2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTec – Review and Test Drive

By Jonathan Spira on 3 March 2013
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2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTec

2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTec

We first looked at the M-Class diesel at its launch two years ago shortly before the third-generation M-Class went on sale in September 2011 as a 2012 model.  Even in the space of less than two years, there’s ample time to make improvements.  These include a brand new telematics system, mbrace2, new infotainment functionality, and a collision prevention system.

Despite its size, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTec is understated and has a certain elegance about it.  The hood is prominent, the grill commands attention, the forward-oriented C-pillar design is unique, and there’s an exaggerated yet functional spoiler on the roof . The lines are sophisticated and its front fascia comes straight out of  Mercedes’ latest design language.

INSIDE THE 2013 MERCEDES-BENZ ML350 BLUETEC

Inside the M-Klasse oilburner, high-quality materials abound and attention to detail is evident everywhere. DSC_0517  The center display is now larger (7”), and Mercedes’ engineers neatly addressed a problem with the placement of the steering wheel stalks in earlier models, making them more accessible and visible.  The turn signal stalk is now at 10 o’clock and the cruise control is at 8 o’clock.  This may sound trivial but it was far too easy to select the wrong stalk in the older cars.

One big difference from my last experience driving the M-Class versus my week with it now is that we’ve had our long-term Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec sedan for close to 18 months now and that gave me addition insight into Mercedes-Benz design that I hadn’t had before.  Two years ago, I chafed at the relocated seat adjustment controls: it just didn’t seem logical to have them on the door.  I wasn’t a fan then but I am now.

The cockpit layout is ergonomic and entirely driver focused.   The steering wheel frames the instrument cluster without obscuring any information and, thanks to the E-Class, have come to rely on the 4.5” display between the speedometer and tachometer that provides navigation instructions, trip computer functionality, and other useful information.DSC_0518  The display is controlled by buttons on the steering wheel that allow the driver to select functions and scroll through options and information.

Seats are another area where Mercedes-Benz has done its homework.   They are comfortable and firm, even after hours of driving.  The materials, including polished wood and leather, are top notch. A really cool (literally) optional feature: cupholders that both heat and cool.

The cargo area is far bigger than one may expect and there is  minimal intrusion from the wheel wells.

Other new features include Bluetooth audio streaming, LED daytime running lights, 19” aluminum wheels, heated front seats that are eight-way power adjustable, and aluminum roof rails.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the ML350 BlueTec, Infotainment, and Telematics

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