2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 CDI : Review

Recently, Mercedes launched the new 2012 Mercedes Benz ML350 CDI in India, with a price-tag of Rs. 66 lakhs. The SUV is initially being offered with AMG styling, via the CBU route but plans are underway to locally assemble the car and launch a cheaper variant without the AMG bodykit, for a price of Rs. 56.90 (ex-showroom Delhi).

The German luxury carmaker had first unveiled the ML350 SUV at the 2012 Auto Expo in January and had announced an April launch.  However, after the customs duty hike prescribed by the Union Budget, Mercedes had to postpone its launch.

The new 2012 ML350 SUV will replace the current model sold in India and has been armed with some powerful upgrades.

Design

The brand new 2012 ML350 SUV not only looks more aggressive, but also more appealing compared to its predecessor. The 2012 ML350 SUV measures  4.8 metres in length and 1.9 metres in width, with a height of 1.8 metres. The new SUV features nice cut-wheel arches, AMG-type vents on the bonnet and a big front grille with a large Mercedes logo at the centre. Mercedes has added new headlamps and even an all new bumper design.

2012 Mercedes-Benz ML 350 CDI

The bigger dimensions and the exquisite styling give the 2012 ML350 SUV a more dynamic look, in contrast to the relatively conservativeappearance of its predecessor.

Features & Safety

The new ML350 SUV comes packed with many more new features and also several improvements over existing features. Truly, Mercedes has left no stone unturned in making the 5-seater SUV fit for any terrain- urban crawl or hilly climbs.

The dashboard looks brilliant with an instrument panel that looks like something out of a fighter jet, smooth AC vents and great central console features. The communication and entertainment systems are absolutely state-of-the-art. The cabin is very spacious and no compromise has been made in terms of luggage space. Legroom and headroom are also ample.

2012 Mercedes-Benz ML 350 CDI

The SUV is built to tackle any terrain but safety features have received an upgrade. The 2012 ML350 features 2-stage front airbags, sidebags in the front and windowbags, optional rear sidebags, NECK-PRO crash responsive head restraints, self-supporting body, energy absorbing rear and front structures, belt tensioner, anti-lock braking system (ABS) and acceleration skid control (ASR), PRE-SAFE system and the ESP/4ETS dynamic handling control system.

Performance

Under the hood, the 2012 ML350 SUV is powered by a 3.0-litre common-rail direct injection diesel engine just like the previous version. However, Mercedes has integrated many tweaks and performance upgrades in the engine, increasing the overall efficiency and ensuring lower emissions. The SUV generates maximum power of 231hp at 3800rpm and a cool 620Nm of torque at 1600-2400rpm. This high torque can take the SUV (with a total weight of 2175kg) from 0 to 100kmh in just 7.4 seconds.

The new ML350 SUV will come with 7-speed 7G-tronic transmission, and Mercedes is also offering other features such as permanent 4-wheel drive, brake energy recuperation functions and automatic start/stop.

2012 Mercedes-Benz ML 350 CDI

You may be forgiven to make the mistake of assuming that the 2012 ML350 runs on a petrol engine- the engine sound is just so smooth! Even from the outside, you do not hear the typical diesel motor rattle heard in other diesel cars and vibration too is very little- even while revving the engine!

Since most SUVs in India are used for driving on urban terrain, the ML350’s larger dimensions may make it difficult to manoeuvre while stuck in tight city traffic. But rest assured,the 2012 Mercedes Benz ML350 SUV is worth any penny. Be sure to include the AMG bodykit if you’re primarily going to use the vehicle for urban travel.

The 2012 Mercedes Benz ML350 SUV will go for Rs. 66 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) in India.

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