Mercedes M-Class SUV (2011-2015) - Engines, drive & performance
The Mercedes M-Class SUV’s two-tonne weight is well disguised
The Mercedes M-Class' steering is well weighted and it's easy to keep the car where you want it on the road. Neither is the M-Class excessively difficult to drive around town or to park. All models come with parking assistance, which can automatically reverse-park for you and makes the M-Class even more urban-friendly.
The ride is generally comfortable on standard suspension, but it isn't quite as polished as that of rivals unless you get the optional air-suspension, which makes it exceedingly well cushioned.
Every engine comes with a smooth seven-speed automatic gearbox, permanent four-wheel drive and a stop-start system to help fuel economy. The M-Class isn't bad to drive off-road as a result, but it's still nowhere near as effective as the Volkswagen Touareg or Range Rover Sport away from tarmac.
Mercedes M-Class petrol engines
There's only one petrol engine available with the M-Class and it's the most powerful of the lot. The ML 63 AMG model produces a monstrous 518bhp, and, in spite of the car's weight, will reach 62mph from rest in 4.8 seconds, which is extremely fast. Just don't expect anything like decent fuel economy.
Mercedes M-Class diesel engines
Of the two diesel engines on offer in the M-Class, the entry-level ML 250 is both the most economical and the least powerful. Even so, the 201bhp 2.1-litre model doesn't feel sluggish – it just isn't as quick as the other two. There's a decent amount of pulling power, it'll reach 62mph from rest in nine seconds flat and it's not a bad motorway cruiser.
The ML 350 has a bigger 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with 255bhp. Consequently, it has a lot more mid-range power than the ML 250 and it's faster off the mark, with 0-62mph taking just 7.4 seconds. It's extremely relaxed on long journeys and will suit those who want reasonable fuel economy but a dose of extra power.