- Two-rows of seating for up to five passengers
- Diesel version (ML350 Bluetec) gets 28 mpg/highway
- Midsize luxury SUV competes with the BMW X5 and Audi Q7
Slotting between the GLK-Class and the behemoth GL-Class is the 2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class which seats five passengers in comfort and style while travelling over any surface.
There are not many changes to speak of for 2014, with a new version of the M-Class set to debut for 2015. Last year, the M-Class added more standard safety features (mbrace2 telematics and collision prevention) which continue on.
The M-Class has a few distinctive styling cues, including an aggressive front with plenty of split front intakes and C-pillars that slant towards the rear of the vehicle as they go down, which combine to give the SUV a look that is more sleek than rugged. The hood and fenders are composed of lightweight aluminum which saves weight and fuel economy. 19-inch wheels and a convenient power liftgate are standard.
Mercedes splits the M-Class models up by what you find under the hood. The base model is the ML350 which has a 302-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 273 pounds-feet of torque, and comes in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Next is the efficient ML350 Bluetec that comes with a 240-hp, 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 making 455 pounds-feet of torque and gets 28 mpg on the highway. The ML550 gets even more power with a 402-hp, twin-turbo 4.6-liter V-8 under the hood that makes 443 pound-feet of torque. Topping the M-Class is the high-performance ML63 AMG and its 518-hp, twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 that produces 516 pounds-feet of torque. All M-Class models come with a seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive is standard on all models minus the ML350.
Inside, the 2014 M-Class features a luxurious cabin designed to enhance passenger comfort on journeys short and long. A 7-inch LCD display in the center console is used to control the audio and phone settings, either by touch or with a small knob found between the front seats near the armrest. Bluetooth connectivity, auxiliary/USB inputs, and HD Radio are standard, as are heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control for added comfort. Other interior options include massaging seats for driver and front passenger, heated rear seats, premium surround-sound audio system, hard-drive-based navigation system, and rear-seat entertainment system.
Mercedes’ focus on safety extends to the M-Class which offers nine standard airbags, including a knee airbag for the driver, side curtain airbags and side-impact airbags for both rows of seats. Some of the latest safety technology also comes standard, such as Attention Assist driver-drowsiness detection, Collision Prevention Assist, mbrace2, and Pre-Safe, which prepares the cabin for a potential impact or rollover. Even more safety technology is optional, such as lane departure warning and prevention, blind spot warning system, adaptive cruise control with automatic braking, front and rear parking sensors, and parking assist with backup camera.