2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review
2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Wide range of engines including diesel and hybrid
- comfortable seating
- high-quality interior materials and construction.
- Fussy electronics controls
- non-V8 models are rather pokey
- expensive for the segment
- hybrid not that fuel-efficient.
For 2011, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class sees just a few minor changes. Among them are newly styled outside mirrors, the availability of LED running lights and an optional blind-spot warning system.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a capable SUV that offers an intriguing array of powertrain options. However, it faces stiff competition both from outside the Mercedes-Benz family and from within.
2011 M-Class Highlights
- Combined MPG
- 17 MPG
- Cost to Drive
- 5 seats
- rear wheel drive
- Engine Type
- 4 years / 50,000 miles
Few luxury-brand automakers offer such a wide range of crossover SUVs as Mercedes-Benz. Walking into a Benz showroom and looking at crossovers is akin to selecting a gallon of milk at the supermarket; in both cases, you'll encounter more alternatives than you'd likely imagined. Similar to 2-percent milk, the M-Class has long represented the ideal middle ground for most folks.
Back in the late 1990s, the M-Class SUV debuted with a trucklike body-on-frame architecture that spearheaded the luxury-ute invasion. The second, current generation now features unibody architecture for more carlike ride-and-handling dynamics. Roomier than the compact GLK, more rugged-looking than the minivan-like R-Class and less expensive than the larger GL-Class, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class continues to be the just-right choice for many consumers.
The M-Class itself is available in an unmatched variety of flavors. Starting out with the expected ML350 (V6) and ML550 (V8), the line expands with the gonzo 503-horsepower ML63 AMG version, the ML450 Hybrid and the ML350 Bluetec clean diesel. Of all these, the hybrid is the least impressive. Though it offers V8-like power along with respectable fuel mileage ratings of 21 mpg city/24 mpg highway, its added weight means performance is about the same as that of the V6-powered ML350. Its fuel economy also doesn't measure up to the Lexus RX 450h hybrid, which returns 30 mpg city/28 mpg highway.
Apart from the hybrid, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class has a lot going for it, including a high-class cabin, superior construction and that Mercedes-Benz cachet. But a lot of luxury crossovers are similarly impressive. Models like the 2011 Acura MDX and 2011 Lexus RX 350 cost far less, as do smaller entries like the 2011 Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and Mercedes' own GLK. As for similarly priced and sized rivals, the 2011 BMW X5 and 2011 Porsche Cayenne both offer a bit more involvement for the driver. Overall, there are lots of good options here; the best approach would be to test-drive a couple of alternatives before making your final decision.
Performance & mpg
The ML350 is available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (4Matic) and is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. Mercedes estimates it will go from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. Fuel economy is estimated to be 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive and 15/20/17 in 4Matic guise.
The ML350 Bluetec has a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that utilizes 50-state-legal clean-diesel technology. It produces 210 hp and a prodigious 400 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic and 4Matic are standard. In Edmunds performance testing, we recorded a 0-60 time of 8.5 seconds. Its estimated fuel economy is 18/25/21.
The ML450 Hybrid features a 3.5-liter V6, a pair of electric motors and an advanced transmission that has both fixed and continuously variable ratios. The transmission shares its general design with GM's two-mode hybrid systems, though in this case there are eight forward speeds versus GM's four. Total combined output is rated at 335 hp and 381 lb-ft of torque. The estimated 0-60 time is 7.8 seconds and estimated fuel economy is 20/24/22 mpg.
The ML550 gets AWD and a seven-speed automatic standard. Its 5.5-liter V8 produces 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque, which is enough for an estimated 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds. Its EPA-estimated fuel economy is 13/18/15.
The ML63 AMG packs a 6.2-liter V8 good for 503 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. It's connected to all four wheels via an AMG-tuned seven-speed automatic with manual override shift paddles. In Edmunds performance testing, its 0-60 time was a staggering 4.7 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is, not surprisingly, the lowest of the bunch at 11/15/12 mpg.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control, hill-start assist and hill-descent control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the ML350 came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, while the Bluetec stopped in 121 and the ML63 in 114.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous crash tests. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to those of 2011) were a perfect five stars in all frontal and side categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the M-Class its best rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side crash tests.
On the road, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is hardly a driver's SUV like the BMW X5. The steering is numb and imprecise, and while handling limits are respectable, the suspension tuning is too soft to inspire confidence in corners. But for typical buyers, the ML's familiar feel of Germanic solidity in a straight line will be reassuring. Braking performance is excellent, and the engines are generally top-notch. The turbodiesel V6 could stand to be more responsive, however.
The ML63 AMG is quite simply staggering. The roaring rumble of the 6.2-liter V8 is almost worth the steep price of admission alone. The suspension, brakes and seat upgrades help make it more driver-friendly than the non-AMG members of the M-Class, but don't expect the handling prowess of BMW's X5 M or Porsche's Cayenne.
The 2011 Mercedes M-Class features one of the finest cabins in its class, with a pleasing design and top-notch materials. Its electronics interface can be a bit frustrating, however. While the menu structure and software are the same, the M-Class doesn't feature the multifunction control knob that more recently introduced Mercedes models do.
Passenger room is impressive, offering more rear legroom than most of its competitors. There's no third row offered, though. With the rear seats in place, there is a total of 29 cubic feet of luggage space. When the seats are folded flat, this expands to 72 cubes -- an average figure for this class of vehicle.
2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class models
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a five-passenger midsize luxury SUV available in ML350, ML350 Bluetec, ML450 Hybrid, ML550 and ML63 AMG trim levels. Each name corresponds to a different engine.
All models except the ML63 are equipped similarly with standard 19-inch wheels, a sunroof, automatic wipers, automatic headlights, foglamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats, MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery, the dash-mounted COMAND electronics interface, Bluetooth, the TeleAid emergency telematics service and an eight-speaker stereo with a six-CD/DVD changer and an auxiliary audio jack. The ML550 adds different styling flourishes and heated front seats. The ML450 Hybrid adds a gasoline-electric powertrain, slightly different styling, an air suspension and a hybrid system information display.
Options include the Premium 1 package, which includes a rearview camera, a power liftgate, power-folding mirrors, auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors, driver memory functions, a navigation system, voice controls, satellite radio, an iPod interface, HD radio and 4GB of digital music storage. The Premium 2 package includes all Premium 1 equipment plus keyless ignition and entry and a Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo. The Full Leather Seating package includes leather upholstery and ambient interior lighting. The Lighting package adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights (with washers), corner-illuminating foglamps and LED taillights/daytime running lights.
Stand-alone options include 20-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot assist, a trailer hitch, running boards, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, heated rear seats and a rear-seat entertainment system.
The ML63 AMG adds to the ML550 an air suspension and adaptive damping system, 20-inch AMG wheels, high-performance tires, upgraded brakes, AMG styling elements, the Premium 2 package, the Lighting package, front and rear parking sensors, extended leather trim, heated and ventilated sport seats and a sport steering wheel with shift paddles.
Read what other owners think about the Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
Great used buy but poor gas mileage
2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
I was originally looking for a wagon but not many choices in the US. I really don’t like SUVs but this one was such a beautiful vehicle! I love the styling inside and out. It’s classy, masculine (especially with the black interior), and has good cargo space. I love the fact that the rear seats fold completely flat. It is cumbersome to do in comparison to having a lever in the back, but … it doesn’t bother me because they fold flat this way. Unlike most German cars I’ve owned, it has decent cup holders too. Everything in the interior just feels solid and well put together. The ride is very smooth but it doesn’t take rough roads really well at low speed; kinda bumpy. The transmission shifts silky smooth. The car is not sporty handling but rather very relaxed and smooth. I love most things about it except for the crappy gas mileage, but it’s about average for a gas vehicle of its size and weight. The command system has too many menus and switching back and forth to use. I can imagine an older person being very frustrated with this system; especially the voice command system. It’s just exasperating! The windshield wipers do not have a regular slow interval setting; they use a rain sensor and it just doesn’t get it right. If you leave it on auto, it will eventually burn the motor out or wear out you blades. It will run full speed with a light drizzle. I end up activating them manually. You have to turn traction control off on ice and snow or you can’t drive the thing at all! No BT streaming for 2011 is a pain but you can buy a plug in module that will do it. On the other hand, I like the sound system, phone BT works well, passenger room and comfort is very good, utility is great. I cross shopped the RX350(too small and feminine), Outback(not refined enough), and the Q7(not reliable at all),and the Venza(just as good but already have one and I didn’t want two of them) and this was the winner. It’s not perfect but it’s a good deal of buying preowned and well taken care of.
4 out of 5 stars
The #1 HONEST Turbo Diesel Review
#1 Diesel Review, 12/23/2009
2010 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 BlueTEC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A)
We live in the hills and noticed right away the ride is more stiff this year, making it safer on curvy roads. This is a Diesel that gets up and goes, not sluggish like diesels of the past. My wife and I enjoy being in this SUV, to us the interior looks elegant. You want safety?--Get this SUV - you WILL feel safer. A/C and Heating works excellent - keeping steady temperatures. BE SURE … TO GET BLACK FLOOR MATS - other colors will get dirty and look terrible very soon. We are averaging 24 Miles Per Gallon of Diesel (city and highway combined)- that is great for such a big SUV! It got more noisy after about 500 miles for some reason.
4.75 out of 5 stars
ML 350 4matic 2011
2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
I own several MB products; this ML is a joy to drive and although it does not take the corners like my MB coupe and sedan, it is a solid performer, well laid out interior and has all the current tech features. Controls are easy to use, has great cargo capacity, roomy cabin, adequate power, smooth transmission and the blind side assist feature is like an extra set of eyes.
3.75 out of 5 stars
Good but has hidden issues
2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 BlueTEC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A)
Purchased a used 2011 ML350 Bluetec with 65,000 miles for about $30,000 with taxes. Same day troubles began. Check engine came on and I opened a bar tab at the dealership. Local shop replaced the Nox sensor ($700) and said that there is a possibility of a bad valve body. Reset was performed with hope it doesn't come back but shortly after a 45 miles drive check engine came on. Only MB … dealer can fix a valve body and they did for about $2,400. Took a 1000 miles road trip with no issues until 3 weeks later. Check engine again and new code P20BE1B, reductant heater performance, possible $1,200 fix. Mechanic reset the code and said to drive it and see if code comes back. To be continued...
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class, so we've included reviews for other years of the M-Class since its last redesign.
More about the 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Overview
The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is offered in the following submodels: M-Class SUV, M-Class Hybrid, M-Class ML63 AMG, M-Class Diesel. Available styles include ML350 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A), ML350 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 7A), ML350 BlueTEC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A), ML550 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A), ML450 Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and ML63 AMG 4dr SUV AWD (6.2L 8cyl 7A). Pre-owned Mercedes-Benz M-Class models are available with a 3.5 L-liter gas engine or a 3.0 L-liter diesel engine, with output up to 268 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class comes with all wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed shiftable automatic.
What's a good price on a Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class?
Price comparisons for Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class trim styles:
- The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML350 4MATIC is priced between $11,999 and$18,990 with odometer readings between 65606 and109072 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 2011 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) 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2011 M-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $11,999 and mileage as low as 65606 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 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
Can't find a used 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
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Should I lease or buy a 2011 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
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