Mercedes-Benz ML (W164): mat black

Second generation (W164; 2005)

In 1999, development on a successor to the W163 began under the codename “W164” and spanned a period of six years. First design drafts appeared in 2000 with the first models in scale 1:4, and in 2001 three full-sized models were prepared. In 2002 the design styled by Steve Mattin under Peter Pfeiffer was chosen and approved by the executive board. Design patents were filed in Germany on 10 June 2003 and in the U.S. on 25 July. Prototype testing was conducted throughout 2003 and 2004, concluding in early 2005.

The redesigned M-class (chassis name W164) was introduced in April 2005 as a 2006 model after a showing at the North American International Auto Show in January. It was almost entirely new, with a more sporting, aerodynamic look. The coefficient of drag was reduced to 0.34. Mercedes-Benz made the new M-Class 71 mm larger, 150 mm longer and 5 mm lower than the first model. The M-Class was named “Best New Sport Utility Vehicle” in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year awards.

Mercedes-Benz extensively publicised the US$600 million spent to update its factory and add manufacturing space for the new R-Class. According to early automotive press reports, the 2006 M-Class vehicles demonstrated vast improvements in quality.

The W164 platform used for the new M-Class is shared with the new GL-Class and is a unibody type rather than the former (W163) body-on-frame used by the M-Class vehicles produced from 1998–2005. The X164 GL-Class, a longer seven-seater version of the W164 platform, is also available.

New features in the 2006 M-Class include the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission, optional Active Curve-Illuminating Bi-Xenon headlights which “steer” in the path of the vehicle, and an adjustable-height air suspension. The manual transmission has been dropped. Permanent 4Matic four-wheel drive remained, with one-speed transfer case (no low range), center limited-slip differential and four-wheel electronic traction system (4-ETS). In most countries except the U.S., an Off-Road Pro package with center and rear differential locks, 4-ETS, two-speed transfer case with reduction gearing, and adjustable ground clearance was available as an option increasing the original fording depth from 500 mm to 600 mm.


3.5 L M272 E35 (petrol & hybrid)
5.0 L M113 E50 (petrol)
4.6 L M273 E47 (petrol)
5.5 L M273 E55 (petrol)
6.2 L M156 (petrol)
3.0 L OM642 V6 turbo (diesel)
4.0 L OM629 V8 turbo (diesel; 2005–2011)

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