With 402 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, the 2012 Mercedes M-Class ML550 SUV is more than worth getting excited over. The 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 accelerates zero to 60 mph in a lightning fast 5.3 seconds. Most probably do not even know a sport utility vehicle is capable of moving this quickly. Do be prepared for poor gas mileage though as it returns only 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.
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Properly equipped the ML550 can tow up to 7,200 pounds. It also features the industry’s first ever seven-speed automatic transmission for flawless shifting. Paddle shifters under the steering wheel allow you to upshift or downshift manually, if you choose.
This SUV is a 4MATIC all-wheel drive, which simply means the system is always engaged and ready to react. It is paired up with an electronic traction system and electronic stability program for added control and confidence. As for the ride, it is smooth and compliant, but the all-electric steering system is light and a bit disappointing.
Other standard and optional features include Bluetooth interface, 80GB hard drive navigation system with Zagat, iPod/MP3, media interface, SiriusXM radio, 10GB music register, speed sensitive volume and universal remote.
Crash testing has not been done on the ML550, but considering its price, this is no surprise. Braking distance was tested though and it was able to stop from 60 mph in only 114 feet. This is beyond impressive.
A total of nine airbags offer 11-way protection while the Collision Prevention Assist alerts drivers if they are approach a vehicle at a speed where a collision may be resulted. Other safety features include:
Every inch of the ML550 screams sophistication. It is not flashy yet the body is chiseled just enough to be interesting. The aggressively styled lower bodywork complements the bright chrome skid plates beautifully. Aluminum roof rails, alloy wheels and brushed aluminum running boards add the finishing touches from every angle.
Seating for five is found in an upscale and quite comfortable cabin. For 2012, drivers have the opportunity to really personalize their ML550 with their choice of two-tone upholstery and a variety of metallic and wood choices. If you frequently haul adult passengers in your rear seating, you will be pleased to learn that this SUV offers more leg room than most competitors.
If you have been in other Mercedes vehicles in the past, you will notice that the dash of the ML550 is significantly rounder than its siblings, which is quite aesthetically pleasing.
Cargo capacity is pretty average in the ML550. A total of 36 cubic feet is granted with the rear seat in place while 71 cubic feet total is offered with the seat folded down.