It’s unfortunate that the most noticeable bolt-on to this particular iteration of Mercedes’ gently face lifted M Class is the addition of running boards. They contrive to rub sepulcher parts of the local countryside down the back of my right leg every time I dismount. Ironically, the one thing this car doesn’t need is any help in remaining upright when cornering. The ongoing, BMW X5 derived obsession with forcing vehicles to behave dynamically as they shouldn’t has seen Mercedes equip the new M Class with a tough ride that does it no favors when bumbling along backlanes. The M Class may corner with surprisingly poise, but it strikes me that the horse inevitably corralled a coupe at feet behind every other UK M Class will have more comfortable journey than its owner. Mercedes has been tinkering with the M Class for long enough to get pretty much everything else right. Modest front and rear styling changes contrive to make it slightly more handsome than before.
While the comfortable, spacious interior benefits from almost imperceptible tweaks and a hike in standard equipment worth a deal more than the anticipated #250 increase in vehicle cost. The engine is massaged to creep average fuel consumption over the magic 30 mpg mark, develops a purposeful 224 bhp and, more significantly, a handsome 358 ft, producing respectable performance via a six speed auto that slurs proceedings with the alacrity of a drunk. The steering’s innocuous and the brakes give no cause for complaint.