Mercedes-Benz M ML-Class Second generation
Austria: Graz (2004–2011) United States: Tuscaloosa, AlabamaMexico: Toluca, Estado de Mexico
|Engine||3.5 L V6 5.0 L V8 4.6 L V8 5.5 L V8 6.2 L V8 3.0 L V6 diesel 4.0 L V8 diesel|
|Transmission||7-speed automatic Hybrid: CVT|
|Wheelbase||114.7 in (2,913 mm)|
|Length||4788 mm (188.5 in) AMG: 189.8 in (4,821 mm) Hybrid: 188.2 in (4,780 mm)|
|Width||1910 mm (75.2 in) AMG: 76.8 in (1,951 mm) Hybrid: 77.8 in (1,976 mm)|
|Height||1815 mm (71.5 in) AMG: 73.3 in (1,862 mm)|
|Curb weight||2150 kg (4740 lb)|
|Related||Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (X164)|
In 1999, development on a successor to the W163 began under the codename "W164" and spanned a period of 6 years. By late 2001, the production design helmed by Steve Mattin under Peter Pfeiffer was finalized and approved by the executive board. The design patents were filed in Germany on June 10, 2003, and in the U.S. on July 25. Prototype testing was conducted throughout 2003 and 2004, concluding in early 2005. The redesigned M-class (chassis name W164) was introduced in April 2005 as a 2006 model after a showing at the North American International Auto Show in January. It was almost entirely new, with a more sporting, aerodynamic look—the coefficient of drag is down to 0.34. Mercedes-Benz has also made the new M-Class larger, measuring 150 mm longer than the first model. The M-Class was named "Best New Sport Utility Vehicle" in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year awards.
Mercedes-Benz extensively publicised the US$600 million spent to update its factory and add manufacturing space for the new R-Class. According to early automotive press reports, the 2006 M-Class vehicles demonstrated vast improvements in quality.
The W164 platform used for the new M-Class is shared with the new GL-Class and is a unibody type rather than the former (W163) body-on-frame used by the M-Class vehicles produced from 1998–2005. The X164 GL-Class, a longer seven-seater version of the W164 platform, is also available.
New features in the 2006 M-Class include the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission, optional Active Curve-Illuminating Bi-Xenon headlights which "steer" in the path of the vehicle, and an adjustable-height air suspension. The manual transmission has been dropped. Permanent 4Matic four-wheel drive remained, with one-speed transfer case (no low range), center limited-slip differential and four-wheel electronic traction system (4-ETS). In most countries except the U.S., an Off-Road Pro package with center and rear differential locks, 4-ETS, two-speed transfer case with reduction gearing, and adjustable ground clearance was available as an option.
The AMG version of the W164, the ML 63 AMG, was introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show as a limited edition 2007 model. It features a 6.2 L M156 V8 engine producing 510 hp (380 kW) and 465 lb·ft (630 N·m) that is handcrafted in Germany. The engine is added to an AMG Speedshift 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission. The 2006 ML 63 AMG can accelerate from 0–60 mph (96 km/h) in just 4.8 seconds, or from 0–62 mph (100 km/h) in just 5.0 seconds. These impressive features made the ML 63 AMG the most powerful naturally aspırated V8 SUV in the world.
By 2007, design work on updates to the W164 were finalized and patented domestically in Germany on November 23, 2007. The 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class got a minor face-lift as it debuted at the 2008 New York International Auto Show.
This face-lift includes new front headlights, redesigned front and rear bumpers, new exterior mirrors, new rim choices, a larger front grille, restyled interior, and a new ML 420 CDI engine choice. The ML 280 CDI became the ML 300 CDI, the 320 CDI the 350 CDI, and the 420 CDI became the 450 CDI.
Models using Bluetec Diesel engine with urea injection were introduced in 2008 for the 2009 model year.
At the 2009 New York International Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz showed their ML 450 Hybrid SUV, which was announced on 8 April 2009. The ML 450 Hybrid consumes almost 50% less fuel than the ML 550 does, even though it produces over 90% of the power generated by the V8 model. Total power generated will be 335 hp (250 kW) and 381 lb·ft (517 N·m) of torque, while getting 24 mpg-US (9.8 L/100 km) on the highway and 21 mpg-US (11 L/100 km) in the city, according to United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates. The engine itself runs on the Atkinson cycle and by itself makes 275 hp.The ML 450 was developed under the Global Hybrid Cooperation, and will only be available in the United States under lease.