Obsession with technical excellence and a little rivalry with BMW, assures that Mercedes Benz applies is considerable engineering skills to its three piece set of sport utilities that comprises the ML series. Lucky us! This pursuit excellence is easily seen in the basic specifications. Built using tough body on frame construction, the 7 passenger MLs combine powerful engines, full time all wheel drive with 48/52 torque split (including a 2 speed transfer case and three differentials), 4 wheel independent suspension and numerous electronic aids with pavement friendly handling and luxury befitting Mercedes Benz’s formidable reputation. This combination of on and off road prowess has proven irresistible 319,000 times since its 1997 debut; the ML Class sells about as fast as Mercedes can assemble them in their Alabama plant. Because the rocket-sled ML-55 AMG (342 bhp V8) was freshened last year, it’s now time for the V6 powered ML 320 and V8 propelled ML 500 to be updated. For each this means new 17-in.wheels fitted with all season tries, and a more aggressive bumper, tailgate, taillamp and headlight design.
Inside, full length side curtain airbags augment the smart frontal and door mounted side impact airbags. Improved, back-lit climate controls, including automatic functions and a rear seat fan have been added, along with a reworked center console featuring burled walnut, double cupholder, ashtry and 12volt outlet. A larger fuel tank is standard as well. In all, the new elements appear more integrated than before, less tacked on. Obviously something is behind new ML 500 designation, namely, a displacement increase n the V8 to 5.0 liters.