Back in the day, German automotive giants, Mercedes-Benz, used to specialize in the production of high-end sedans, and they took pride in releasing truly competitive models fabricated with the highest levels of attention to detail, both interior and exterior-wise. However, as time went by and the car industry evolved, other segments began to gain increased popularity, and SUVs quickly became one of the most sought-after options for consumers that desired practical, family-friendly daily drivers.
The ML class first came out in the late '90s as Mercedes' attempt to make a name for itself in the SUV segment, and it promised the same levels of quality and design the brand was already known for, albeit in a larger form and a rather different configuration. The first generation was a pretty laid-back introduction, as Mercedes sought to test the waters with a model that was safe in design and tame in performance, and after seeing success that warranted the continuation of the ML, they came out with a second-generation that ticked all the boxes.
Let's do a deeper exploration of the Mercedes-Benz ML350, as we show you everything you should know about the amazing model.
An Overview Of The Mercedes-Benz ML350
First, let’s talk specs. Power-wise, the ML350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 (hence the name) with 268 horsepower. With this, it's capable of doing zero to 60 mph in under 9 seconds and a top speed of 140 mph, which is quite impressive considering it weighs nearly two tons. The gearbox features a 7-speed automatic transmission which is controlled via a wheel-mounted shifter that’s easy to use, even though it might take some getting used to.
The ML 350 also comes with Mercedes’ well-known 4matic drivetrain, meaning it can send power to all four wheels on demand, which may come in handy when off-roading. Speaking of, the vehicle also offers an off-road package with hill descent control, adaptive dampers and air spring suspension, lockable center and rear differentials, and low-range gearing.
The Mercedes-Benz ML350's Design
In terms of design, Mercedes really worked its magic on the car, as it somehow managed to make the ML look sporty and visually appealing without sacrificing any of its practicality. One of its most notable design elements is the sloped rear pillar, which curves forward, allowing space for glass where there would otherwise be a hunk of metal.
This gives the vehicle quite a luxurious feel, and it’s a distinctive design cue that’s been carried over to later generations of the ML, albeit under the new model name, GLE. Mercedes also added integrated running boards, curved edges, hood vents, and a satin metallic/chrome grill to really bring home the ML’s design.
The Mercedes-Benz ML350 Boasts Immense Practicality
Aside from its good looks and performance, the ML 350 also stays true to its SUV nature, boasting quite the practical setup. It seats five people comfortably with plenty of leg-space and AC vents for passengers in the rear as well as those in the front.
Cargo space is also great at about 80 cubic feet with the rear seats folded; and even with them in use, there’s still plenty of space for a family’s worth of baggage. Fuel economy is decent considering the ML’s size and weight; it chugs about 18 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on the freeway.
The Comfortable Interior Of The Mercedes-Benz ML350
Now let’s have a look at one of the things Mercedes does best: Interiors. The ML350’s interior does slightly vary depending on the model year and spec options, but one thing is for sure, quality and durability are guaranteed. Materials are top class, and functionality is great with features such as electronically adjustable and heated seats, a reliable infotainment system, and just about everything else you’d expect from a Mercedes vehicle at the ML’s price point. Keep in mind, the ML was manufactured up until 2015, so it doesn’t include many of the technological features that many newer cars have these days.
Looking back at the ML 350 from a general standpoint, it's safe to say Mercedes-Benz achieved exactly what they set out to do, and they managed to create their own space even in such a saturated and highly competitive SUV segment. It may not be the fastest, quirkiest, or most attractive SUV out there, but it served as the cornerstone for a wide variety of incredibly competitive SUVs that emerged from Mercedes' factories in the years that followed, and that alone is enough to grant it a special place in our hearts and in the brand's extensive history. Now that we've covered everything there is to know about the ML 350, you should definitely consider one if you ever find yourself in the market for a used old-school SUV: it is reliable, complete, and sure to grant you a fulfilling experience.