2012 Mercedes M Class

The wraps come off the latest version of the Mercedes ML for 2012, and the car shows a brand-new face that’s become more chunky and butch, a range of new features, and a lineup of refined engines including super efficient diesel units.

The car will launch two engines, the ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC which has an NEDC consumption of 47.0 mpg (158 g CO2/km), and the ML 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC which does 41.5 mpg. Those are astonishing records for such a big off-road capable SUV, specially as it’s become larger and more spacious as the previous generation.There is also the petrol-engined ML 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY has an average consumption, according to NEDC, of 33.2 mpg, with a top speed of 146 mph.

In spite of all its eco features, the M-Class retains its combination of agility with superior comfort. Further impressive features of the ML include 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive, new developments to the chassis and innovative driving dynamics systems, all of which improve performance in both on-road and off-road situations. Its active and passive safety features are typical for the brand.

2012 Mercedes M Class1 2012 Mercedes M Class

The car will go on sale in spring 2012 in UK. Here’s the complete details and specs of the car:

A comparison of the data with the corresponding predecessor models:

ML 250
ML 300 CDI
ML 350
ML 350 CDI
Number of cylinders 4 6 6 6
Displacement               cc 2143 2987 2987 2987
Rated ouput                 hp 204 204 258 231
Max torque                Nm 500 500 620 540
NEDC combined
CO2 / km

43.4 – 47.0

31.4 – 33.6

38.1 – 41.5

30.0 – 31.8
0 – 62 mph                     s




Top speed                 mph 130 130 139 136
Emissions standard EU6 EU5 EU6 EU5

The ML 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY petrol-engine model, on the other hand, delivers a convincing performance thanks to the technical details of the new BlueDIRECT engine generation. The key here is the third-generation direct petrol injection system with spray-guided combustion and new piezo injectors that have an injection pressure of 200 bar, together with fast, multi-spark ignition and a new stratified combustion process. A comparison of the data:

Number of cylinders 6 6
Displacement                  cc 3498 3498
Rated output                   hp 306 272
Max torque                   Nm 370 350
NEDC combined
consumption l/100 km
g CO2 / km

32.1 – 33.2

23.5 – 24.7
0-62 mph                         s


Top speed                     mph 146 139
Emissions standard EU5 EU5

The range calculated for a full tank of fuel is particularly impressive. With an NEDC consumption of 47.0 mpg, the ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC with standard 70-litre tank can cover around 720 miles before needing to stop for fuel. If the vehicle is fitted with the optional 93-litre tank, a distance of up to 930 miles is possible between refuelling stops.

Attention to detail: a fine finish adds efficiency

The excellent fuel economy is underpinned by a comprehensive package of BlueEFFICIENCY measures as well as by this state-of-the-art engineering. In addition to the ECO start/stop function that comes as standard, these measures include the new seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission with a new fuel-economy converter, friction-optimised bearings and a transmission oil thermal management system. Low-friction axle drives, electric steering and tyres with low rolling resistance also play their part in reducing fuel consumption.

The optimised belt drive system with decoupler, together with on-demand control of all ancillary components and pumps, also helps to reduce the energy requirements of the new M-Class. The oil and water pumps in the engine, as well as the fuel pump in the rear section of the vehicle, are only activated according to actual need. The same control logic is used in the THERMATIC and THERMOTRONIC air conditioning systems. In these, the coolant compressor only runs when necessary. A key factor in the diesel engines is also the optimisation that has been undertaken of the flow and counterpressure in the exhaust system with its SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) emission control technology.

A consistent use of lightweight construction techniques has enabled the development engineers to keep the weight of the M-Class on a par with that of its predecessor, despite more equipment. The control arms of the front and rear axles, for example, and also the bonnet and wings, are made out of light and yet very strong aluminium alloys, while the cross member for the instrument panel is made of magnesium.

Detailed analysis: the “energy-transparent vehicle” makes things clear

The development tool “energy-transparent vehicle”, created in-house by Mercedes-Benz, was used for the first time as part of the M-Class development process. The pioneering opportunities presented by this method, which detects the possibilities for optimisation right down to even the most minute component, will be exploited on all new model series in the future. An exact and meticulous examination of the flow of energy throughout the vehicle (tank-to-wheel) helps the development engineers to optimise every single assembly that has an impact on fuel consumption, right down to individual wheel bearings.

Air flow optimisation: the most aerodynamically efficient SUV in its class

With a drag coefficient, or Cd value, of 0.32, the new M-Class (ML 250 BlueTEC) also sets a new best figure for this vehicle class (total aerodynamic drag Cd x A = 0.92 m2; predecessor 0.94 m2). Intensive simulations undertaken with the digital prototype, along with final touches added in the wind tunnel, ensure a perfect flow of air around the vehicle. The key factor determining the low wind resistance is the aerodynamic efficiency of the basic body shell, including the optimised design of the front bumper with its integrated spoiler, of the A-pillars and of the roof spoiler, plus numerous other detailed improvements. These include:

  • Sealing around the radiator section with adjustable fan shutter
  • Sealed joints between the bonnet and the headlamps
  • Front wheel spoilers
  • Air outlets in the front wheel well liners
  • Redesigned exterior mirror housings
  • Optimised roof spoiler
  • Side spoilers on the rear window (ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC)
  • Underfloor and engine compartment panelling
  • Aerodynamically optimised light-alloy wheels

The result: excellent comfort and driving dynamics

A high level of comfort, dynamic on-road handling and excellent off-road capability are part of even the standard equipment package on the new M-Class. For the first time, the steel suspension of the M-Class chassis now includes selective damping. During normal driving on only moderately uneven roads or during slow off-road driving, the system responds with a soft ride that enhances the occupants’ wellbeing as well as the car’s off-road capability. In order to maintain this sense of wellbeing during hard driving or abrupt evasive manoeuvres, the shock absorbers work even harder in such circumstances, so ensuring a high level of driving stability. The M-Class driver is supported here by an electric steering system that provides the optimum level of steering power assistance to suit the particular driving situation. Parking or manoeuvring off-road is made so much easier, thanks to the availability of maximum power assistance. The SUV also scores here with the tightest turning circle in its market segment. The 180-degree turn is negotiated within a circle diameter of just 11.8 metres. At higher speeds, the power assistance is reduced, to the benefit of the car’s handling.

For those who want to venture off surfaced roads, the ML 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC and ML 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY models feature a comprehensive off-road programme as part of their standard equipment. This considerably improves the options once the going gets tough. It includes the permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC and the electronic traction control system ETS, as well as an off-road button that activates a special off-road transmission mode.

  • To improve traction, the slip thresholds and shift points of the 7G-TRONIC PLUS system have been raised
  • A flatter accelerator pedal curve improves the sensitivity with which the driver can accelerate
  • Off-road ABS ensures optimum braking on a loose surface

Start-off Assist and the HOLD function are further features helping the driver to pull away on a slope. Downhill Speed Regulation, or DSR, enables the M-Class to maintain automatically the speed set via the cruise control lever.

For those wishing to drive the M-Class more extensively away from surfaced roads, we recommend the optional ON&OFFROAD package.

Full programme: ON&OFFROAD package for all eventualities

The ON&OFFROAD package for the new M-Class uses a range of six transmission modes to optimise driving dynamics and handling safety, by ensuring that the necessary drive control is there to cope with the very different operating conditions encountered on and off-road. One automatic mode, two specifically off-road modes and three on-road modes are available.

The system is controlled via a rotary actuator on the centre console. The settings for AIRMATIC, and the drive line, are adapted to accommodate these specific requirements. The six transmission modes in detail:

  • Automatic – covers most everyday driving operations
  • Offroad 1 – light terrain, dirt roads and tracks
  • Offroad 2 – challenging off-road terrain with hilly stretches
  • Winter – for driving in wintry conditions on slippery roads, on snow, ice or with snow chains
  • Sport – more adventurous, dynamic driving on winding roads
  • Trailer – optimises moving off, manoeuvring and braking with a trailer

Despite so many options, for the driver the decision is always very clear: the setting is made intuitively, and the programme selected is shown in the multifunction display as well as in very realistic, almost photo-quality imagery on the screen of the COMAND system. Irrespective of which underlying programme is set, the gear reduction, lock, DSR or the self-levelling suspension of the AIRMATIC system can all be adjusted individually. As with the basic settings of the ON&OFFROAD package, it is practically impossible for the driver to make mistakes. Illogical settings, which might have a negative impact on handling, safety or traction, are ruled out. If there is any doubt, the system will revert to automatic mode.

In terms of “hardware”, the ON&OFFROAD package comprises an underride guard, a two-stage transfer case with reduction gear, a longitudinal differential lock and enhanced AIRMATIC functionality that allows a maximum ground clearance of 285 millimetres and a fording depth of 600 millimetres.

King of the curve: no roll or rocking here!

Active roll stabilisation in the form of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM can be combined as on option with AIRMATIC air suspension with Adaptive Damping System (ADS) as well as with the ON&OFFROAD package. This system uses active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles, which it controls automatically, irrespective of lateral acceleration, speed or the switch setting of the ADS Comfort/Sport switch. ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM compensates for the roll angle of the body through bends, so delivering significant improvement in both agility and driving pleasure. At the same time the system increases driving stability and thus safety, especially and importantly at high speeds. Improved ride comfort both on winding stretches of road and on the straight, together with enhanced options for off-road driving, are also among the benefits of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM.

Gently does it: attention to detail ensures comfort

The new M-Class promises relaxed and thus safe driving in all possible conditions. By paying close attention to detail every step of the way, the development engineers in the Mercedes Technology Center have significantly improved what they call the NVH comfort level (Noise, Vibration, Harshness). This is an important factor contributing to the general sense of wellbeing on board, whilst also playing its part in driver-fitness safety, especially on long journeys. The basis for the high level of NVH comfort is provided by the very rigid bodyshell of the M-Class. Further improvements have also been made to the drive system and chassis. This is all topped off by aero-acoustic refinements and the intelligent use of new-style insulation.

These measures at a glance:

  • Improved rigidity of the front end structure thanks to struts between the lines of the upper and lower longitudinal members
  • Increased comfort, yet also reduction in weight, thanks to hybrid construction of front module
  • Particularly robust cockpit cross member made in lightweight magnesium alloy
  • Intelligent use of acoustic insulation
    In the production plants, insulation is fitted to the bodyshell where it is needed by computer-controlled robots. In the firewall area, the mass distribution of the insulation material used may vary in places in order to counteract potential noise penetration.
  • Aluminium transmission cross member with integrated vibration damper in the diesel models
  • Vibrationally optimised 7G-TRONIC PLUS with twin-turbine damper and, in the diesel models, a centrifugal pendulum
  • Electronically mapped hydraulic engine mounts in the diesel versions
  • Decoupled exhaust system on diesel models
  • Standard chassis with selective damping, as an option: AIRMATIC air suspension with adaptive damping system or AIRMATIC air suspension with adaptive damping system and ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM dynamic roll stabilisation.
  • Electric steering
  • Component compartment wall in plastic in order to minimise penetration of noise from engine compartment into the interior
  • External noise minimised through acoustic encapsulation of engines
  • High-insulation acoustic windscreen
  • Additional aero-acoustic sealing in the side sections

Well thought-out: passive safety at its best

In line with the Mercedes-Benz brand philosophy, the new M-Class represents the embodiment of the Mercedes-Benz holistic safety concept of REAL LIFE SAFETY, which is derived primarily from what happens in a real accident situation. The extremely robust occupant compartment of the M-Class, together with the front and rear deformation zones, forms an effective basis for the occupant protection systems.

The front end structure, with its high energy-absorption potential, is essentially made up of the firewall and two lines of longitudinal members, anchored at the A-pillars. Two vertical members link the longitudinal members, so further increasing deformation resistance. The necessary rigidity and strength of the floor assembly is provided by a robust structure made up of a separate centre tunnel plus separate longitudinal members along each side, attached to the side wall. These are supported by cross members anchored to the floor as well as by a connecting member to the B-pillar as support for the front structure. The extremely robust side wall assembly comprises, quite apart from the longitudinal members described above and the side roof frame, A-pillars in a dual-casing design, internally reinforced with high-strength steel. In a side collision, the cross member beneath the cowl, the cross member between the longitudinal members underneath the pedal floor, the high-strength-steel cross member beneath the driver’s seat and the magnesium-alloy cross member underneath the instrument panel, as well as the front roof frame, ensure the highest possible stability of the occupant cell. The positioning of the fuel tank in front of the rear axle and of the filler neck over the rear axle increases the available deformation distance, so maximising the level of energy absorption in the event of a rear-end collision. This is achieved, above all, through the box-shaped design of the rear longitudinal members.

The complex restraint system can offer the highest possible protection. Up to nine airbags, which activate as they are needed, according to the type and severity of the accident, can reduce the stresses exerted on the occupants.
The individual components in detail:

  • Two-stage adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger
  • Kneebag for the driver
  • Sidebags for driver and front passenger (combined thorax/pelvis bags)
  • Sidebags in the rear row of seats as an option
  • Windowbags across both rows of seats from the A to the C-pillar
  • 3-point seat belts on all five seats
  • Pyrotechnic reel tensioners and permanent belt force limiters as well as electrically reversible belt tensioners in the front, reel tensioners and single-stage force limiters for the outer seats in the rear
  • ISOFIX child seat anchorage
  • Belt height adjustment for driver and front passenger
  • Belt status display for rear-seat passengers in the instrument cluster
  • Automatic child seat recognition (optional) with deactivation of the front passenger airbag if a special Mercedes-Benz child seat is used.
  • In a rear-end collision, a passive head restraint system developed specifically for this purpose can reduce the forces exerted on occupants.

Complementing the active safety systems such as the standard Brake Assist (BAS) or the optional BAS PLUS, which can prevent an accident or reduce its severity, the passive measures that contribute to pedestrian safety have also been further improved in the new M-Class. These include, for example, the installation of an Active Bonnet as standard.

Intelligent partner: protects its occupants as well as others

Both active safety and driver-fitness safety in the new M-Class are further improved by Assistance Systems that will already be familiar, primarily from the S- and E-Class. The standard equipment package includes the drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST, the anticipatory safety system PRE?SAFE® and a tyre pressure loss warning system, as well as adaptive brake lights and Brake Assist (BAS). The following Assistance Systems, some of them active, are available as additional equipment options:

  • Intelligent Light System, ILS, with specific lighting functions
  • Night View Assist Plus with automatic person recognition
  • Speed Limit Assist (standard feature of the COMAND Online option)
  • Lane Keeping Assist – active/passive
  • Blind Spot Assist – active/passive
  • BAS PLUS (in conjunction with DISTRONIC PLUS)
  • PRE-SAFE® Brake with autonomous braking (in conjunction with DISTRONIC PLUS)

Active Park Assist and the reversing camera enhance both safety and convenience.

Feature line: effortlessly superior, high-quality design

The vehicle body design for this new-generation model, with the very typical shape of its C-pillars, is full of character and immediately recognisable as an M-Class. Its styling, high-quality appeal and excellent ease of operation combine to give it a forceful presence. The front of the vehicle is dominated by the powerfully self-confident design of the radiator grille with its centrally positioned Mercedes star, giving it that typical M-Class look. The new styling of the headlamps conveys a high-quality, exclusive and innovative impression, especially when the Intelligent Light System (ILS) is taken as an optional extra. The LED daytime running lamps are set in chrome inserts integrated into the bumpers. A deeper, broad, chrome-effect underguard continues down from the lower edge of the radiator grille, so serving to reinforce the impressive overall appearance.

Seen from the side, the elongated lines give formal emphasis to the on-road credentials of this vehicle, whose compact proportions are defined by a large wheelbase and short overhangs. The C-pillar that is so characteristic of this model series takes its cue from early generations of the M-Class and differentiates it very clearly in stylistic terms from its competitors. At the same time, the way the roof line slopes down to the rear underlines the sporty appeal of the new M-Class. No pillar is visible in the transition from the rear side window through to the rear windscreen. This, together with the similarly wrap-around effect of the two-part rear light unit with LED fibre-optic technology, and the lowered roof with its large roof spoiler, add up to an overall harmonious design. The rear bumper, which features an integrated chrome-effect load sill guard in a new “wing design”, defines the characteristic appearance of the SUV’s rear end. The chrome-look finish of further product features, such as the roof rails, the beltline trim strip or the load compartment handle, emphasise the high-quality appeal of the exterior.

The available wheels range from a light and aerodynamically optimised 43.2 cm (17-inch) wheel through to 50.8 cm (20-inch) wheels with an elegant, high-quality appeal. As an option, 53.3 cm (21-inch) AMG wheels can be fitted to emphasise the sporty look of the new M-Class.

Your wellbeing included: the interior of the new M-Class

A look at the interior design concept immediately demonstrates the way the authentic SUV experience is combined here with the sense of wellbeing inherent in a top-class Mercedes-Benz saloon. While the expressive design of the centre dome embodies the power of an SUV, the gentle downward curve of the instrument panel on the front passenger side gives a good sense of spaciousness, thus emphasising the vehicle’s long-distance credentials. The roomy and well-lit interior offers noticeably more elbow room than its predecessor (34 millimetres more in the front, 25 millimetres in the rear) and thus more space and comfort. An eye-catching feature of the instrument panel is a large decorative trim element that is then continued along the doors in a very harmonious wrap-around effect. These generously proportioned trim elements, in a three-dimensional design, are available in four high-quality wood finishes, or in aluminium. The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class can thus be appointed to reflect either exclusive refinement or sporty sophistication, according to the customer’s taste. The door openers and seat adjustment switches have been inset with precision craftsmanship into the side trim. The door centre panels feature distinctive decorative stitching, with a separate, exclusive look for the Sports package.

The state-of-the-art instrument cluster with its two clear and extremely legible round dials and a large, 11.4 cm display between them, impresses with the high-quality look of its design. Dominating the centre of the instrument panel in the centre of the vehicle is the large screen for the COMAND system. The control and display concept was developed specifically with user-friendly operation in mind. In the M-Class, Mercedes-Benz is introducing an advanced ergonomic concept that will find its way into all future new models. Just one element of this is the way the accessibility of the multi-function control lever on the steering column has been improved. All control levers can now be clearly seen. The cruise control lever has been moved to the lower position.

Infotainment, navigation and communication systems are intuitive and easy to operate using the metal Controller located on the centre console. Vertical rectangular air intake vents either side of the large screen serve to emphasise the more functional aspects of the SUV. The outer air vents are the same shape but in this case horizontally positioned, thus giving added design flair. The centre console incorporates an armrest with integrated handrest, in front of which is located the Controller and various switches, such as those for the off-road programmes.

The seats in the new M-Class are designed to provide a high level of comfort on long journeys as well as excellent lateral support. All important parameters can be electrically adjusted. These include the adjustment of seat height, backrest rake, seat cushion angle and reach. Generous seat adjustment travel of more than 350 millimetres lengthways and more than 90 millimetres in height ensure that M-Class drivers will always find the ideal seating position.

A high level of variability characterises the rear seats, which are fitted with an armrest and cupholder. The backrest angle adjustment on the rear seats is new, as is the through-loading feature above the armrest for the transport of skis. Folding both backrests as well as the seat cushions forward creates a level load compartment with a capacity of 2010 litres up to the roof liner.

Four colours are available for the interior appointments: black, almond beige, alpaca grey and tobacco brown/marron. These can be combined with a large range of materials: fabric/ARTICO man-made leather, ARTICO man-made leather and leather in six colour combinations. In conjunction with the Interior Sports package, the combination of DINAMICA microfibre and black ARTICO man-made leather, or nappa leather and black leather is also available.

For both eye and ear: good entertainment and the best information

The new M-Class comes as standard with the Audio 20 CD system, which comprises a radio with twin-tuner, TFT colour display with a 14.7 cm screen diagonal, an MP3/WMA/AAC-compatible CD player, a USB interface with CD Cover Art display (if saved on the storage medium), an AUX-IN socket in the centre armrest and a telephone keypad. The Bluetooth interface also allows hands-free telephony and Audio Streaming for the transfer of music.

The Audio 20 CD system can be optionally upgraded with the addition of a 6-disc CD changer, Media Interface, the “Logic7″  Surround Sound system from audio specialists harman/kardon®, digital radio (DAB) or comfort telephony in the armrest. Of particular interest is Becker® MAP PILOT, a fully integrated navigation module with 2D/3D map displays for Europe. This system, which is offered as a genuine accessory, can be docked into a cradle in the glove compartment and controlled through the central control unit of the Audio 20 CD system. The navigation route is shown in both the central display and the instrument cluster, while route recommendations are issued acoustically through the vehicle loudspeakers. Also included: automatic tailback avoidance (TMC Pro) and voice-controlled address entry. Updates to map data, functional software and other features are possible via the internet on a home computer, since the module is removable.

The COMAND Online system, with a 17.8 cm high-resolution TFT colour display, offers internet access in the M-Class for the first time. Customers can either surf freely while the vehicle is stationary, or call up a Mercedes-Benz app, the pages of which build particularly quickly and are easy to use even while the vehicle is on the move. The integrated apps include Google™ Local Search, access to Facebook (from 11/2011) and weather, as well as the ability to download and adopt into the navigation system a route that has been previously configured in Google Maps and sent to the car, or specific destinations. Further Mercedes-Benz apps will be successively introduced and will then be available for use by all customers. Telephones that are compatible with the COMAND Online apps are listed on the website www.mercedes-benz.com/connect. COMAND Online is available as an option with a 6-disc DVD changer. The system includes Speed Limit Assist as standard, which recognises traffic signs and displays the applicable speed
limit in the instrument cluster.

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