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brawn & beauty ... but at a price

By unknown | Mar 04, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

With many of our pot-holed roads resembling those of downtown Baghdad after a heavy night of shelling, Road Rave decided to swop the fancy sports cars and bring in the heavy artillery - the Mercedes-Benz ML 350.

Although by no means the "Big Daddy" in the ML range - you also have the ML500 and the ML63 AMG - the ML350 packs enough punch to keep even the most serious of off-roaders smiling.

It definitely falls into the heavyweight category and its figures are impressive: it is 4,7metres long; 1,8metres high and weighs in at over two tonnes.

But typically Mercedes, it is not just about brawn. No, the ML350 is a lovely mixture of the latest in motoring technology coupled with luxury features that include a CD system that provides surround sound, hill-start assist and an air-conditioning unit that provides separate settings for the driver and passenger.

The ride itself is effortless. Select "D" on the gear stick attached to the steering wheel, release the handbrake switch on the side and it's a case of "A for Away!"

With a seven-speed automatic gearbox, the ML350 is quickly off the mark and has a top speed of 210kmh.

The leather seats - which have a variety of settings for the exact posture that suits you - provide for a comfortable ride, whether around town or on a longer journey.

A touch of wood panelling adds to the upmarket feel of the car and at the press of a button the sunroof slides back for that outdoor feel.

For around-town driving expect in the region of 15litres per 100km, but this drops to about 10litres per 100km on the open highway. Pretty respectable figures and the tank holds 95litres.

Proudly boasting a set of 19-inch wheels all round, the ride is decidedly high yet smooth.

Stuck in traffic one afternoon, the aircon doing its thing, a favourite CD blasting away and me looking down at the cars below, it reminded me of a sticker one sees on the back of cars now and then: "Yes, in fact I do own the road!"

That's how I felt driving this vehicle. Sure it's a rich man's toy (R640000) yet with its pedigree and capabilities, it will no doubt be the envy of many drivers.


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