New-Generation Mercedes M-Class Sport Utility to Make World Premiere at Detroit 2005 Auto Show


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2006 Mercedes M-Class

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PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

MONTVALE, N.J., Dec. 8 -- The first official photographs were released today of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class. With a U.S. sales debut planned for spring 2005, the all-new 2006 M-Class is characterized by sweeping front fenders, dramatic shoulder lines and a sharply angled windshield.

When the Mercedes-Benz M-Class first arrived seven years ago, the new sport utility started a trend that inspired the entire auto industry to shift toward more car-like SUVs. Virtually the only sport utility at the time with four-wheel independent suspension, the original M-Class was one of the first designed from the ground up, rather than being based on an existing truck platform. The first-generation M-Class also won an impressive number of auto industry awards, including the prestigious North American Truck of the Year.

Scheduled to make its world premiere at the North American International Auto Show in January 2005, the new sport utility is slightly longer, wider and lower than its predecessor. Beneath the aerodynamic exterior is an all-new unibody platform as well as redesigned suspension that delivers more on-road driving performance and comfort.

New and useful technology abounds in the 2006 M-Class, including a standard seven-speed automatic transmission, an even more effective full-time four-wheel-drive system and optional features such as height-adjustable AIRMATIC air suspension. Revised four-wheel traction control now incorporates functions such as a downhill driving aid and Hill-Start Assist.

The new generation M-Class will be available with a choice of two engines. The ML350 is powered by an all-new 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 268 horsepower, and the ML500 comes with a 302-hp 5.0-liter V8.

Inside, a completely new interior features a sport-oriented instrument panel, a multi-function steering wheel, rich materials and improved spaciousness for all five seating positions. By comparison, there are over two inches of additional front leg room, as well as more rear-passenger knee and leg room.

The 2006 M-Class will mark the debut of a new active head restraint system that provides increased protection in the event of a rear collision. The new M-Class also includes adaptive two-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger, curtain side airbags and belt tensioners and belt force limiters for all seating positions.

The new M-Class is built at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

About Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. In 2003, MBUSA achieved an all-time sales record of 218,717 new vehicles, setting the highest sales volume ever in its history and achieving ten consecutive years of sales growth. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found on the Internet at http://www.mbusa.com/ and http://www.maybachusa.com/.

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