Finely appointed cabin; long list of amenities; excellent seating; availability of a clean-diesel engine; aggressive exterior styling
Steep learning curve for COMAND system; absence of third-row seating
The 2014 M-Class carries over from the 2013 model year with minor color and trim changes. The Sport Styling package, previously available only on the ML550, can now be ordered on the ML350. Also new for 2014 is the option to special order a Splitview screen, which enables the central display to simultaneously reveal a navigation screen to the driver while the passenger watches a movie.
Of 2013 Mercedes-Benz M-Class models, the ML350 BlueTEC is our choice. This advanced 50-state-legal clean diesel offers better fuel economy and a smaller carbon footprint than its gasoline-powered counterpart. It also has more torque than a lot of high-performance cars, making it an absolute delight in everyday driving, especially when launching from traffic lights or executing a highway passing maneuver. The ML350 BlueTEC is green, efficient and powerful off-the-line while still offering the luxury and refinement for which the M-Class is well known.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is available in four variants: the ML350, ML350 BlueTEC, ML550 and ML63 AMG.
The base ML350 ($47,790) is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 producing 302 hp. Standard items include cruise control, HD radio, heated front seats, a power lift gate and a 7-speed transmission.
Opt for the ML350 BlueTEC ($51,790) and you'll get a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel that churns a modest 240 hp but a thumpy 455 lb-ft of torque. While this diesel version shares much of the same basic equipment as the ML350, Mercedes-Benz's 4Matic all-wheel-drive system -- a $2,500 option on the standard ML350 -- comes standard on the BlueTEC.
The ML550 ($59,450) is motivated by a 402 hp 4.7-liter V8 also mated to a standard 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, and is outfitted with sportier exterior bodywork.
The high-performance ML63 AMG ($97,250) gets you a grunty 5.5-liter twin turbocharged 518-hp V8 and the requisite upgrades to suspension and brakes. Surprisingly, the AMG version is the only M-Class that comes with standard leather seating. Items such as navigation, parking sensors, an upgraded 14-speaker sound system and cooled front seats are also standard on the ML63.
Options include a sport package with AMG body styling and 19-inch wheels for the ML350 ($2,500), a panorama roof ($1,090), a xenon lighting package ($1,390), a premium package with navigation, a 10-gig music register, SiriusXM radio, power folding mirrors and a rearview camera ($3,920). Some a la carte options such as Keyless Go ($650) are optional on all but the ML63 model.
|Basic||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
BMW X5 -- Comparable to the M-Class in price and equipment, the X5 is more of a driver's car with a stronger emphasis on handling dynamics.
Porsche Cayenne -- Offers a more engaging driving experience than the M-Class, whereas the M-Class delivers a plusher ride. The interior of the M-Class is more refined and biased toward comfort, not sportiness.
Acura MDX -- The M-Class has more power and performance, better ride and handling and a higher-quality interior. But Acura's all-wheel-drive system is better than Benz's 4Matic, making the MDX more capable in colder climates. The MDX is also less expensive.