2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review

Pros & Cons

  • A wide range of engines, comfortable for five, sure-footed in bad weather, high-quality interior materials and construction.
  • Regular V6 is short on low-end torque, no third-row seat option, expensive for its segment, antiquated electronics interface.
List Price Range
$8,150 - $15,995

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class should make a fine choice for shoppers desiring SUV versatility along with the traditional Mercedes traits of quality, prestige and safety.

Vehicle overview

With so many premium-badged luxury SUVs available now, it's easy to forget that just 10 years ago Mercedes-Benz was one of the first with its M-Class. The original, truck-based (body-on-frame) M-Class was a strong seller for the brand, despite a number of early build quality issues related to its new U.S.-based production. A few years ago the second-generation model debuted. Evidently realizing that about the same number of people who actually use their home fitness machines use their SUVs to go off-road, Mercedes gave the new ML (officially now referred to as the M-Class) a carlike unit-body architecture and a revised suspension design that brought a more on-road-biased personality to this premium sport-utility. In addition to improved handling and ride qualities, the second-generation ML received more aggressive styling, higher-quality cabin fitments and new engines.

The M-Class rolls into 2008 with mostly detail changes that include a celebration of its 10th birthday. Mercedes offers the widest array of power plants in the segment, from a fuel-stretching diesel in the ML320 CDI to a supercar-worthy 507-hp V8 in the ML63 AMG. There's also a new mainstream V8 this year. Found in the ML550 model, this latest-generation 5.5-liter V8 cranks out 382 hp -- 80 more than the 5.0-liter V8 found in last year's ML500. The rise in power hasn't come at the expense of fuel economy, either, with the ML500 and ML550 having very similar EPA estimates.

The new engine is welcome, but the 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class faces some serious competition in the $50,000 luxury midsize SUV segment. It's not the only fresh-faced ute on the block, as the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and BMW X5 were all- new or redesigned just last year, and the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg 2 have been heavily revised for 2008. The advantage of the M-Class is that it offers what most folks typically buy Mercedes-Benzes for: a vaultlike feeling of quality and luxury, visible prestige and state-of-the-art safety. What it doesn't offer is a third-row seat. But one can always consider its stablemate, the larger GL-Class, if the ability to carry up to seven passengers is a must.

2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class models

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a midsize, five-passenger luxury SUV. Four trim levels are offered: ML350, ML320 CDI, ML550 and ML63 AMG. The ML350 and 320 CDI are identically equipped with 19-inch wheels, a sunroof, TeleAid, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, maple wood interior trim and a CD player with an auxiliary audio jack. To celebrate the ML's 10th birthday, there will be the ML350 Edition 10, which comes in either black or white and features split-spoke wheels, tinted headlight and taillight bezels, a two-tone leather interior with birch wood and aluminum accents, heated seats, a CD changer and the obligatory "Edition 10" floor mats and exterior badges.

To the regular ML350, the ML550 adds AMG-style bumpers and (19-inch) wheels, running boards and heated front seats. The ML63 AMG features special interior and exterior styling details, as well as a sport-tuned air suspension, 20-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, active headlights, corner-illuminating foglights and ultra-supportive sport seats.

For all but the ML63, there are many options, most grouped in expensive packages. Feature highlights include an adjustable air suspension, park assist, adaptive cruise control, adaptive xenon HID headlights, leather upholstery, a navigation system with a rearview camera, a rear-seat entertainment system and a Harman Kardon Logic7 surround-sound audio system with satellite radio. Upgraded front seats with driver memory, heated front and rear seats, tri-zone climate control, a sunroof and a power liftgate are also available.

2008 Highlights

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class sees additions to its standard and optional packages' features lists. Minimal visual changes include newly standard chrome accents (grille, door handles and exhaust tips) that spice up the looks of this year's ML. Last year's ML500 model has been replaced by the ML550 -- the number change signifies a new 5.5-liter V8. It provides 80 more horsepower than the ML500's V8. The ML350 "Edition 10" celebrates the 10th anniversary of the M-Class with special exterior and interior trim, as well as a few more luxury features.

Performance & mpg

A variety of engines are available for the 2008 M-Class. The ML320 CDI has a 3.0-liter turbodiesel rated at 215 hp and a stout 398 pound-feet of torque. Being a diesel, it provides better fuel mileage (rated at 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway) and range (more than 600 miles) than a comparably sized gasoline engine. Note that due to stricter emissions standards, the ML320 is unavailable in California-level emission states. The ML350 has a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

Offering brisk performance, the ML550 boasts a 5.5-liter V8 that pumps out 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. Should that not be enough, there is the ML63 AMG with a 6.3-liter V8 making a stunning 503 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. That's enough to propel this SUV from zero to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. All models are fitted with a seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Maximum tow capacity when properly equipped is 5,000 pounds.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, hill descent/ascent control and a full complement of airbags (front seat side and full-length side curtain) are all standard. In government crash tests, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class posted perfect five-star scores in both frontal- and side-impact testing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the SUV a top score of "Good" for its protection of occupants in frontal-offset crashes.

Driving

Although the 2008 Mercedes ML's steering is precise, it doesn't offer much feedback and feels a little dead in the center. The brakes, however, offer a sure-footed pedal and stop this SUV quickly. Despite some body roll, the near 5,000-pound, all-wheel-drive ML is a predictable and stable handler. It offers a confident feel during inclement weather as well as when negotiating twisty mountain roads on the way to the hiking or mountain biking trailhead.

Interior

Generous fillets of bird's eye maple wood and brushed aluminum trim lend the cabin a warm, upscale ambiance. Large front cupholders and adequate storage cubbies come in handy on road trips. Passenger room is especially impressive, as the ML affords rear-seat passengers more than 39 inches of legroom -- nearly 6 inches greater than the RX 350 offers. Folding down the rear seat provides a maximum 72 cubic feet of cargo room, which is on the small side for the segment.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great car
jojay1,06/05/2015
ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
I have been owning my 2008 ml350 since three years, 54000 miles on it. Actually it's an enjoyable suv, smooth, very powerful with a good fuel consumption. I can say that the roads where i have been driving it are bad, but the ML can easily deal with it. No real problem to share and great reability from this car. I really love it and advice it to anyone who is searching for a good and solid suv.
2008 MB ML350
Erik_harnisch@hotmail.com,02/16/2016
ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
Great SUV, with lots of comforts and toys. Solid road handling, good power. Replaced at 65k miles, in 2015: Front Swaybar Suspension Bushings, Front Upper and Lower control arms bushings. New brakes and new tires with alignment. Check power steering leaks at control head and power steering pump. I recommend no air suspension, as it's one less system to maintain. Update at 115k miles (2019): After 4 years of driving, still solid car, still happy with purchase. New brakes in 2015, brake wear is normal and i'm looking at my 2nd brake job likely within the next year. Tire wear is great, still plenty left on the Pirelli Scorpion Verdes i put on in 2015. Major repair was an AC compressor failure. At around 90k miles. Other repairs are minors: Minor repairs included Rear Hatch Power Lock at 100k miles, Centrifugal Oil Seal and Cam Seals at 115k miles, minor seeping at front right differential.
Best SUV ever!
RBL,09/09/2010
I ordered this car with all available options. Towing my horses on highways and hills is effortless and I have NEVER gotten less than 20mpg. I find the nav system very accurate but data entry is a pain. The Airmatic suspension makes a HUGE difference in the ride and handling quality over lesser-equipped M Class cars. There have been zero defects, so my only expense has been to replace the tires and 3 maintenance stops. An outstanding vehicle made in the USA!
Very nice
hemi_torque,02/23/2014
We have one without the airmatic setup….Lightens the weight of the ML and eliminates any potential air springs issues in the future. It has blazing acceleration - when launched, even at part throttle, it can feel like you just got rear ended by a truck that forgot to stop. You'd have to see it to believe what cars it can out accelerate on a regular basis. Has a solid yet comfortable ride. Structure is very solid & tough. Engine & exhaust are tuned to be quiet & relaxed, and so don't be expecting high performance sounds. Has been very reliable so far. It's also a very safe SUV with great crash test results. MPG is actually not bad considering this level of power in an SUV package.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2008 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
    Not Tested
  • 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 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Used 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Overview

The Used 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is offered in the following submodels: M-Class SUV, M-Class ML63 AMG, M-Class Diesel. Available styles include ML350 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A), ML550 4dr SUV AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A), ML320 CDI 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A), ML350 Edition 10 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A), and ML63 AMG 4dr SUV AWD (6.2L 8cyl 7A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 is priced between $8,150 and$8,150 with odometer readings between 115204 and115204 miles.
  • The Used 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML63 AMG is priced between $15,995 and$15,995 with odometer readings between 91375 and91375 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2008 M-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,150 and mileage as low as 91375 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

Can't find a used 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz M-Class for sale - 1 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $23,146.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 4 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $25,592.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz M-Class for sale - 11 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $24,579.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 1 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $17,898.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz M-Class lease specials