New Mercedes-Benz M-Class Goes On Sale at $39,750; M-Class Sport Utility Now Certified as Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle


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NEW YORK, March 23 -- The new-generation M-Class sport utility vehicle is going on sale this week at more than 300 Mercedes-Benz dealerships across the country, starting at $39,750 for the V6-powered ML350 and $48,500 for the V8 ML500, plus a $720 destination fee. Both new models are rated at more than 11 percent better gas mileage on the highway while being classified as SULEV super ultra-low emission vehicles, but at the same time, offer more power and interior space.

The new 2006 M-Class has sweeping front fenders, dramatic shoulder lines and a sharply angled windshield. Beneath its sleek exterior is an all-new unit body platform as well as a newly-developed suspension, double-wishbone up front and four-link at the rear. New, useful technology includes a standard seven-speed automatic transmission, an even more effective full-time four- wheel-drive system and optional features such as a height-adjustable air suspension.

First M-Class Started an Industry Trend

When the Mercedes-Benz M-Class first arrived eight years ago, the new sport utility vehicle started a trend that inspired the entire 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 to be 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 awards, including the prestigious North American Truck of the Year.

The second-generation M-Class is available with two powerful engines that both earn SULEV super ultra-low-emission vehicle certification. The ML350 comes with a 3.5-liter 268-horsepower V6 engine that gets 16 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. The ML500 is fitted with a 5.0-liter 302-hp V8 that also betters its predecessor - 14 city / 19 hwy.

The new M-Class has over two inches of additional front leg room, and rear-passenger leg room has been increased by 1.3 inches. There's up to 72.4 cubic feet of flexible cargo room, including a 60:40 split fold-down rear seat that allows passengers to ride in back even when the vehicle is loaded with long objects.

All 2006 M-Class vehicles come with Mercedes-Benz safety innovations such as ESP stability control and ABS anti-lock brakes as well as two-stage front air bags and curtain side air bags.

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 2004, MBUSA achieved an all-time sales record of 221,610 new vehicles, setting the highest sales volume ever in its history and achieving 11 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/ .

NOTE TO EDITORS: This story and high-resolution photos can be downloaded from the MBUSA news-media website at http://media.mbusa.com

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