What's New for 2015:
- ML250 BlueTec 4Matic debuts with new 4-cylinder clean-diesel engine
- ML400 4Matic debuts with new, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine
- ML350 BlueTec 4Matic is cancelled
- ML550 4Matic is cancelled
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a midsize, 5-passenger luxury SUV that competes directly with the BMW X5, Infiniti Q70, Lexus RX, Lincoln MKX, and Porsche Cayenne. Top trim versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Volkswagen Touareg could also be considered competitors.Models and Features
With this year's changes, four M-Class models remain in the lineup: ML250 BlueTec, ML350, ML400, and ML63 AMG. The ML350 is the least-expensive version, followed closely by the ML250 BlueTec. To get into the ML400, Mercedes charges nearly a $15,000 premium, while the performance-tuned ML63 AMG is almost double the cost of the ML350.
The ML250 BlueTec and ML350 are, for the most part, equivalently equipped in terms of features and are offered with similar options. The main differences are the former model's turbo-diesel engine and standard 4Matic all-wheel-drive (AWD) system.
To get a sense of what's not included at the base price, consider that the Premium package adds a navigation system, reversing camera, auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, and satellite radio, traffic, and weather, among other features. Leather upholstery also costs extra, as well as metallic paint, several comfort and convenience enhancements, a choice of premium sound systems, and a number of safety-related technologies.
Two reasons the ML400 is priced higher include its twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and standard 4Matic system. Additionally, this model includes leather seats, the Premium package, and both blind-spot-assist and lane-keeping-assist systems.
Serving as the flagship of the lineup, the ML63 AMG is loaded with bespoke mechanical components, special design details, unique materials, and lots of equipment. An available Performance package increases engine output and top speed.
Options for the ML63 AMG include 21-in. aluminum wheels, special white diamond paint, soft-close doors, and a panoramic sunroof. Inside, the ML63 AMG can be upgraded with a variety of interior trim panels, as well as multi-contour front seats, heated steering wheel, wood-and-leather steering wheel, heated rear seats, triple-zone climate control, and a black Dinamica headliner. Buyers can also upgrade to a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system and a rear-seat entertainment system, along with a Driver Assistance package adding active cruise control, active blind-spot and lane-keeping-assist systems, and the automaker's Pre-Safe Brake technology.
Note that many of the options listed for the ML63 AMG are also available on other versions of the M-Class.Under the Hood
A 302-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine is standard for the ML350, delivering power to the SUV's rear wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission. A 4Matic AWD system is optional.
The ML250 BlueTec has a 2.1-liter, turbocharged, diesel 4-cylinder engine, one that is shared with the smaller GLK250 BlueTec. It generates 200 horsepower but, more important, it also makes a generous 369 lb.-ft. of torque below 2,000 rpm. That translates to acceleration to 60 mph in less than 9 seconds, according to Mercedes.
Delivering 329 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque across a broad swath of the engine's rev range, the ML400 model's twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 rushes to 60 mph in 6 seconds, shaving 1.5 seconds off the ML350's best time.
For the best performance, choose the ML63 AMG for its twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 and AMG SpeedShift transmission. Thanks to 518 horsepower and nearly the same amount of torque, this 5,170-lb. SUV accelerates to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.Fuel Economy
Buyers should purchase the ML250 BlueTec if they want to visit gas stations less frequently. Using diesel fuel, it is rated to return 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. Keep in mind that those figures reflect the inclusion of standard 4Matic AWD.
The popular ML350 is rated to get 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway with rear-wheel drive. Add 4Matic and those figures dip to 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway. Note that the more powerful ML400 is also slightly more fuel-efficient, notching EPA ratings of 18 mpg city/22 mpg highway.
As might be expected, the most powerful version, the ML63 AMG, is rated to return 13 mpg city/17 mpg highway.Safety and Technology
There is no shortage of safety and technology systems for the 2015 M-Class, but most of them are optional. Standard safety equipment includes Attention Assist drowsy driver detection, while every M-Class is equipped with a Comand infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio, and a USB port.
Comand can be upgraded with a navigation system, 10GB of music storage capability, SD card reader, and satellite traffic and weather reports. One of two premium audio systems is also available, and the SUV's mBrace and Mercedes-Benz Apps technologies supply access to a number of useful services following a free initial trial period. A rear-seat entertainment system is also optional.
Available safety features include a reversing camera, blind-spot-assist system, lane-keeping-assist system, active headlights, adaptive high-beam headlights, and an adaptive cruise control system with Pre-Safe Brake technology. Buyers can also choose an active park-assist system with a surround-view camera.