Press Kit: Mercedes-Benz at the 75th International Motor Show in Geneva
Geneva
Mar 01, 2005
M-Class: refined power
  • Model for a new generation of off-road vehicles
  • On-road comfort and off-road performance increased even further
  • Standard specification significantly enhanced
  • Equipment packages with off-road technology, comfort and styling extras
The latest Mercedes technology, exemplary safety, car-like comfort, an attractive design and sheer driving pleasure – these are the attributes with which the M Class set standards on its debut in 1997. The profile was perfect, for such a car exactly matched the needs of modern motorists who were looking for a more stylish off-roader than the classic, heavy vehicles previously available. The M Class offered what people wanted: a successful mix of innovation and emotion.
With this successful recipe the Mercedes-Benz became the trendsetter for a new market segment, which began to boom after this initial impulse and will continue to grow in the future: specialists expect double-digit growth figures in this segment for the coming decade.
More dynamic, innovative, assured and attractive than ever before, the M-Class remains the role model among modern Sport Utility Vehicles. Mercedes engineers have painstakingly developed the successful concept of this Off-Roader even further, improving its on-road and off-road performance. For example, newly developed axles, smooth-running six and eight-cylinder engines and the AIRMATIC air suspension system (optional) help to ensure that the M-Class offers more long-distance comfort than ever.
The Mercedes Off-Roader also remains a trendsetter where safety is concerned: with adaptive airbags and belt force limiters, crash-responsive NECK-PRO head restraints (optional) and the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system developed by Mercedes (optional), the new M-Class is well ahead of other SUVs.
Even more efficient four-wheel drive
Off-road performance is now improved by a further development of the traction system 4ETS, which now features additional functions such as off-road ABS, Start-Off Assist and Downhill Speed Regulation as standard. With a combination of two selectable 100-percent differential locks and a two-speed transfer case with a low-range ratio (optional), the M-Class forges ahead even on the most difficult terrain. With the AIRMATIC air suspension system, which is available in a special off-road configuration, the ground clearance of the M-Class is increased to 291 millimetres (preceding model: 204 millimetres), and the fording depth is now approximately 600 millimetres instead of the previous 500 millimetres.
DIRECT SELECT shift makes way for handy operating and stowage concept
Another new feature in this vehicle class is the DIRECT SELECT gearshift on the steering column. By dispensing with the conventional selector lever in the centre console, it provides a number of advantages. Not only can the automatic transmission be operated by simply nudging the stalk on the steering column, the DIRECT SELECT gearshift also opens up completely new design scope for the tunnel covering, on which the selector lever has now been replaced by a spacious stowage compartment and a cup holder.
Seven-speed automatic transmission and speed-sensitive power steering as standard
Apart from boasting yet more innovative flair and enhanced performance capabilities, the new Off-Roader is also classier than ever, as the standard equipment level has undergone a further major upgrade compared to the outgoing model. For example, all engine variants are now equipped with the hitherto unmatched 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, speed-sensitive power steering, nano-technology paintwork that is more resistant to scratches, a tyre pressure warning system and many other useful innovations.
The top-of-the-line ML 500, whose V8 power unit generates 225 kW/306 hp, delivers silky-smooth eight-cylinder comfort combined with the performance profile of a sports car. The exclusive character of the ML 500 also manifests itself in the form of a number of highly desirable additional features, such as multi-zone THERMOTRONIC, multicontour seats, a chrome package and 18-inch wheels.
Optional high-tech innovations and luxury extras
Optional extras which are as desirable as they are ingenious enable the Off-Roader to be tailored exactly to the customer's wishes. Many of these systems, such as the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system, the Active Light System and EASY-PACK, are now being made available in the M-Class for the first time, while the NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraint is making its world debut in the Mercedes Off-Roader.
Further technical and design highlights are optionally available as part of attractive equipment packages. These enable Mercedes customers to give their car an even more individual character or improve the off-road capabilities even further:
  • Off-Road Pro engineering package: This equipment package has components with whose help the M-Class is able to master even the most difficult off-road stretches. It includes a two-speed transfer case with low-range ratio, differential locks (100 percent) at the transfer case and rear axle, AIRMATIC with extended functions for more ground clearance and a compass.
  • Off-road styling package: This equipment package includes an underride guard made from brushed stainless steel at the front and rear, as well as a radiator grille painted sterling silver with chrome trim strips.
  • Sports package: The exterior and interior of the new M-Class are given an even more sporty look by a number of features which include: 19-inch sports wheels, chrome trim on the side rub strips, door handles and rear bumper, radiator grille painted sterling silver with chrome trim strips, rectangular chromed tailpipes, stainless-steel scratch protection on the rear bumper, rear lights in a dark sports look, blue-tinted glass, sporty instrument cluster, sports seats for driver and front passenger, Alcantara/ARTICO man-made leather seats with contrasting topstitching, aluminium trim, sports pedals made from brushed stainless steel with rubber studs and the interior lighting package.
  • Chrome package: Mercedes customers are able to embellish the Off-Roader's elegant appearance with the addition of chrome-inlay door handles and side rub strips, rectangular chromed tailpipes and a radiator grille with chrome trim strips. The chrome package is standard equipment for the ML 500.
  • AIRMATIC package: Mercedes customers who attach the highest importance to on-road ride comfort will opt for this equipment package. It includes the AIRMATIC air suspension system in its on-road set-up, as well as the Adaptive Damping System ADS.
  • Interior equipment package: Electrically adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, burr walnut trim with chrome inserts and the extended interior lighting system are all available by opting for this package.
  • Your Media Contact
    Wolfgang
    Zanker
    Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Series, Test Vehicles Management, Sports Communications
    Phone: +49 711 17-75847
    Fax: +49 711 17-91602
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