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2008 Mercedes-Benz ML

RUTHLESSREVIEWTM: Officially they still call it the M, though in fact all models were now longer wheelbase MLs. The ML-Class had been an entirely new model for 2006, and its mission was to compensate for the shortcomings of the retired M, a homely, awkwardly shaped thing from the beginning, and more importantly to us it had a troubled history since it first appeared late in 1997. The once highly respected Mercedes name was losing a lot of its luster these days, and the M had been a major contributor to that decline. Longer, wider and lower, this new model seats the same five people but in a larger cabin with more cargo room. The rear 60/40 seats fold into the floor for a cargo capacity of 75 cu ft. (42 cu ft with the seats up.) Same engines this year; with a V-6 with 268 hp. A V-8 with 302 hp, as well as the overkiller 503hp AMG V-8. Most interesting was the arrival of M-B's new V-6 diesel. All drive through the excellent (when it's working right) M-B seven-speed automatic. Controls on the steering wheel allow shifts with fingertips. The overall package seems much improved, but the ML is still being built in the same Alabama plant where the M was built, on the same line and by the same people, so we still won't recommend it until we see an improvement in reliability.
BEST FEATURES: Much improved appearance
The V-8 making 302 hp had arrived
So had the 503 hp AMG V-8
Most interesting was the 215 hp V-6 diesel (not in all states)
Longer and wider makes for more room
Airbags everywhere, side bags with rollover sensors
Enjoyable to drive
WORST FEATURES: Thirsty with all engines
MODEL CHANGE DUE: Hybrid ML450 coming soon
BOTTOM LINE: Keep looking

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