2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTec – Review and Test Drive

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DSC_0498I hadn’t been behind the wheel of the ML350 BlueTec for almost two years and had forgotten how much fun the new M-Class is to drive.  In my week with the ML350, I took several longer drives in addition to driving locally in town.  No longer in the open spaces of Montana, I noticed several features in the car that I hadn’t really needed there.

It’s important to note that the ML350 BlueTec can drive and park itself.  The Distronic Plus radar cruise control keeps the car moving at the appropriate speed with traffic and the new Collision Prevention Assist uses the radar sensor to monitor distance between the ML and the vehicle in front.  If it senses an imminent collision, it first alerts the driver with a warning tone and prepares the car for emergency braking so that the driver will have maximum braking power the second he applies the brakes.

To park the car, the self-parking system uses radar to scan for an available spot while driving down the street at up to 20 mph (32 km/h). Once a potential spot is located, the system neatly parallel-parks the ML.  All the driver has to do is engage the brake occasionally.

It’s easy to forget how smooth and quiet the ML’s ride is.  DSC_0611Even the diesel engine’s telltale tick-tock sound, clearly audible outside the vehicle, is inaudible from within.  I also forgot how fast it was.  Our long term E350 BlueTec has an older and less powerful version of the V6 diesel engine.  The ML’s 3.0-liter engine develops a crushing 455 pound-feet of torque and 240 horsepower, allowing it to go from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 7.3 seconds.  For a vehicle that weighs over 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms), that’s impressively fast.  For my week with the M-Klasse, I found I consistently beat the 20 mpg (11.76 l/100 km) city/25 mpg (9.41l/100 km) highway that the EPA says it will deliver

The M-Class’s Dynamic Handling Package adds an adaptive air suspension and the Adaptive Curve system that limits body roll and allows the 5,000-pound truck to corner in a fairly neutral fashion.  The only disappointment was the electrically-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, which was nowhere near as sporty as a BMW X5’s, for example.

Click here to continue to Page 3ML350 BlueTec Infotainment and Telematics

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