2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Revealed

9 Jun

By Matt McCarron

2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class: Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

The third generation of Mercedes’ mid-sized SUV has been unveiled. The 2012 M-Class has been redesigned or improved in nearly every way. However, the basis of the M-Class, which has made it one of the most popular vehicles in its class since its initial debut in 1997, has remained largely unchanged.

On the outside many characteristics such as the distinctive headlights and C-pillar have stayed the same. Things that have changed include crisper and more aggressive styling, new front grille, 19-inch wheels, LED tail and daytime running lights, chrome accents and aluminum roof rails.

As with any Mercedes-Benz produced these days, the interior of the 2012 M-Class comes complete with lots of leather, exotic wood trim and plenty of high-tech gadgets. There is enough polished Eucalyptus wood on the dash to build a good sized house and the amount of electronics and top-of-the-line technology is mind-numbing. There is a 7-inch LCD display at the top of the dash with Bluetooth audio, hands-free calling, HD Radio and a USB port as accompaniments.

Interior of 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class: Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

Under the hood the 2012 M-Class features a new engine. Although the displacement of the standard 3.5-liter V6 has remained the same, other aspects have not. The new engine now comes with direct injection, producing 302 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Despite the increase in horsepower and torque Mercedes claims the new V6 achieves greater efficiency and fuel economy. If the standard gasoline-powered engine seems boring and mundane you can opt for the newly improved 240 hp BlueTEC clean diesel engine. Both power plants are mated to an updated version of the 7G-TRONIC PLUS 7-speed automatic transmission.

If you’re reading this and wondering why nothing has been said regarding safety features, do not be concerned. The new M-Class has enough start-of-the-art warning, protection and assistance systems to survive a nuclear attack. On top of at least nine airbags, yes you heard it right, nine airbags, are the PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection system, ATTENTION ASSIST driver-drowsiness monitoring and adaptive brake technology. If that still doesn’t satisfy one’s needs for safety Mercedes even has two optional safety packages. The first of these is the all-new Lane Tracking Package. Included with this is non-active versions of Blind Spot and Lane Keeping Assist. However, for the ultimate in safety one can choose the Driver Assistance Package. This over-the-top creation not only has the features mentioned above, but has DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control with PRE-SAFE Brake and new Active Lane Keeping and Blind Spot Assist technologies that can intervene in the event of an impending accident.

With all of this luxury and technology look for the 2012 M-Class to continue its reign as one of the preeminent mid-sized luxury SUVs. The third generation M-Class is scheduled to appear in U.S. showrooms starting in September.

Third Generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class: Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

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