2015 Mercedes-Benz M Class

What's new for 2015? For 2015, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class lineup sees greater fuel efficiency with a pair of new engines -- a smaller diesel and a turbocharged V6 -- and the fitment of fuel-saving automatic engine stop-start technology for all engines.

Mercedes certainly gives you a wide range of engine options to choose from. Whether you're seeking high fuel economy or high performance, this Mercedes-Benz crossover trumps its American- and Japanese-brand rivals when it comes to providing a choice of power to the people. Although the popular, gasoline V6-powered ML350 carries over, the M-Class is refreshed with a new pair of models that each comes with an equally new engine. The ML250 Bluetec and its more efficient turbocharged four-cylinder diesel replaces the old six-cylinder ML350 Bluetec diesel, while the old V8-powered ML550 gives way to the turbocharged six-cylinder ML400. Sure, these lower model numbers may be concerning to those who value the apparent prestige that comes with topping the neighbors with higher digits, but both should represent significant fuel economy gains versus their predecessors without any real noticeable drop in performance. And if a big number is ultimately what you're seeking, the wild ML63 AMG is still available, offering as much as 550 horsepower.

Close the hood and take a seat inside any ML and it will be quickly apparent that the cabin quality, as expected of a Mercedes-Benz, is second to none. The massive selection of options allows one to tailor the ML to his or her tastes -- indeed there are no fewer than four kinds of wood trim available. For those who prefer to cruise in dignified comfort, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is bound to satisfy.

Exterior Highlights
Available in ML250 Bluetec, ML350, ML400 and ML63 AMG trim levels

The five-passenger 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is available in four trim levels defined by the engine fitted: ML250 Bluetec, ML350, ML400 and ML63 AMG. All trim levels come with all-wheel drive (4Matic in Benz lingo) except for the ML350, which can also be had with rear-wheel drive.

The ML250 (replaces last year's ML350 Bluetec) comes standard with 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, LED running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, a sunroof, roof rails and a power liftgate. Inside, you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, wood interior trim, a manual tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar adjustment), heated front seats, reclining 60/40-split folding rear seats, MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery (leather is optional), the COMAND electronics interface (with 7-inch color display), Mercedes' mbrace2 communications system (includes smartphone app integration), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with HD radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack. There are also numerous standard safety features listed below under Safety.

The ML350 is similarly equipped but comes with 19-inch wheels standard.

Adding the Premium 1 package to either the ML250 or ML350 brings a rearview camera, power-folding exterior mirrors, auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors, a 10-way power driver seat (with four-way power lumbar), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver memory functions, double sun visors, a navigation system, voice command functionality, a rear 115-volt household-style power outlet, satellite radio and an iPod interface. The Sport package for the ML250/350 adds AMG exterior trim and either 19- or 20-inch AMG wheels.

The ML400 starts with the ML350 models' standard equipment and the contents of the Premium 1 package and adds a turbocharged engine, keyless ignition and entry, a 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, leather seating, heated and cooled cupholders, multicolor interior ambient lighting and the Lane Tracking package (blind spot and lane-departure warning systems).

There are many other available option packages. The Lighting package includes adaptive bi-xenon headlights with automatic high-beam control. The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control and an advanced version of the Lane Tracking package (see "Safety," below). The Parking Assist package adds front and rear parking sensors, an automated parallel parking system and a surround-view parking camera. The On/Off-Road package (ML350/400) includes an adaptive suspension with air springs ("Airmatic"), a two-speed transfer case, a six-mode terrain selector and underbody skid plates. Airmatic is also available as a stand-alone option.

The Convenience package features the heated and cooled cupholders, second row sunshades and a center armrest pass-through. The Interior Sport package includes front sport seats, special seat trim (simulated suede on the ML250/350, Napa leather on ML400) and a sport steering wheel. Audiophiles may want to consider the pricey but stunning 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system.

The ML63 AMG goes all-out with a turbocharged V8, an AMG-tuned Airmatic suspension with adaptive stabilizer bars, exclusive 20-inch AMG wheels, special leather upholstery, sport seats with ventilation, and unique styling elements inside and out. The Premium 1, Lighting, Lane Tracking and Parking Assist packages are standard as well, while the Driver Assistance package is optional. The AMG Performance package raises engine output and adds a higher top speed, along with red-painted brake calipers and a carbon-fiber engine cover. Also optional are 21-inch AMG wheels along with most of the other trims' extra equipment.

Individual option highlights include the "Active Curve" handling enhancement system, a trailer hitch, a panoramic sunroof, running boards, keyless ignition and entry, three-zone climate control, "multicontour" front seats with adjustable bolsters and massage functions, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, the heated steering wheel, a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system, enhanced iPhone connectivity controls (Drive Kit Plus), and a Splitview display for the COMAND system that can project different images to the driver and passenger.

Roomy accomodations for five, generous legroom, rear backseats fold flat, superb materials quality, knob-based COMAND interface

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class features understated interior styling that complements the restrained exterior. The dashboard is almost identical to that of the larger GL-Class, underscoring the fact that the M and GL are essentially differently sized portions of the same dish.

If you're OK with only two rows of seating, save some money and get the M-Class; if you need three rows, bring enough cash for the GL-Class. To its credit, though, the M offers roomy accommodations for five and provides more second-row legroom than most competitors do. Cargo capacity measures 38.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 80 cubes with the rear seatbacks folded flat: solid figures for this class.

Materials quality inside the M-Class is superb, ranking right up there with any luxury SUV on the market. The standard knob-based COMAND interface works better than most systems of its ilk, providing a welcome amount of user-friendly redundancy among the control knob, dash buttons and wheel controls.

Standard safety features for all 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class models include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, PreSafe (which can identify an imminent crash and automatically take measures to secure occupants), hill-start assist and hill-descent control, active front head restraints, a driver inattention warning system, a collision warning system, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. The mbrace2 communications system includes automatic collision notification, an SOS button, stolen vehicle location, geo-fencing, alarm notification and remote door lock/unlock. A rearview camera is standard on the ML63 and optional on all other versions.

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