I own 3 Mercedes Benz's. A 2006 S500 with 120,000 miles, a CLK550 with 50,000 miles and the 2009 ML350 with 53,000 miles. Out of these 3, the first 2 are manufactured in Germany. The ML is made here in the USA. The first 2 get 24-27 mpg on a long trip. The ML350 gets around 20mpg. Heres the issues. The ML is not made as well as the other 2. It has had rear hatch issues, sunroof issues (just had to replace the switch on the sunroof, cost almost $1,000) and multiple other very minor issues that always seem to cost between $500 and $1000. The cover of the drivers rear view mirror popped off. Everything functioned, but the cover would sometimes pop off in the car wash. Cost to repair $630.
Have owned the Discovery and LR3 and was ready for a change. Drove the Ranger Rover Sport, X5 and ML350. Simply no comparison. The Benz is by far the best combination of luxury, performance, safety and styling for the money. We are completely blown away by the driving characteristics and features of this vehicle. It is light years ahead of its predecesor, the ML320, which was a stubby, truck-based abomination. This thing is an E-class with some ride height and storage space. If you're considering an SUV in this price range, you must drive this car. My only complaints are the position of the cruise control stalk and the learning curve on all the features. Gas mileage is as bad as the Rover.
Overall this is an excellent SUV. It's got peppy acceleration, good brakes, great looks, and is very comfortable. The interior is super nice. I love the iPhone integration, backup camera, and peace of mind knowing I have airbags everywhere. This SUV has FANTASTIC traction. It can be raining and I can pull out on an uphill incline and floor it- this thing just grabs and go's! This gives me peace of mind when my wife drives it versus our car when the weather is bad. With all that being said- it's a Mercedes. Premium fuel, expensive synthetic oil changes, and all that good stuff. Its not too bad because honestly all cars are expensive if you go to a dealer. Find a good Indy mechanic good with euro cars and you'll be fine! I had a Timing chain replaced at 80,000 miles- was told it may have needed this because perhaps the previous owner may not have changed there oil like he should have.
Traded in our Landrover and we enjoyed the LR3 while we had it. We drove all the other competitors in this price range. The general overall feel and construction of this suv will impress you. It is on a whole different level when you compare to the others. The lexus felt like a toy....We had two BMW's prior this purchase and wanted something different. I cant believe anyone would choose the RX Lexus over the MB.
Like many German cars, this has its quirks. The navigation is tough to get used to, but that's not what's most curious about this car: at elevation about 10,000 feet, the nav shuts off! It displays a warning and becomes inoperable. Mercedes says it affects so few people that they won't fix it. So if you drive in the mountains a lot (we live in Colorado) and want to use this car in high elevations, keep this in mind. As importantly, keep in mind that Mercedes refuses to spend the time reprogramming the nav systems. Maybe they outsourced that part to Japan...
ML320 Bluetec 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A)
Options on test vehicle
Premium Package #2 ($6,600 -- includes rearview camera, power liftgate, Harman Kardon Logic7 audio system, HD Radio, Sirius Satellite Radio, iPod/MP3 media interface with cable, COMAND system with hard-drive-based navigation system and voice activation, real-time traffic, 115-volt AC power outlet, Parktronic, 10-way power adjustable front passenger seat with four-way power-adjustable lumbar support, power-adjustable steering column, memory seats, power-folding exterior mirrors and keyless entry and ignition); Full Leather Seating Package ($1,995 -- includes leather upholstery, leather- and wood-trimmed multifunction steering wheel and burl walnut interior trim); Airmatic Suspension With Adaptive Damping System ($1,600); Heating Package ($1,390 -- includes heated front and rear seats and heated steering column); Three-Zone Automatic Climate Control ($770); Alpine Rain Metallic Paint ($720).
All-wheel drive with low range
V6 turbocharged diesel
2,987cc (182 cu-in)
Aluminum with cast iron cylinder liners/aluminum
Double overhead camshafts, 4 valves per cylinder, variable valve timing
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
210 @ 3,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
398 @ 1,600-2,400
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
I = 4.38; II = 2.86; III = 1.92; IV = 1.37; V = 1.00; VI = 0.82; VII = 0.73; Final Drive = 3.45
Responds extremely well to brake torque to the tune of 0.6 second to 30 mph. It leaps off the line like a Nissan GT-R, but then realizes it's a turbodiesel. Transmission is busy due to the low redline, but pretty smooth shifting.
Soft-ish pedal in normal use goes rock-hard under full-ABS. Even with the suspension on the firmest setting, there's quite a lot of pitch. More tire noise than ABS noise. Admirable power in the system and good fade resistance, too.
Skid pad: Extended range ESP is still limiting performance as the outside front tire gets abused. Steering gets noticeably heavier when loaded. Slalom: Limit of the chassis is right up against the extended ESP setting so it only intrudes if it's a sloppy run. Keeping inputs smooth and to a minimum is the quickest way through. Grip and body motions are admirably good for such a tall and heavy vehicle.