Mercedes-Benz ML400 4MATIC: Your ideal road trip companion
One wouldn’t associate Mercedes-Benz with SUVs, not when the three-pointed star marque is renowned for churning out limousines and luxury sedans that never fail to awe.
Truth be told, Mercedes started its history of hunky sports utility four-wheelers back in the days, with the M-Class’ birth dating back to 1997. Yes, there’s also the G-Class, but we dare generalize to say that it is ultimately the M-Class that garnered more attention worldwide.
Mercedes’ latest iteration of the facelifted W166 M-Class combines and improves on a combination of factors, such as comfort and luxury (living up to the three-pointed star’s reputation), as well as maybe a tad more on driveability.
Facelifts are never exciting. They look almost the same as its predecessor, and it would take a real enthusiast or know-it driver to identify the differences.
The new ML is no different. Up front, aesthetic changes include the integration of daytime running lights as compared to the individual ones we had on the old W166.
Replacing the old paint-coloured or black bumpers are now panels beautifully decorated with chrome-plates, enhancing the luxurious appeal the brand is ultimately supposed to bring across.
And of course, a new set of headlamps would definitely come with a re-designed sharper set of tail lights. Our facelifted ML400 came fitted with 20” shoes, great assets to have if you’re planning on long drives or hitting the dirt track.
While Mercedes’ interiors may look similar, their build quality is noticeably improving by the models. The ML400 receives finer and much-improved cabin finishings, with most of the controls within your reach on the dash.
Yes, the car measures 4.8 metres long and 1.9 metres wide, but this is hardly felt from the driving cabin. The ML400’s seating position and angle makes you feel at home the way the X6 did, as compared to other SUVs that felt gigantic behind the wheel.
Unfortunately for tech geeks, Mercedes offers most of your fanciful gadgets as options, such as the sunroof and their COMAND Online navigation system. No, these are not a must to have in tropical Singapore, but it does distinguish itself from its “X-of-a-competitor”.
For facelifts, this is perhaps the most exciting section we look forward to writing. Beneath the hood now sits a 3.0 litre bi-turbo V6 plant, churning out 328 horses and 480 Nm of torque (for the ML400).
We save on the road tax compared to its predecessor’s 3.5 litre naturally aspirated heart, but gain 22 more horses and more importantly, 110 more Nm of torque to bring you to the century mark in just 5.4 seconds.
Power comes in at just short of 1,500 rpm, and you’d soon find yourself way ahead of the pack. But all that power comes at a price of comfort if you’re maneuvering yourself in the urban city.
Across a long stretch of road, the ML400 roars to life, short of its monster brother from the AMG line. Power is delivered instantaneously, and the amazing thing is, your passengers at the rear don’t feel the slightest discomfort – well, at least if you’re going in a straight line.
But being part of the family whom focuses on sheer comfort and luxury, the M-Class may not be your ideal choice for hard driving, especially when tackling tight corners.
Being a Mercedes-Benz, the M-Class is ultimately tuned for comfort. Bearing that in mind, driving hard on this 2.1 ton beast will leave you feeling a little too floaty for comfort, especially at the rear. It doesn’t take corners too well, displaying a little too much body roll for what we otherwise call a smooth and comfortable journey.
But that being said, we cannot deny that the M-Class stands tall and proud as an ideal choice for a long drive or a road trip. It may not feel as dynamic as its Bavarian competitor, but it certainly performs up to expectations in terms of comfort and luxury.
The M-Class provides you with the sheer luxury, size, and space for baggage should you ever need it. It doesn’t come with a third row of seats that the X5 gladly offers, but it makes up to you by providing sheer luxury and comfort (provided you don’t bring it down bends and curves).
For the ultimate elegance and luxury in any sport utility vehicle, the M-Class undoubtedly stands a cut above the rest.
The sheer luxury and comfort the car provides for a long drive.
We don’t like:
Doesn’t take corners too well, and the suspension feels like its permanently on Comfort