NEW FOR 2008:

– New ML550 replaces ML500
– Standard Bluetooth hands-free telephone system, Harman/Kardon LOGIC7 Surround Sound with six-CD changer, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, auxiliary jack and new laurel design centre caps for non-AMG wheels
– ML320 and ML350 Premium Package adds Parktronic parking system

For 2008, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class receives a new model: the ML500 of 2007 is replaced with the ML550, which uses a 5.5-litre V8 to the outgoing 5.0-litre V8.

The M-Class line-up consists of the ML320 CDI with 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine; the ML350 with 3.5-litre V6; the ML550 with 5.5-litre V8; and the ML63 AMG with 6.2-litre V8. All use a seven-speed automatic transmission that’s an AMG Speedshift version in the ML63, along with 4MATIC all-wheel drive, which uses a single-speed transfer case and centre differential that splits the torque 50/50 front to rear.

Features on the ML320 and ML350 include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, Harman/Kardon LOGIC7 Surround Sound with six-CD changer, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Bluetooth hands-free telephone system, auto-dimming heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, rain-sensing wipers with heated washer system, roof rails, tinted glass, power-adjustable heated leather seats, leather-wrapped heated multifunction steering wheel, high-gloss Burl Walnut wood trim, power sunroof, garage door opener, first-aid kit, tire pressure warning system, anti-theft alarm system and TeleAid emergency calling.

The ML550 adds 19-inch alloy wheels, Thermotronic automatic climate control, parameter steering, active bi-Xenon headlamps with washers and cornering lights, interior light package, power tilt and telescopic wheel, power liftgate and Parktronic parking assist.

The ML63 AMG adds 20-inch wheels, Airmatic air suspension with adaptive damping system, navigation system, aluminum running boards, Nappa leather upholstery, and heated rear seats.

The M-Class shares its platform with the R-Class and seven-passenger GL-Class, but retains its appeal with buyers who don’t need or want an extra row of seats. The diesel returns good mileage and is very quiet, while the ML63 AMG accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in five seconds, to a governed top speed of 250 km/h. The ML320 and ML350 share their features, but with different engines, while the new ML550 brings a new mid-range level of performance and luxury.

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