2007 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review
New diesel and AMG versions.
The 2007 Mercedes-Benz M-Class generates more physical and visceral excitement than its predecessors, the pre-2006 models. From the emotional perspective, its front end is bolder, more interesting and more aggressive, with ventilated grille bars, a power-dome hood design and wild-looking integrated headlamps. In profile, the wheel arches loom large and prominent. There's an unmistakable character line rising front to rear, and a forward-slanting C-pillar that frames trapezoidal rear side glass.
On the practical side, the M-Class body is much more aerodynamic. Its drag coefficient, or Cd, measures 0.34. That's closer to the average sedan than the typical slab-sided SUV. The lower the number, the less noise generated as air flows over the vehicle, and the less power required to move the ML at a given speed.
Some improvements aren't readily apparent to the eye. A new-fangled scratch resistant paint, embedded with thousands of flecks of ceramic, is standard. It should be welcomed by those owners who actually decide to challenge overgrown trails, or those who share their garages with kids, toys and bicycles. There's an optional power liftgate operated with the key fob, and several cargo organizing devices available as accessories.
New for 2007 is the ML63 AMG, and it is readily distinguished from other M-Class models. If its 20-inch spoke rims aren't a dead giveaway, check the ML63's more aggressive front and rear aprons, unique grille, flared fenders and deeply sculpted AMG side skirts. The ML63 also features unique tinted taillights and two sets of twin-chrome exhaust tips.
Inside the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the dashboard, door panels and seats compliment the aggressive exterior design nicely. Wood, leather, plastic and metal finishes are generally top-drawer, as they should be at this price.
Four huge, round air vents spread across the dash panel, which is dominated by a deeply hooded instrument cluster with sharp graphics and prominent chrome trim around the tachometer and speedometer. A central information window between the gauges can be programmed to supply about as much driving and maintenance information as one driver can stand to absorb.
The steering wheel has a nice, thick rim that's reassuring when driving off road. We're fond of the optional wheel, finished with the top half in wood and the bottom half in leather. The center hub houses four sets of controls for information, telephone, navigation and entertainment systems. Wipers are stalk-mounted to the left of the column, while primary climate and audio controls are in the center stack above the console. The center stack is dominated by the elements of the COMAND system and a 16:9 LCD display which incorporates entertainment, telephone, and navigation displays.
The M-Class features an electronic gear selector that's making its way into all Mercedes models. It's an easy-to-reach short stalk on the right side of the steering column, with simple up-down movement for reverse and drive. Alternate shift buttons, which allow selection of a specific gear, are located on the back of the steering wheel hub, right where fingers wrap around the spokes. It's a good system, and eliminates the conventional gear selector from the center console, making more room available for elegant design and function.
The power seat controls have been relocated from the door to the outboard side of the seat bottom. We can fathom no reason for this change except the cost trimmed by eliminating the remote switches. It's certainly a less convenient arrangement. Still, the front seats themselves (even the base seats in the ML350) are all-day comfortable. The rear seat isn't as supportive as the fronts, but it's much roomier than before. Most of the newly created space in this second-generation M-Class translates into more knee and legroom for rear seat passengers.
The rear seat folds fairly easily, and is split 60/40, to expand storage space from 29.1 to 72.4 cubic feet maximum. The load height in back is SUV high, but M-Class offers nearly as much cargo-hauling room as the typical, full-size truck-based SUV.
The new 2007 ML63 AMG has heavily bolstered sport seats upholstered with Nappa leather and an Alcantara insert across the shoulder bolsters. Its entire dashboard is wrapped with leather. The ML63 also features a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, unique instruments with AMG graphics and stainless-steel pedals with rubber studs.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2007 Mercedes-Benz M-Class, click here: 2007 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.