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2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Sport Utility

4MATIC 4dr 3.5L

Starting at | Starting at 16 MPG City - 20 MPG Highway

2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class for Sale

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  • Average Retail is not available
  • $39,750 original MSRP
Printable Version

2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Sport Utility

Printable Version

2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Sport Utility


2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Source: New Car Test Drive


Mercedes-Benz popularized the luxury sport-utility class seven years ago with its first ML 320, its first product built in the U.S. since the early 1900s and its first consumer-oriented SUV, built to a price under $30,000. A lot of water has gone over the dam since then, and this brand new M-Class has been completely re-engineered for a new generation of luxury SUV buyers.

Instead of the original body-on-frame truck-style design, this new one has welded unibody construction with isolated front and rear subframes, a technique that emphasizes high strength and low weight, and reduces the overall height, making it easier for families to get in and out of.

It's been re-proportioned, too. The wheelbase is almost four inches longer, the body almost six inches longer, and nearly three inches wider, all the better to accommodate larger American individuals and families, and an indication that the original was simply too small. In the bargain, the coefficient of drag or Cd number, has dropped from a bricklike 0.40 to a sylphlike 0.34, on a par with many passenger cars that are much lower to the ground. This means quieter highway ride and better fuel economy.

The new look and larger size are accompanied by a new double-wishbone front suspension and a new four-link independent rear suspension. The optional side-facing rear seats of the old model are gone. This is strictly a five-seater (which makes room in the lineup for the new R-Class six-seat sports tourer.

Model Lineup

For 2005, there are only two M-Class models to choose from, the ML 350 with a brand-new four-valve-per-cylinder 3.5-liter V6 engine, and the ML 500, with the tried-and-true three-valve-per-cylinder, twin-spark 5.0-liter V8. (Later on, there will be an additional high-performance model using an AMG V8 engine, probably the new 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V8 they're working on. In calendar year 2007, the new 3.2-liter diesel V6 will be added to the ML lineup.)

Both gas engines come with a seven-speed automatic transmission (called the 7G-Tronic). All models also come with the next generation of Mercedes-Benz's full-time, brake-based 4ETS electronic all-wheel-drive and traction control system.

With either engine, the package of standard equipment is staggering. After all, this is a Mercedes-Benz, and they don't stint on power, luxury, or entertainment equipment in these trucks. They tried that on the first ML, customer reaction was negative, and they won't do that again.

Mercedes-Benz's renowned commitment to occupant safety means that the 2006 M-Class comes standard with ABS, ESP stability control, traction control, two-stage adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger, curtain side airbags and adaptive belt tensioners and belt force limiters for all seating positions. A rollover sensor can activate both the belt tensioner and curtain airbags if the vehicle senses an imminent rollover. A passive tire pressure warning system is also standard.


The old Mercedes ML had one original design and one facelift during its seven-year life cycle, and this new one starts way ahead of where the old one left off in terms of physical and visceral excitement. The designers have made the front end much more aggressive, much bolder, and more interesting to look at, with ventilated grille bars, a power-dome hood design, a new approach to the bumper and lower grille element, and wild-looking new integrated headlamps.

The body shell is much more aerodynamic, with much larger and more prominent wheel arches front and rear, a new character line that rises as it goes rearward, and a heavily forward-slanting C-pillar that leads to a new trapezoidal rear side glass panel. The side window shapes go hand-in-hand with the grille, the body shell and roof angles to say to the onlooker "Hi. I'm here to kick some butt."

Scratch-resistant paint, an interesting technology, will be standard on all models, and will be welcomed by those who really do take their M-Class vehicles off the road and into the shrubbery or those who have kids who brush up against the car. Also, a new power liftgate operated by the key fob will be optional, along with a cargo organizer for the load floor.

Interior Features

The instrument panel, door panels, seats, and carpeting are all completely new, and they go very well with the aggressive new exterior design. There are four huge round air vents spread across the dash panel, dominated by a deeply hooded instrument cluster with sharp new graphics, and more chrome trim around the tachometer and speedometer. A central information window can be programmed to supply about as much driving and maintenance information as one driver can stand to absorb.

The steering wheel is a new four-spoke design with the top half in wood and the bottom half in leather, the two lower spokes done in brushed metal finish and a nice, thick rim that's reassuring when you're off the road. The steering wheel houses four sets of controls for information, telephone, navigation and entertainment systems. The center console is dominated by the elements of the COMAND system and a 16:9 wide-screen display which can be used for entertainment, telephone, or navigation displays.

One new element is the simple up-down-in short-stalk shifter on the right side of the steering column for P-R-N-D selection, with backup shifter buttons on the steering wheel. This change has made for a more open, more elegant and more useful center console, since the shifter has been relocated from there to the column. Power seat controls have been relocated from the door to the outboard side of the seat.

The front bucket seats are all-day comfortable, the rear seats are similarly comfortable and spacious, and all of the wood, leather, plastic and metal finishes are top-drawer, as they should be at this price. There's a lot more room inside the new M-Class as well, with the rear seat 15 mm farther back from the front seat, 35 mm more knee room, and 32 mm more elbow room than the previous model.

Driving Impressions

During several days of hard driving in the south of France, we found the all-new 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML 500 an absolute hoot to drive. The V8 engine will take its 4600-pound package from 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds flat, and then settles down to a background burble by the time you reach seventh-gear overdrive. The seven-speed automatic offers a manual-shift mode and is one of the strongest and most flexible automatics ever built.

The completely revised suspension is very good at keeping the truck's attitude nice and flat in high-speed corners, and it will hop over rocks and dip into potholes as though they weren't really there. The AirMatic air suspension system we drove in France, which will be optional on U.S. models, is downright supple, which trucks aren't supposed to be. The larger standard 18-inch wheels and tires on the V8 and the power rack-and-pinion steering combined with the new steering wheel give a nice feel of the road, and quick reactions when necessary. At high speeds through mountain passes, the ML 500 leans over a little, takes a set, and then grabs the ground and turns the corners. Steering is hefty and linear.

While some critics carp about the electronically actuated and modulated Sensotronic brake system that Mercedes-Benz has been feeding gradually into all of its models over the last three years or so, we're well used to them by now, and we enjoy using their enormous power with just a little hard dab at the pedal. These are very serious brakes, and once you get used to them you will appreciate them every day for their directness and power.

Off the road, the ML 500 has two significant added features, a Downhill Speed Regulation software control that won't let you and it go any faster than about 7 mph downhill, and a Start-Off Assist that keeps the vehicle from drifting backward in Drive or forward in Reverse on steep hills. Very handy, indeed, and easy to learn.

Both versions of the new M-Class, the ML 350 and the ML 500, are rated at 5000-pound towing capacity when you order the optional Class III towing package, and we have no doubt that the ML 500 has enough torque to handle loads of that magnitude. While the ML 350 comes with 17-inch wheels and tires and the ML 500 comes with 18s, both are available with two different optional 19-inch tire and wheel packages, one set in the Appearance Package and one set of AMG wheels and high-performance tires in the Sport Package.


Since the Mercedes-Benz ML 320 popularized this class of vehicle seven years ago, others have come from Europe, Japan, and America to compete, and many of them are very, very good at what they do. But Mercedes-Benz knew they had to leapfrog all of that competition, and they have done it with this new ML, and repriced it accordingly. We don't find it as stiff and unforgiving as some of the others, or as mushy off-road as some of the others, and it's certainly not overly styled or decorated like some of the others. If you're ready to step up to a Mercedes-Benz, then this ML is ready for you. The new best-in-class.

New Car Test Drive contributor Jim McCraw filed this report from Provence, France.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
Model lineup:
Mercedes-Benz ML 350 ($39,750); ML 500 ($48,500)
272-hp 3.5-liter V6 (ML 350); 302-hp 5.0-liter V8 (ML 500)
7-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard):
ABS, ASR, EBD, Brake Assist, ESP; frontal, side-impact and curtain air bags
Safety equipment (Optional):
Basic warranty:
4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in:
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Mercedes-Benz ML 500 ($48,500)
Standard equipment:
air conditioning, automatic transmission, power steering, ABS, ESP, ASR, EBD power disc brakes, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, power seats, tilt/telescope wheel, floor console, cruise control, AM/FM/CD system, information center
Options as tested:
Destination charge:
Gas Guzzler Tax:
Price as tested (MSRP)
permanent all-wheel drive
5.0-liter sohc 24-valve V8
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
302 @ 5200
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
339 @ 2700
7-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
14/19 mpg.
114.7 in.
188.2/75.2/71.5 in.
Track, f/r:
63.7/63.8 in.
Turning circle:
38.9 ft.
Seating capacity:
Head/hip/leg room, f:
39.9/59.8/42.2 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
Head/hip/leg room, r:
39.8/59.8/40.0 in.
Cargo volume:
72.4 cu. ft.
Towing capacity:
5000 lbs.
Suspension F:
independent, double wishbones, coil springs
Suspension R:
independent, four-link, coil springs
Ground clearance:
5.5 in.
Curb weight:
4620 lbs.
Brakes, f/r:
disc/disc with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist in.
Fuel capacity:
25.0 gal.

Printable Version

2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Sport Utility

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade

No consumer rating

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Passenger Crash Grade

No consumer rating

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Rollover Resistance

No consumer rating

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Side Impact Crash Test - Front

No consumer rating

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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear

No consumer rating

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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
4-Wheel Disc Brakes Std
Traction/Stability Control Std
Active Suspension System Opt
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std
Rear Head side Air Bag Std

Accident Prevention

Rear Parking Aid Opt


Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Telematics Opt
Printable Version

2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Sport Utility

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance Unlimited Years/Unlimited Miles

Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

The MBCPO Limited warranty provides vehicle coverage for 12 months and Unlimited vehicle miles and begins at the expiration of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty
Age/Mileage Eligibility Model Years 2012-2015 / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection Yes
Return/Exchange Program Yes. See dealer for details.
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible No

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Sport Utility

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