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2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/13/2014 Erick Ayapana

Vehicle Overview

From a turbocharged diesel to a hand-built V-8, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz ML has one of the most varied engine choices in the midsize luxury SUV segment. The M-Class is now in its second generation and has a long list of competitors including the BMW X5, Audi Q5, and Lexus RX. With seating for up to five passengers, the interior is packed with standard amenities and advanced technology like heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, color screen infotainment system, and a system that detects drowsy or distracted drivers.

A 302-hp 3.5-liter V-6 serves as the base engine in the ML350 and can be had in rear or all-wheel drive. All other engines come in all-wheel drive configuration only, including the ML350 Bluetec diesel, which is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 rated at 240 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. The ML350 Bluetec placed third in a four-way comparison that included the Volkswagen Touareg TDI, Porsche Cayenne Diesel, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. We noted its relatively sharp handling characteristics thanks to its standard self-adjusting dampers and its optional air suspension and Active Curve System. "The thinking buyer who craves refinement will be extremely satisfied with this M-Class," we noted, thanks to its "classy, airy cabin to the dignified, calming ride."

At the upper half of the range is the ML550. Under its hood is a 4.6-liter, direct-injection twin-turbo V-8 that churns out 402 hp and 443 lb-ft. Finally, there's the ML63 AMG, which features the aforementioned hand-built 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 that churns out 550 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque. It races to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds and reaches the quarter mile in 12.8 seconds. While the diesel-powered ML350 Bluetec is EPA rated at an impressive 28 mpg on the highway, expect the ML63 AMG to return much less.

New for 2014

The ML350 is now offered with a Sport Styling Package. And available as a special-order item is the Splitview system that allows the driver and front passenger to view separate screens from the same console.

You'll Like

  • Standard power liftgate
  • Optional advanced suspension system
  • High-quality interior

You Won't Like

  • Off-road behavior needs improvement
  • Somewhat confusing infotainment system
  • Poor ride quality with large rims

Key Competitors

  • Porsche Cayenne
  • Lexus RX
  • BMW X5
  • Acura MDX

Sum Up

4 star Still one of the best midsize SUVs in the biz.

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