2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV

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Mercedes-Benz M-Class Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 7-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 268 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/19 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

  • Faster, lighter and more comfortable than before, the redesigned 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class has what it takes to regain prestige in the expanded luxury SUV market.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Fresh styling inside and out, comfortable for five, extensive array of safety features, surefooted in bad weather, easy-to-use navigation system

  • Cons

    V6 is short on low-end torque, no third-row seat option, expensive for its class.

  • What's New for 2006

    A completely redesigned M-Class debuts for 2006.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (116 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Unreliable overrated verhicle

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Vehicle: 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)

- Balance Shaft replaced - 8 sensors replaced in 8 month span - 2 Ignition coils replaced - MAF sensor replaced - ECU Connector replaced - Headlight wiring insulation cracked (and shortcut) - The wheel wells are covered in some kind of fabric(?) which will come loose - Rear bulbs keep burning out - Subwoofer blown - Rear windshield wiper does not complete cycle - Interior vents adjusters falling apart (glued?) - Ratting in left front door - Rear hatch rattling - Lots of rattling when interior is cold - Seat Belt lock stops working - Rear ashtray fell apart - Idling erratic I traded it in for an Acura MDX, what a breeze, no rattles, smooth ride, and all options standard

Maybe luck of the draw

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Vehicle: 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)

Some people may have bought a "monday or friday" car, meaning the days nobody wants to work, a few mishaps made down the assembly line( yes you can research and find out what day our car was born on FYI) However, I'm surprised at all the bad reviews. This is my second mercedes but first ML truck. I love it truely & thanking God i have not experienced the nightmares of others. I get so many compliments.I will admit the wiring harness had to be fixed by dealer( free of charge) but other than that the car is perfect total class.. Mercedes is worth the money and yes expensive to maintain but hey... you gotta Pay to Play right..

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Ml350 - don't touch one!

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Vehicle: 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)

If you research this vehicle you will find they have problems with the balance shaft and this equals expensive repairs. MB will not admit a problem exists but the blogs show this to be untrue. They have also introduced a replacement (read upgrade) kit to address their non existent problems. My experience has been that a cog on the balance shaft has disintegrated causing much internal damage. The engine had to be removed and parts replaced. 30 hours labour. Can you afford the risk? I currently have 2 MB's but will not touch another one.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

Balance shaft recall & reliability

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Vehicle: 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)

There's a ballnce shaft problem where MB extended the warantee for 10 years on this $5,800 job. One dealer did not know about it. They still hit me $1,800 to replace defective intake manifold that was not covered. This car has a computer from hell giving false signals on light bulbs etc. Not nearly as reliable as my 99 E430. Truck ate about $10k in repairs this year. I expected a lot better quality from MB but this is true for all German cars lately. Why pay this kind of money when cars casting half are more reliable?

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Ml goes up in smokes

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Vehicle: 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)

My daugther spilled some water in the back seat and within minutes, the wipers went wild (couldn't turn it off), the windows rolled down by themselves and various warnings signs came up on the dashboard (i.e. brake fluids malfunction). Then, smoke started to rise from the passenger side. This all happened while driving. How do you design a vehicle that malfunctions like that with a little bit of water spill? Why is the electrical panel located underneath the passenger side seat? What is the electrical system better protected? I think this should be a design defect and warrants a recall.

"a service nightmare"

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Vehicle: 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)

The styling and sturdiness of the ML350 is great. The Harmon Kardon sound is very good. The trouble I have experienced has been the worst of any vehicle I have ever owned. I have it in the shop now for balance shaft replacement ( out of warranty and a few grand to fix) plus I was told that the transmission control module needs to be replaced ( another $1700). I have had the temperature controls reprogrammed ($150) parking lamp wiring harness replaced ( $200+) parking brake release handle repaired ( $200) plus normal maintenance service of $1000.00 plus already just this year. Stay away from 2006 ML's - maybe all MB vehicles! My servicing dealer is not good either which compounds the issue.

Full 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review

What's New for 2006

A completely redesigned M-Class debuts for 2006.


Since the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class in 1998, many other premium-brand automakers have thrown their hats into the luxury SUV ring. To remain in the hunt, Mercedes has made constant improvements to its midsize SUV, increasing the feature content and performance, updating its looks and addressing the build quality issues that plagued early models.

Even so, the M-Class was falling behind amidst better-handling and better-dressed car-based SUVs. Finally, after eight years using the same platform, Mercedes readied the truck's successor. The 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML350 and ML500 are more powerful, better-handling and loaded with upscale features. Six inches longer overall, the new M-Class rides on a 4-inch-longer wheelbase and is 2 inches wider, though its storage area has been cut to 72.4 cubic feet when the 60/40-split rear seat is folded down. Instead, the extra inches go to the passenger cabin, where occupants enjoy added leg- and shoulder room. Despite the increase in dimensions, a third-row seat is no longer an option, as the all-new R-Class wagon has been designated for the family crowd.

An improvement over the previous body-on-frame design, the 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is built on a unibody chassis that's stiffer, lighter and better able to deliver Mercedes-like ride quality. Stretched longer and wider, yet with less ground clearance than the old ML, the ML350 also has a more aggressive stance. The ML350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with 268 horsepower. The ML500 still uses a 5.0-liter V8, but horsepower is bumped from 288 to 302. Both engines use a seven-speed automatic transmission that sends the power through a permanent four-wheel-drive system.

The design of the cabin isn't radically different than before, but it has an open, airy feel that the old M-Class lacked, and materials quality is much improved with large helpings of wood and aluminum trim. One of the most noticeable changes is the lack of a console-mounted shifter, replaced by a small stalk on the steering column to make room for American-size cupholders. The original M-Class caught a wave of opportunity that lasted longer than even Mercedes could have ever expected. Even though there are now many worthy vehicles in the premium SUV segment, the new Benz's combination of cutting-edge safety features, commendable on-road performance and plentiful creature comforts keep this pioneering luxury SUV right up there with the best in the class.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a five-passenger SUV available in one of two models, ML350 and ML500. The standard ML350 comes standard with full-time four-wheel-drive, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats and a bare-bones four-speaker CD stereo. The ML500 gets 18-inch wheels, speed-sensitive steering, privacy glass, more deluxe Multi-Contour seats with heaters, multizone climate control, a leather interior, walnut trim, and additional chrome detailing. Among the numerous options are active bi-xenon headlamps, 19-inch wheels, a Harman Kardon Logic7 sound system with glovebox-mounted CD changer, a DVD-based navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system, Keyless Go and a sunroof. An off-road package includes a two-speed transfer case, differential locks and a height-adjustable air suspension.

Powertrains and Performance

The ML350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 rated for 268 horsepower. The ML500 uses last year's 5.0-liter V8, but power increases from 288 hp to 302 hp. Both engines use a seven-speed automatic transmission that sends the power through a permanent four-wheel-drive system. The standard 4WD system is intended mainly for winter use; off-road enthusiasts can get low-range gearing by ordering the optional off-road package.


Standard safety features include traction and stability control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, side-impact bags for torso protection and two full-length head curtains. The PreSafe system is optional and adds additional protection in the event of a collision. If the onboard computer determines a collision is imminent, PreSafe can pull the front seatbelts taut, adjust the seats to optimal positions and even close the sunroof to prevent ejection during a rollover. The ML's performance in NHTSA crash testing was impressive, as the Benz posted perfect (five star) scores in both frontal- and side-impact testing, while scoring a still respectable four stars for rollover resistance.

Interior Design and Special Features

There's plenty of room for 6-footers up front and all ML500s come standard with multicontour seats that provide excellent support; ML350s offer them as an option. The Mercedes-Benz M-Class has a tasteful, modern look that doesn't sacrifice functionality. Materials quality is generally very good, and the overall layout is open and airy. Maximum cargo capacity is 72.4 cubic feet, which is less space than the old M-Class offered. Most families will find the SUV plenty roomy, though the heavy rear liftgate will make you want to splurge on the power opener.

Driving Impressions

From behind the wheel, the 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class feels lighter on its feet than the original, yet just as stable. With the optional air-spring suspension, the ride quality is plush and responsive. Throw the new ML into a corner and it rolls moderately, understeers predictably and sticks longer than you'd expect. On the road, the ML350 possesses plenty of passing power, but feels a bit shy on torque from a stop. If you want more punch off the line, spring for the V8-powered ML500, which sends 302 hp through the same seven-speed transmission.

Talk About The 2006 M-Class

Read more about the 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 19
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs