The 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
This sport-utility vehicle The 3.5-liter gas V-6 produces 268 horsepower and gets fuel economy of 15 mpg city, 20 highway. Next up is the 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML550, which wears some of the AMG model’s body add-ons.
A 5.5-liter V-8 grants it 382 hp, and a seven-speed automatic ushers out the power urgently and smoothly. This version can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, or faster than some two-door sports cars—but it gets 13/18 mpg. At the top of the ladder, the 503-horsepower Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG remains unchanged, with unapologetic 11/14 mpg fuel economy and supercar performance cloaked in its handsome, neatly detailed body.
Stability control, anti-lock brakes, and traction control are standard, along with front, side, and curtain airbags. The 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class has a NHTSA five-star crash rating and a four-star rollover rating. PRE-SAFE, a safety system that senses collisions before they happen, is also now a standard feature on M-Class models.
For 2009, the COMAND screen-driven interface is all-new, featuring a larger 6.5-inch display screen with a standard in-dash, six-disc CD/DVD changer and a Bluetooth interface. The COMAND screen can display maps and directions for the optional GPS navigation system stored on the larger hard drive. The navigation system is now set up for Sirius traffic info and Zagat restaurant ratings. An optional 610-watt digital Harman Kardon Logic7 audio system and a rear-seat entertainment system with two 8-inch screens, wireless headphones, and an integrated DVD player with dual-source capability are also available on 2009 M-Class models. For the driver, there’s four-stage power lumbar support and a new four-spoke steering wheel with multifunction buttons and shift paddles.
If you like the 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class, also consider:
Lexus GX 470
The Volkswagen Touareg sits high, feels thick and sturdy, and seats five adults. The Infiniti FX has aggressive styling and a V-8 option to match. The Lexus GX 470 has good off-road capability but a dowdy exterior shape. The BMW X5 is the Mercedes-Benz M-Class’s closest competitor—in fact, just the state of Georgia separates the Mercedes factory in Alabama from the BMW factory in South Carolina. The X5 offers a third-row seat, but it has more sedate styling and lacks the performance character of BMW’s cars.