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It's too big, bold and classy to be messed with

By unknown | Oct 29, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

It's big, it's bold, it's definitely classy and it carries that distinctive three-point star we know so well, which can only mean one thing - it's the new generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

Initially available in three derivatives - the ML320 CDI (R635000), ML350 (R625000) and ML500 (R725000) - the new M-Class series has introduced a few cosmetic changes to the previous range.

The new-look front and rear gives the vehicle a more stylish, rounded look, while the new multi-function steering wheel - standard throughout the range - provides drivers with a number of options a just a finger push away.

Shift paddles on the steering wheel, linked to the 7-speed automatic gearbox, also comes as standard.

Cabin space, as you would expect from a vehicle of this size, is ample. So, whether riding up front or in the rear passenger seats, leg and head room is fine.

The dash seems to contain more knobs, dials and switches than a space shuttle, but everything is neatly laid out and easily identifiable.

With the northern reaches of KwaZulu-Natal as our playground for two days, the media had plenty of opportunity to experience the vehicles both on and off-road.

Temperatures reached a sauna-like 37 degrees outside, but thanks to the dual air-conditioning system the interior of the vehicle remained as cool as an Eskimo's igloo! Noise inside the cabin is also greatly reduced, with triple insulation around the windows.

A bit of off-road driving provided a good workout for the vehicles and the hill descent option provided a safe and confident way of tackling a steep and rocky track.

Ground clearance can be increased by pressing a button when the going gets really tough.

The big daddy of the M-Class range - the ML63 AMG (R1,08million) - will be showcased for the first time locally later this week at the Johannesburg Motor Show.

With a 6,2-litre V8 engine pushing out 375kW and a claimed 0-100km/h of five seconds, this sounds like one vehicle you definitely don't mess with.

Can't wait to see if it lives up to all the fuss!


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