Well to start with I got a brand new Mercedes Benz ML 320 CDI sent to me by Mercedes Benz for Indian Autos Blog, and it was at my disposal for the next two days, during which I had planned an on and off-road test on it. The M Class is one of the most established in the SUV class of the Mercedes range and it truly is one hell of an off-roader. Under the hood was a V6 Diesel with 3000cc of raw power churning out 234Bhp with a massive torque of 535nm
now hows that for a starter?
The looks is typical Mercedes, a real head turner with a chunky stance. The first day was dedicated for some sane on-road driving, the ML (that’s what it would be called in my entire review) behaved well, did what was told.
Pickup and power delivery was awesome and linear. The ML loaded with gadgets like Parktronic, air suspension, 7-speed auto gears, known as 7G-Tronic has a paddle shifters hiding behind the multi-function steering wheel.
The dash is centered around the LCD screen called as the Telematic Systems Audio20, has a 5-inch screen and a 6-CD changer, Bluetooth connectivity and a phone dialer keypad. The A.C has separate climate zone settings for driver and passenger at the rear. Seats are leather and fully power assisted.
Safety is what Mercedes is known for. Safety is given top priority in the ML with frontal airbags and side curtain airbags with Neck Pro package as Standard on the Indian ML. A huge sunroof also is standard on the ML here. The power mirrors are auto folding and heated .
The real fun part of this SUV is the Air Suspension called as Airmatic Package by Mercedes. This feature when enabled at a press of a button raises the vehicle and hence increases its ground clearance bettering its off-roading abilities. I would also like to add here that this Monster rides on a 19-inch Alloys which make the potholes and speed breakers things of negligible concern.
When you start the ML 320 CDI its real difficult to make out if it’s a petrol or diesel-powered, so thumbs up to Mercedes for a noiseless cabin.
The main portion of power is after the 3k RPM mark, which is exactly when the vroom effect kicks in. The power after the 3k RPM mark is just awesome and due to its all time 4wheel drive, you .
On road its sane and matured drive with great comfort and handling feedback, we did a top speed of 190 kmph and trust me it felt as if we were doing 80-100kmph, and the assurance a normal SUV like a Scorpio would give you at such speeds. I mean, that’s how safe and sturdy the ML is on the highways. Braking is also top notch with massive discs on all 4 wheels helping the ML to stop instantly.
For the off-roading test, we went to a place out of the town and boy, this is where the ML felt at home. Shift from Comfort Mode to Sport Mode and press the Airmatic button and the ML is ready for some serious off-roading. It takes sand, rocks and gravel all in its stride and the 4X4 assisted by the 7speed Gearbox with the awesome torque does not stop the ML from munching miles even through the harshest terrain.
We did a lot of off-road testing as the images will tell you, it was next to impossible to put the ML in a spot of bother. Anything in ML's stride, and it was fully absorbed.
After driving the ML 320 CDI for two long days and getting under its skin, I can quite boldly claim that this is one of the best Luxury off-road SUVs that money can buy, costing approx 60 lakh on road Mumbai.
Mercedes Benz ML 320 Road Test Team Credits
Ritesh Madhok (Roadtest/ Off-On Road Driving/Photographs)
Sujit Jangaid (Off Road Driving)
Raju Birade(Off Road Driving)
Amit Jangaid (Onroad Driving)
Darshan Sutar (Passenger - Kept us all cool when we went off-roading)
Thomas George (Mercedes Car Pool Organiser)
Mercedes Benz ML 320 Image Slideshow
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