The 2001 ML55 is now a very dated car, but drives like crazy! Great daily-driver, but 15-18 around town is a little expensive. However, it performs like a sports cars with stunning acceleration, very tight handling and good, if Mercedes-style very firm seats and ride. It's a sports cars that can haul a lot of stuff for a small car. Good off-road, but I don't do much of that. I've had mine for 8 years (second-hand) and 70,000 miles (currently @125,000). Repairs can be pricey at MB, but a good independent can handle it. Back seat is OK for short rides, but too bouncy and hard for anything longer than 30 mins. Brakes could stop a train (Brembos). Fun fact - Porsche developed the Cayenne based on the success of the ML55. There aren't many available as fewer than 3,000 were made and maybe half of those made it to America. It's a great second car that has the performance of a good sports car, comfortable, great MB interior (if muted) and you can haul a lot of crap, if you have to. What's not to love?
I bought this car for 12K, it was a one owner. The engine performs great for an SUV. Handling is awesome for a "boxer" style car. Fun to drive plus very safe. I always feel I am in control while driving this auto. I did have to replace a Power steering pump ($625), but I expected to pay more for the service type work. I would strongly recommend this car.
My wife and I had a 1998 E430 sport, great car, but decided to go with an SUV. It was either a Range Rover or a Benz. The Rover was a little out of our price range, so we went with the ML 55. If we were going to get an ML, I wanted the fast one. Gas mileage is about 18mpg, not great, but this is a very fun and cool SUV, not to mention it will spank every Rover I've seen. Fast, fun to drive, and I got slotted and cross drilled rotors and brake pads off ebay for $345 and only spent two hours doing them myself! No weak brakes on this ML! Will buy another when it gets 90k miles on it. Bought it with 52k miles and no regrets. Great SUV!
Red brembo brakes are a cinch to change, handling is precise, the awd system makes a nicely positive difference on wet pavement, good premium sound system, stable and safe. We also have a safe vehicle discount and pay less on this AMG than our 98 e430 for insurance.
If you want more upgrades than what this has, buy a newer one.
After reading a lot of reviews ripping the ML55 I had to respond with my experience. I did a lot of research prior to purchasing a used ML55 and decided that this is the vehicle I wanted. After 6 months of searching for the right one I landed a one owner '01 w/ 50K miles for $19K. As the previous owner had the vehicle for 5 years all the usual small bugs everybody complains about have been corrected. To say I am happy is an understatement. I went from an '01 Durango into the Benz and could not be more pleased. The power, handling, and comfort are great. I don't know about $65K but for $20K on the used market they can't be beat.
Favorite feature...duhhh.....the engine. I can literally dust anything around short of my wife's M3 and it pulls our boat in real style and comfort. This is a great used truck period.
I have close to 70,000 miles on this ML55 and I didn't have any problems with it. Very fine detail in the leather interior front seats, lots of punch in the engine when you need it most, and the transmission has very smooth shifting. Brakes are great but make sure you use ceramic pads or the wheels will get dirty. Anyone who wants performance will have to pay for it at the pump so don't think it's free. If you drive expensive cars you'll pay for it. I'm very happy, It's an A+.