Mercedes-Benz ML500

Wider, longer, lower - in brief, this is the formula for the exciting appearance of the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class. Although the wheelbase and track of this successful SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) by Mercedes-Benz have been enlarged, the new M-Class makes a very compact and concentrated impression. As a careful evolutionary process, the designers have given it even more dynamic but stylish lines. The result is a decidedly sporty and athletic character with a clear, powerful message.

The muscular impression is particularly created by the stylish interplay between the soft contours and angular elements which structure the vehicle body. Numerous surfaces are delineated by sharply-drawn, muscular lines. At the same time these contours are extremely modern, give an impression of power, precision and solidity and create an interplay between light and shade which appeals from any angle. Moreover, many of the detailed features expressly indicate the off-road qualities of the new M-Class.

The front end of the new M-Class sends out powerful signals. A striking radiator grille immediately shows that this is a vehicle with a personality of its own which will accompany its owner in any of life's situations. This impression is conveyed by the robust appearance of the grille, which is characterized by three wide louvers with pronounced integral air apertures and the central Mercedes star. The strong horizontal lines of the radiator also emphasize the width of the vehicle.

The grille is emphasized even more by a continuous, surrounding chamfer, which also delineates the bonnet and creates a self-contained design feature. Two ventilation grilles on the bonnet, which feature the three fins typical of a Mercedes, underline the sporty qualities of the new M-Class.

A reinterpretation of the headlamps likewise makes the new M-Class appear wider, as well as adding a new highlight to their appearance: the clear lenses now reveal the latest headlamp technology in three shiny, individual chrome tubes. Their lower edge is defined by a narrow indicator band, which runs across the entire width like a shiny glass rod and adds another striking highlight to the front end.

The impression of robustness is compounded by the bumpers, whose lower section has a dark colour contrast and clearly indicates the high ground clearance which is so typical of an off-roader. As a further interesting detail, the bumpers feature an aluminium-look underride guard with large, square apertures. Separate frames on the right and left accommodate either foglamps or cornering lights, and once again emphazise the width of the new M-Class with this positioning.

The interior of the new M-Class is characterized by self-assured elegance with calm, unbroken surfaces, meeting the requirements of demanding customers who expect an SUV to accompany them with serenity, absolute reliability, comfort and charm in any situation in life. The unique atmosphere inside the new M-Class is also heightened by interestingly contoured features and high-quality materials which are finished with craftsman-like precision and attention to detail.

Drivers of the new M-Class are seated at a new four-spoke multifunction steering wheel whose two lower spokes feature an appealing aluminium finish. Behind it there is a broad instrument panel which is horizontally divided into an upper and lower section in both form and color. Circular ventilation vents are arranged in the centre and at the left and right extremities; their chrome surrounds are reminiscent of the engine pods on an aircraft wing. The upper section of the instrument panel arches powerfully over the instrument cluster, which has two slanted tubular binnacles for good legibility and a sporty look. A touch of elegance is provided by their fine chrome surrounds.

The Mercedes-Benz M-Class also sets the pace for other off-roaders in terms of safety. Its occupant protection system is underpinned by a self-supporting body structure with large deformation zones in the front and rear ends, and a wealth of state-of-the-art technology from the luxury class as standard. This includes adaptive, two-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger, front sidebags and windowbags, as well as belt tensioners and belt force limiters for all seats. In the event of a rear-end collision, the newly developed NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraints (optional) provide additional protection for the driver and front passenger.

The assignment to develop a modern off-roader with a future-oriented concept was taken very seriously by the bodyshell developers at the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center. Nothing remained sacred, and all the body parts and components were re-examined. Safety, lightweight construction, operating reliability, handling stability, aerodynamics and long-term durability were just some of the many aspects which had to be considered and reconciled, even though some requirements seem contradictory at first sight. However, resolving apparently conflicting aims made the M-Class project all the more interesting for the engineers in Sindelfingen, and encouraged them to redouble their efforts.

Source: Mercedes-Benz press

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz ML500