Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
List price range
$3,000 - $11,995

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.

Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class for Sale

Mercedes-Benz M-Class 2006 ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
129,370 miles
Used 2006
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML350
(1)
AUTO WISE
4.8 mi away
List$7,790
Est.Loan: $159/mo
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Mercedes-Benz M-Class 2006 ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
92,139 miles
Used 2006
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML350
Snap Car Buying
8.3 mi away
List$9,440
Est.Loan: $193/mo
Fair Deal!
Fair Deal!
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Mercedes-Benz M-Class 2006 ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
95,390 miles
Used 2006
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML350
Shell Motors
8.8 mi away
List$7,450
Est.Loan: $152/mo
Good Deal!
Good Deal!
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Mercedes-Benz M-Class 2006 ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
90,678 miles
Used 2006
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML350
(1)
Perfect Auto
17.6 mi away
List$9,485
Est.Loan: $194/mo
Fair Deal!
Fair Deal!
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Mercedes-Benz M-Class 2006 ML500 4dr SUV AWD (5.0L 8cyl 7A)
57,477 miles
Used 2006
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML500
List$11,995
Est.Loan: $245/mo
Fair Deal!
Fair Deal!
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Mercedes-Benz M-Class 2006 ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
136,000 miles
Used 2006
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML350
List$3,000
Est.Loan: $62/mo
Great Deal!
Great Deal!
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Dealer Notes
100%25 GAURANTEED ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ON MOST VEHICLES. AUCTIONS ARE HELD EVERY SATURDAY AT 12%3A00 NOON. YOU CAN ALSO MAKE OFFERS DAILY WITH A MINIMUM DEPOSIT OF %2524200.00 AND MUST BE PAID IN FULL WITHIN 7-10 DAYS WWW.BRANCHAVEAUTOAUCTION.COM The front windshield is in excellent condition. The paint is in great shape and condition. No dings are visible on this vehicle. The tires are slightly worn with about 75%25 of tread life left. Interior Condition is average for this vehicle. The exterior is clean and in good condition. The engine is functioning properly and has no issues. This vehicle has no previous collision damage. The transmission shifts very smoothly. The brakes are in great condition. The battery is in good condition. The car was previously owned by a non smoker Air Filtration,�_< Center Console Trim - Alloy,�_< Dash Trim - Alloy,�_< Door Trim - Alloy,�_< Floor Mat Material - Carpet,�_< Floor Mats - Front,�_< Front Air Conditioning - Automatic Climate Control,�_< Front Air Conditioning Zones - Dual,�_< Shift Knob Trim - Alloy,�_< Armrests - Rear Folding,�_< Rear Heat - Independently Controlled,�_< Center Console - Front Console With Storage,�_< Cruise Control,�_< Cupholders,�_< Multi-Function Remote - Keyless Entry,�_< Power Steering,�_< Retained Accessory Power,�_< Steering Wheel - Tilt And Telescopic,�_< Steering Wheel Mounted Controls - Audio,�_< Steering Wheel Mounted Controls - Paddle Shifter,�_< Steering Wheel Mounted Controls - Phone,�_< Storage - Cargo Net,�_< Storage - Cargo Tie-Down Anchors And Hooks,�_< Storage - Door Pockets,�_< Storage - Grocery Bag Holder,�_< Storage - Seatback,�_< Power Outlet%28S%29 - Front,�_< Cargo Area Light,�_< Reading Lights - Front,�_< Abs - 4-Wheel,�_< Axle Ratio - 3.90,�_< Braking Assist,�_< Electronic Brakeforce Distribution,�_< Front Suspension Classification - Independent,�_< Hill Ascent Assist,�_< Rear Stabilizer Bar,�_< Rear Suspension Classification - Independent,�_< Rear Suspension Type - Multi-Link,�_< Stability Control,�_< Traction Control,�_< Hill Descent Control,�_< Front Brake Type - Ventilated Disc,�_< Front Suspension Type - Double Wishbone,�_< Rear Brake Type - Disc,�_< Clock,�_< In-Dash Cd - Single Disc,�_< Phone - Pre-Wired For Phone,�_< Radio - Am/Fm,�_< Speed Sensitive Volume Control,�_< Trip Computer,�_< Gauge - Tachometer,�_< Warnings And Reminders - Tire Fill Alert,�_< Daytime Running Lights,�_< Exterior Entry Lights,�_< Front Fog Lights,�_< Headlights - Auto On/Off,�_< Liftgate Window - Fixed,�_< Rear Door Type - Liftgate,�_< Rear Fog Lights,�_< Tire Pressure Monitoring System,�_< Spare Tire Mount Location - Inside,�_< Tire Speed Rating - H,�_< Tire Type - All Season,�_< Wheel Diameter - 17 Inch,�_< Front Wipers - Intermittent,�_< Rear Wiper,�_< Window Defogger - Rear,�_< Power Windows - Remotely Operated,�_< Child Seat Anchors,�_< Front Airbags - Dual,�_< Power Door Locks,�_< Rolling Code Security,�_< Side Airbags - Front,�_< Side Curtain Airbags - Front,�_< Side-Curtain Airbag Rollover Sensor,�_< Anti-Theft System - Alarm,�_< Anti-Theft System - Engine Immobilizer,�_< Airbag Deactivation - Occupant Sensing Passenger,�_< Side Mirrors - Heated,�_< Side Mirrors - Integrated Turn Signals,�_< Child Safety Door Locks,�_< Front Seat Type - Bucket,�_< Seatbelt Force Limiters,�_< Seatbelt Pretensioners,�_< Upholstery - Leatherette,�_< Driver Seat Manual Adjustments - Lumbar,�_< Driver Seat Power Adjustments - 8,�_< Front Headrests - 2,�_< Front Headrests - Adjustable,�_< Passenger Seat Power Adjustments - 8,�_< Rear Headrests - 3,�_< Rear Headrests - Adjustable,�_< Rear Seat Type - Split-Bench,�_< Rear Seatbelts - Center 3-Point,�_< Rear Seat Folding - Split,�_< Passenger Seat Power Adjustments - Height
Mercedes-Benz M-Class 2006 ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
74,701 miles
Used 2006
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML350
List$10,995
Est.Loan: $225/mo
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Dealer Notes
You will instantly feel at home once you step into this Mercedes-Benz M-Class loaded with leather, sunroof and all wheel drive. The odometer can speak volumes on a vehicle&#39;s reliance and this M-Class&#39;s low mileage will assure you of its solid dependence. Building upon our commitment to excel in customer satisfaction, every vehicle within our dealership is subjected to an unmitigated MULTI-POINT INSPECTION. You will feel completely pampered by all the luxurious amenities that this baby has to offer. This Mercedes-Benz M-Class comes fully equipped at a great price. Come by and test drive it today. This baby &#39;purrs like a kitten&#39; under the hood. The flawless finish looks like it was just driven off the lot. While not totally new looking, the interior is quite nice and clean with no stains or tears in it and is very presentable. We provide a free AutoCheck report without the run around and hassle on this vehicle and all others on our lot. Cash Buyers Welcome. Come In and Make A Deal%2521 We are located only minutes from Sperryville%2521 Our amazing mechanics help continue your satisfaction by providing long lasting service for your new SUV. %2A%2A%2A Check out our full inventory at www.theuag.com. %2A%2A%2A%2A WE HAVE A LARGE SELECTION OF PRE-OWNED LUXURY VEHICLES, FEATURING BMW, PORSCHE, LEXUS, AUDI, HUMMER, CADILLAC, MERCEDES,AS WELL AS DOMESTIC CARS,TRUCKS,AND SUV&#39;S. WE ALSO HAVE A FULL SERVICE DEPARTMENT TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS. 4WD/AWD,Automatic Headlights,Cargo Area Cover,Cargo Area Tiedowns,Daytime Running Lights,Electronic Brake Assistance,Front Air Dam,Front Power Lumbar Support,Full Size Spare Tire,Interval Wipers,Power Seat%28s,Power Trunk Lid,Rear Wiper,Second Row Folding Seat,Steering Mounted Controls,Telescopic Steering Column,Tire Pressure Monitor,AM/FM Stereo,Adjustable Steering,Air Bag%28s,Air Conditioning,Anti-Lock Brakes,CD Player,Center Console,Climate Control,Cruise Control,Fog Lights,Heated Mirror%28s,Keyless Entry,Leather Seats,Leather Upholstery,Power Brakes,Power Locks,Power Mirror%28s,Power Mirrors,Power Steering,Power Windows,Premium Audio,Premium Wheels,Seat Memory,Security System,Stability Control,Steering Wheel Controls,Sunroof,Tachometer,Traction Control,Trip Computer
Mercedes-Benz M-Class 2006 ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
141,846 miles
Used 2006
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML350
(18)
Hagerstown Kia
40.1 mi away
List$5,222
Est.Loan: $107/mo
Great Deal!
Great Deal!
View Details
Dealer Notes
Price REDUCED, CLEAN CARFAX, Loaded. 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML 350 4MATIC? 4D Sport Utility 3.5L V6 DOHC 4MATIC? Iridium Silver MetallicSOLD AS-IS! Here is your chance to save big money on this Pre-Auction vehicle offered by Hagerstown Honda/KIA. **NOT FOR SALE TO MARYLAND RESIDENTS** Call before we send it to Auction @ 800-800-4727. TO RECIEVE THE INTERNET SALE PRICE THIS VEHICLE DESCRIPTION PAGE MUST BE PRINTED AND PRESENTED BEFORE PURCHASE!
Mercedes-Benz M-Class 2006 ML500 4dr SUV AWD (5.0L 8cyl 7A)
93,037 miles
Used 2006
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML500
(5)
Car Web
47 mi away
List$9,997
Est.Loan: $204/mo
Fair Deal!
Fair Deal!
View Details
Dealer Notes
NO ACCIDENT... 1 OWNER... 26 DOCUMENTED SERVICE RECORDS... THIS VEHICLE CAME FROM CALIFORNIA WITH NO RUST!!!! THIS VEHICLE COMES EQUIPPED WITH HEATED POWER LEATHER SEATS, POWER SUNROOF, POWER WINDOWS, POWER LOCKS, POWER MIRRORS, AIR SUSPENSION, ADJUSTABLE SPORT/COMFORT SUSPENSION, OFF ROAD ASSIST, DOWN HILL ASSIST, PARKING SENSORS, TOW HITCH, 3 PERSON MEMORY, HEADLIGHT WASHERS, HID HEADLIGHTS, NAVIGATION... Please visit our web site at www.carwebinc.com for more detailed information and free carfax report available on this vehicle. To set up an appointment for test drive feel free to contact our sales team at (888) 868-1437. Vehicle sold with 1 month or 1000 miles power train warranty. Prices exclude, tax, tag, title and processing fee of $649.
Mercedes-Benz M-Class 2006 ML500 4dr SUV AWD (5.0L 8cyl 7A)
112,750 miles
Used 2006
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML500
(3)
MBL Auto
57.1 mi away
List$7,997
Est.Loan: $164/mo
View Details
Dealer Notes
ENTERTAINMENT PKG -inc: harman/kardon Logic 7 system glovebox 6-disc CD changer SUNROOF PKG -inc: pwr sunroof DVD NAVIGATION SYSTEM Traction Control Four Wheel Drive Stability Control Tires - Front Performance Tires - Rear Performance Aluminum Wheels Power Steering 4-Wheel Disc Brakes ABS Brake Assist Automatic Headlights Fog Lamps Daytime Running Lights Heated Mirrors Power Mirror(s) Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors Privacy Glass Intermittent Wipers Variable Speed Intermittent Wipers Rain Sensing Wipers Power Driver Seat Power Passenger Seat Heated Front Seat(s) Driver Adjustable Lumbar Pass-Through Rear Seat Rear Bench Seat Leather Seats Premium Synthetic Seats Power Outlet Floor Mats Woodgrain Interior Trim Adjustable Steering Wheel Steering Wheel Audio Controls Leather Steering Wheel Trip Computer Tire Pressure Monitor Power Windows Keyless Entry Power Door Locks Engine Immobilizer Remote Trunk Release Cruise Control Universal Garage Door Opener Security System Telematics Climate Control Multi-Zone A/C Rear Defrost AM/FM Stereo CD Player Auxiliary Audio Input Driver Vanity Mirror Passenger Vanity Mirror Driver Illuminated Vanity Mirror Passenger Illuminated Visor Mirror Front Reading Lamps Rear Reading Lamps Driver Air Bag Passenger Air Bag Passenger Air Bag Sensor Front Side Air Bag Front Head Air Bag Rear Head Air BagAdditional InformationGrille Color - Chrome Air Filtration Armrests - Rear Folding Center Console Trim - Alloy Center Console Trim - Wood Dash Trim - Wood Door Trim - Wood Floor Mat Material - Carpet Floor Mats - Front Floor Mats - Rear Front Air Conditioning - Automatic Climate Control Front Air Conditioning Zones - Dual Rear Heat - Independently Controlled Shift Knob Trim - Alloy Steering Wheel Trim - Leather Cargo Area Light Center Console - Front Console With Storage Cruise Control Cupholders Power Outlet(S) - Front Power Steering Reading Lights - Front Retained Accessory Power Steering Wheel - Tilt And Telescopic Steering Wheel Mounted Controls - Paddle Shifter Steering Wheel Mounted Controls - Phone Storage - Cargo Net Storage - Door Pockets Storage - Grocery Bag Holder Storage - Seatback Universal Remote Transmitter Front Brake Type - Ventilated Disc Front Suspension Type - Double Wishbone Hill Descent Control Rear Brake Type - Ventilated Disc Abs - 4-Wheel Axle Ratio - 3.70 Braking Assist Electronic Brakeforce Distribution Front Suspension Classification - Independent Hill Ascent Assist Rear Stabilizer Bar Rear Suspension Classification - Independent Rear Suspension Type - Multi-Link Stability Control Traction Control Gauge - Tachometer Warnings And Reminders - Tire Fill Alert Clock External Temperature Display In-Dash Cd - Single Disc Phone - Pre-Wired For Phone Radio - Am/Fm Satellite Communications - Teleaid Speed Sensitive Volume Control Trip Computer Warnings And Reminders - Low Fuel Level Daytime Running Lights Exterior Entry Lights Front Fog Lights Headlights - Auto Delay Off Headlights - Auto On/Off Liftgate Window - Fixed Rear Door Type - Liftgate Rear Fog Lights Spare Tire Mount Location - Inside Tire Speed Rating - H Tire Type - All Season Wheel Diameter - 18 Inch Tire Pressure Monitoring System Power Windows - Remotely Operated Window Defogger - Rear Front Wipers - Intermittent Front Wipers - Rain Sensing Rear Privacy Glass Rear Wiper Roof Rack Airbag Deactivation - Occupant Sensing Passenger Anti-Theft System - Alarm Child Safety Door Locks Child Seat Anchors Front Airbags - Dual Power Door Locks Rolling Code Security Side Airbags - Front Side Curtain Airbags - Front Side Mirrors - Heated Side-Curtain Airbag Rollover Sensor Driver Seat - Heated Driver Seat Manual Adjustments - Lumbar Driver Seat Power Adjustments - 8 Driver Seat Power Adjustments - Height Front Headrests - 2 Front Headrests - Adjustable Front Seat Type - Bucket Passenger Seat - Heated Passenger Seat Power Adjustments - 8 Passenger Seat Power Adjustments - Height Rear Headrests - 3 Rear Headrests - Adjustable Rear Seat Folding - Split Rear Seat Type - Split-Bench Rear Seatbelts - Center 3-Point Seatbelt Force Limiters Seatbelt Pretensioners Upholstery - Leather Visit MBL Auto online at mblauto.com to see more pictures of this vehicle or call us at 540-479-6333 today to schedule your test drive.
Mercedes-Benz M-Class 2006 ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
171,296 miles
Used 2006
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
ML350
ListNot Listed
View Details

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

vehicle overview

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.

trim levels & features

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.

performance & mpg

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.

safety

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.

driving

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.

interior

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.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

Balance shaft recall & reliability
joezep, 1/20/2012
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?
Great Car
robliski, 2/1/2015
I've had this car for 5.5 years now. It's been great to us and has never left us stranded. This is a car that needs an owner that timely addresses all preventive maintenance items before they become repair items, because then it gets expensive. The all wheel drive system is great and it is like a tank in rain and snow. Solid! Good power. Very comfy ride. Plenty of room.
ML350 - Don't touch one!
dutchy01, 4/20/2012
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.
2006 ML350 - excellent SUV
Dan Crick, 11/30/2006
The 2006 ML 350 has more than enough power especially when bolted to the 7 speed automatic transmission. I do not know why anyone would purchase the ML500 after driving the ML350. Acceleration is adequate to any task short of the drag strip. The car is extremely quiet even at high speeds. The Harmon Kardon stereo is the best factory set-up I have heard and is significantly better than the Bose systems I have had. I do not like the cruise control stalk as it is too close to the turn signal stalk. You must also pay close attention to options as they can be confusing. Overall an excellent SUV and MB provides lifetime roadside assistance at no additional cost!
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Features & Specs

MPG
14 city / 19 hwy
Seats 5
7-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
268 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
13 city / 17 hwy
Seats 5
7-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
302 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
More About This Model

This silver 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML350 got me a free cup of designer coffee. No, it didn't wheel itself up to the local caffeine counter and order a tall vanilla nonfat latte, but it did inspire the Lexus RX 330 owner ahead of me in the drive-through lane to pay for my latte. She even gave my ride a Fonzie-like thumbs-up.

It's no wonder that people stop to give the redesigned 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML350 an appreciative second look. In an attempt to turn the sales stampede away from the RX 330, BMW X5 and Volkswagen Touareg, Mercedes has caffeinated the new ML with a dose of modern performance, refinement and style.

The result is a competitive M-Class that's light-years ahead of the old one, but this first-class SUV doesn't come without a significant increase in price. With a base MSRP of $40,470, the 2006 ML350 has jumped above the RX 330 and Touareg, but remains significantly below the X5 which starts at just under $43,000 with an automatic transmission.

Lexus-Like Looker
One walk around the ML350 and it seems Mercedes took the Lexus' softer shell along to the drawing table when penning the ML's exterior. Less an upright soldier, and more like a relaxed maiden, the ML350 has flowing lines that billow to a slightly rounder look. But details like the multisurfaced taillamps and the sharp line that slices across the doors to encircle the rear fenders keep the overall design from getting too soft.

Stretched longer and wider, yet with less ground clearance than the old ML, the ML350 also has a more pronounced stance. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels shod with Michelin Radial XSE all-season tires complete the look.

Refined Room for Five
With its two-tone gray interior, our Mercedes ML350's cabin was finished to perfection and awash in silvery light. Leather-trimmed seats coddle front passengers with the same effortlessness as a relaxing sofa, but are bolstered and firm enough to prevent back fatigue after hours on the road. Optional front-seat heaters ensure passenger comfort.

Nestled in the center stack is an optional DVD navigation system integrated with a telephone and a 400-watt Harmon Kardon stereo system. At first glance the system seems more daunting than a barista's espresso machine, but after a couple of minutes of random button pushing, it's refreshingly intuitive. The '06 M-Class is also the first Mercedes that offers iPod connectivity. See the stereo review for more details.

Large helpings of bird's eye maple wood and brushed aluminum trim help define the handsome, sporty stack and console which has been modernized to include two of the largest cupholders man has ever seen.

In the back, passengers have over 39 inches of legroom to stretch their gams, which is nearly 6 inches more than the RX 330 offers and almost four more than found in the X5's rear seat. Rear shoulder room is also the widest among the competition. Climate controls are mounted behind the front center console, and there's a center armrest in the rear seat that folds down to display cupholders large enough to hold a couple of road javas.

Fancy Carry-All
Although the 2006 ML350 is nearly 6 inches longer and 4 inches wider than its predecessor, its storage area has been cut to 72.4 cubic feet when the 60/40-split rear seat is folded down. Mercedes engineers chose to allocate the extra inches to the passenger cabin instead of the cargo bay. While the smaller RX 330 boasts a maximum 85 cubic feet of space, the Benz isn't at the bottom end of the spectrum either. The Touareg, which is closest in overall exterior dimensions to the ML350, offers slightly less.

The reduced capacity didn't bother us a lick. The ML350 easily handled everything from a mountain of camera gear to a gaggle of dancing girls' costumes, and with a carpeted bay, there was no chance the little tulle dainties would get sullied. Our only cargo area complaint is the lack of a power rear hatch. The ML's fifth door is heavy and can hardly be closed with one hand in a single motion.

Smaller Engine, More Power
The ML350's new 3.5-liter DOHC V6 makes 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque compared to the old ML's 3.7-liter SOHC V6 which pumped out just 232 hp. The Lexus and BMW produce considerably less power at 230 and 225 hp, respectively, although the trade-off is better fuel economy ratings.

Mercedes' new engine is more fuel-efficient than the old V6 and helps the ML earn a Super Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) rating, but it still only scores a combined city/highway rating of 18 mpg compared to the Lexus' 21 mpg figure.

Gone is the traditional console-mounted shifter and five-speed automatic transmission from the previous ML. Instead, the new ML350 gets a seven-speed automatic with an electronic shifter mounted to the steering column, similar to the setup in a BMW 7 Series.

It took some getting used to since you push a button for "Park" and it doesn't offer the same physical motion that confirms each gear change. What you get instead is a light beep and a grinding metallic noise as it engages drive or reverse. We're not sure if the noise was unique to our test vehicle, or if the transmission was supposed to sound like that, but we do know it was annoying.

Mercedes also put dual rocker buttons on the backside of the steering wheel for shifting gears manually, but the seven-speed tranny is geared so well and timed so perfectly, you won't need to bother.

Driving Dynamics
That powertrain is as good as it gets in a V6 SUV. On the road, the ML350 possesses plenty of passing power and it feels quick on its feet around town. At the track it recorded a 0-60 run of 8.2 seconds, which is a tenth of a second quicker than the time BMW reports for its X5 3.0i with an automatic. If you want more punch off the line, Mercedes also offers the V8-powered ML500, which sends 302 hp through the same seven-speed transmission.

Steering is precise, but doesn't offer much feedback and feels a little dead in the center. The brakes, however, supply a surefooted pedal and stop this large SUV from 60 mph in an impressively short distance of less than 129 feet.

Despite some body roll, the 4,788-pound, all-wheel-drive ML is a predictable and stable handler. When switched off during instrumented testing, the stability control program would still interfere during slalom runs, which kept the Benz at a cruising speed of 57.5 miles per hour through our coned course.

Overall, the ML just feels good around town. It's easy to maneuver and park, unlike some large, unwieldy SUVs, but it still offers a solid sense of luxurious security.

Double Latte With Extra Yummy Foam
Mercedes has gone back to the ML drawing board and come away with a total package that offers much to recommend itself. A brightened and refined cabin, spacious cargo bay and a solid if not exciting powertrain combine to make the ML350 a success. But front-runners aren't always the most economical choice. Just like a Starbucks latte, the Mercedes-Benz ML350 may not be the cheapest choice in town, but it will make your taste buds tingle.

Stereo Evaluation

System Score: 9.5

Components: The premium 400-watt Harman Kardon Logic7 audio system available in the ML350 (included in the $1,080 Entertainment Package) is nothing short of fabulous for an SUV. The key pieces are an in-dash head unit with an LCD display that flips open to reveal a single CD slot with MP3 capability, a subwoofer, 12 speakers placed throughout the cabin, and a six-disc CD changer that is mounted in the glovebox. The setup employs digital sound processing, seven-channel surround-sound technology and satellite control buttons conveniently located on the steering wheel.

The optional iPod Integration Kit provides a harness in the glovebox that charges your iPod and ties the portable MP3 player in with the factory stereo. Menu, artist and playlist information are displayed on the navigation screen, and steering wheel controls make changing tracks a breeze. It works with any of the docking port-equipped iPod products (Regular, Photo and Mini), but does not work with any other brand MP3 player. The kit costs $300, and installation should take about an hour at any authorized Mercedes-Benz dealership.

Performance: Audio quality doesn't get much better than this, but as nice as this system is, you can't adjust the midrange, just the bass and treble. The surround-sound impression is surprisingly good and offers richer, fuller sound for all seating positions, although the standard sound with surround turned off is nothing to complain about either.

We have complained before about the buttons that control this system, and we haven't changed our minds. Many of them are labeled by adjacent text in the display panel that can require more eyes-down concentration than we like in a moving vehicle. Mercedes has eased the ergos to an extent by putting some functions on steering wheel controls and some readouts in another display in front of the driver, but the satellite controls still require a two-step process to seek preset stations.

Other small things, like the scan button that previews 9 seconds of each song as it scans the tracks on a CD and the option to mix CD tracks like you would on an iPod Shuffle, make up for it.

Best Feature: Power with clarity.

Worst Feature: Preset buttons are a reach across the display screen.

Conclusion: After a few minutes of random button pushing, the system is easy to operate and provides sound quality you'd be proud to have in your home. — Kelly Toepke

Second Opinion

Editor-in-Chief Karl Brauer says:
What does it take to make a great premium SUV in today's highly competitive market? Strong power? Carlike ride and handling? High-tech features? Luxury amenities? The answer, of course, is "yes" as in "yes, all of the above must be present, and that's just for starters."

The ML350 has each of those characteristics, so it meets the baseline requirements of a "great premium SUV" in 2006. But so does the Acura MDX, BMW X5, Cadillac SRX, Lexus RX and Volvo XC90. But those other cars also possess traits specific to their brands. The Acura and Lexus have whisper-soft cabins at highway speeds and ultrarefined drivetrains, plus they offer strong value if you go easy on the options list. The BMW has superb driving dynamics, as does the Cadillac. The Volvo has benchmark safety features, not to mention a body structure capable of withstanding impacts from, say, a low-flying meteor.

With the ML I can't think of anything truly compelling about the vehicle, and at the same time I didn't appreciate the gremlinlike noises it made when using the electronic shifter, nor was I a fan of the relatively soft suspension and the somewhat weak power just off idle (though the 3.5-liter engine felt stronger at mid- to high-range speeds).

Without driving the M-Class back-to-back against its competitors I can't identify anything truly wrong with the vehicle. Problem is, I can't think of anything truly right about it, either.

Senior Editor Scott Oldham says:
There's nothing really wrong with the new ML350. It's a light-year or two ahead of the V6 Volkswagen Touareg I drove recently, and it's so much better than its predecessor that comparing the two is just futile. Still, for my 48,000 simoleons, as Boss Hogg used to say, I want more.

The problem is I'm not sure what I want more of. The M's drivetrain is exceptional, its seating is perfect and its new look is as modern as anything out there, if not exactly trendsetting. I can also give props to its fit and finish and its ergonomics, and I really like the interior's new look, which includes simple instrumentation and more aluminum trim than a cyborg sent from the future.

Interior space isn't the issue either. The ML swallowed my very pregnant wife, our very hyper 2-year-old and our very hairy pound puppy with ease. Still, something is missing, and I just can't put my finger on it.

Wait a minute. I know. Despite very good driving dynamics, this is the first Mercedes-Benz that I can't really remember driving after I drive it. It's pretty wonderful in every measurable way, but it's somehow uninteresting at the same time. It's the first Benz that feels sanitized for my protection.

What's next, a Lexus teeming with personality? Hey, at this point nothing would surprise me.

Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Overview

The Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A), and ML500 4dr SUV AWD (5.0L 8cyl 7A).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 is priced between $3,000 and$10,995 with odometer readings between 74701 and141846 miles.
  • The Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML500 is priced between $7,997 and$11,995 with odometer readings between 57477 and112750 miles.

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