The 2012 M-Class SUV may be completely redesigned, but Mercedes isn't charging any extra for the new and improved model. The 2012 M-Class starts at $49,865 - exactly the same prices as the outgoing 2011 model. The automaker also released other details on its all-new midsize SUV, which goes on sale in September.
Mercedes says the 2012 M-class will initially be offered in two versions: a gasoline-powered ML350 and diesel-powered ML350 BlueTec. Those looking to save some money at the pump with the fuel-sipping BlueTec diesel will pay just a little more - around $51,000 with destination. While the current hybrid ML450H, V8-powered ML550 and high-performance ML63 AMG models won't be available right away, we expect them to return soon.
In addition to a totally new exterior design, the 2012 M-Class will feature a host of updates and revisions. Gas-powered ML350 models will feature a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 - a 34-horsepower increase over last year. Diesel-powered BlueTec models get a bump from 210 horsepower to 240. The new M-Class also gets a new transmission that should help improve fuel economy. Like previous versions of the M-Class, the 2012 model will include Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive as standard.
The 2012 M-class will also offer a few new technology options. The Attention Assist feature alerts drivers it senses may be getting tired by analyzing 70 parameters indicating activity, responsiveness and motion. When the system detects a driver may be drowsy, it triggers an audible warning and displays a coffee cup icon in the instrument cluster along with the message, "Time for a Rest?"
Another new option for the 2012 M-class will be an iPad docking station. Mercedes says the docking station will hold an iPad in the headrests behind the front seats, allowing rear passengers to watch movies, play games, listen to music and surf the Internet without having to hold it. For maximum visibility, the docking station can even be rotated up to 90 degrees.