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.