille, flared wings, stainless steel running boards with rubber studs and tinted rear lights.

Both visually and acoustically, the AMG sports exhaust system with two chrome-plated twin tail-pipes emphasises the power and dynamism of the top-of-the-range model in the M-Class.

Dynamically designed interior with exclusive standard appointments

Sportiness is also the order of the day in the interior of the ML 63 AMG. The exclusive interior features include AMG sports seats with nappa leather upholstery, alcantara inserts in the shoulder areas, a multicontour function and heating, the AMG ergonomic leather sports steering wheel with gearshift buttons, AMG door sills and stainless steel sports pedals with rubber studs.

The AMG instrument cluster is equally dynamic with its AMG-specific lettering, red needles and 320 km/h speedometer scale.

The ML 63 AMG also meets the highest requirements in terms of safety: standard safety features include the preventive occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®, crash-responsive NECK-PRO head restraints in the first seat row, adaptive, two-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger, front sidebags, windowbags and belt tensioners and belt force limiters for all the seats.

After its world premiere at the International Automobile Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main, the ML 63 AMG will be officially launched during the second quarter of 2006.

ML 63 AMG “Performance Studio”: Maximum luxury fittings

With the ML 63 AMG “Performance Studio”, the AMG PERFORMANCE STUDIO, opened in 2006, showcases its expertise in helping realise the dreams of individual motorists, offering exclusivity at the Affalterbach location. The very special M-Class features a combination of uniquely detailed fittings typical of the vehicles designed in the AMG PERFORMANCE STUDIO.
Matching its “metallic Peridot brown” exterior paintwork, the ML 63 AMG “Performance Studio” features 21” high-sheen AMG light alloy wheels with a double spoke design, painted the same colour as the car. Wide-base 295/35 R 21 tyres ensure the necessary road surface contact. The high-gloss chrome trim on the upper body edges at window level is another eye-catching detail.
The extraordinary character of this unique M-Class vehicle is just as evident in the interior. The full nappa leather upholstery with a “porcelain” coloured diamond design creates an ambience of luxury. It covers the AMG sports seats, the rear seats and the door linings. The AMG emblem embossed on the front headrests points to the vehicle’s exclusive origin, manufactured in the AMG Performance Studio in Affalterbach.

The lower part of the dashboard, the front and back centre consoles and the backs of the front seats are all clad in glossy, porcelain-coloured nappa leather. A clear contrast is formed by the black cording, as well as the upper part of the dashboard and the door linings clad in black nappa leather.

The entire roof lining, including the grab handles, sun visors and rear window frame, is lined with charcoal alcantara. The AMG sports steering wheel is black with porcelain-coloured cording.

Access strips with white luminous AMG lettering, AMG wood trim in high-gloss black piano lacquer and black AMG floor mats with porcelain-coloured nappa leather edging add further highlights to the exquisitely designed interior of the ML 63 AMG “Performance Studio”.
Both the ML 63 AMG “Performance Studio” and the ML 63 AMG “10th Anniversary” demonstrate the wide range of possibilities which the AMG Performance Studio draws from to fulfil the most individual wishes of its customers.
Customised modifications, e.g. to AMG sports suspensions, AMG high-performance brake systems, AMG wheel/tyre combinations, locking differentials, or individual interior fittings are carried out by the highly qualified experts at Affalterbach, who also manufacture special one-off vehicles. In the design and construction, they draw on decades of experience in making high-performance cars, as well as comprehensive expertise from the world of motor sports. And they set themselves the highest standards of quality and safety.

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