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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
The third generation of Mercedes-Benz’s wildly popular M-class has been unveiled, and it sports a wider, cleaner new grille and a new V6 diesel engine.
The ML350 BlueTEC gets a newly massaged 3-liter V6 diesel engine that’s 50-state compliant and features 55-lb/ft more torque than the last engine, bringing that figure up to 455. It also has 240 horsepower, an increase of 30hp over the previous engine. As far as mileage goes, the increase is far more subtle: 20/25 instead of 18/25 city/highway mpg, but the torque is a far more entertaining trade-off.
The other engine is a 3.5-liter V6 engine with direct injection, which features 302 horsepower and 2743 lb/ft of torque. Both of these are available with a seven-speed automatic transmission with a new oil thermal management system. Underneath, the M-Class features what Mercedes calls AGILITY CONTROL, but what normal people call active damping: the shocks can firm up based on current driving conditions, enhancing stability.
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but it shouldn’t be too far off the mark of the current M-Class’s starting MSRP of $47,365.
Gallery: 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class