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 |  Jul 13 2011, 9:45 AM

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In a pleasantly surprising move, Mercedes-Benz has announced pricing for the new 2012 M-Class SUV, stating that its starting price will remain the same as its 2011 model, despite offering more than its predecessor. At launch, Mercedes will offer two different models in North America, the ML350 4MATIC and the diesel BlueTEC ML350.

For its third generation, the 2012 M-Class sits .75-inch lower than the previous model, is nearly an inch longer and a half-inch wider. In addition, the SUV gets a styling refresh all around, most noticeably in its front end with a bolder yet more elegant design. The newly refreshed headlights are flush-mounted in the fenders and daytime LED running lights find their way onto the front bumper.

The standard ML350 4MATIC will come powered by a 302-hp 3.5L V6 engine with 273 lb-ft of torque. That’s 13-percent more power for 2012 at an MSRP of $49,865. The diesel BlueTEC features a 3.0L V6 powerplant with 240-hp and an impressive 455 lb-ft of torque with 30-percent better fuel economy than a gasoline counterpart. The ML350 BlueTEC starts at a very reasonable $51,365.

Tech-heads will be happy to hear that the new M-Class also features an all new iPad docking station behind the headrests of the front seats. The docking station can be rotated up to 90-degrees and tilted while being charged through the vehicle.

Look for AutoGuide’s 2012 M-Class review soon.

GALLERY: 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

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