2006 Mercedes-Benz ML500

2006 Mercedes-Benz ML500

We finally got some real seat time in the all-new M-Class–and it was worth the wait. The new Mercedes truck is everything the old ML wasn’t, beginning from bare metal. Where the old M was a body-on-frame, overweight truck with a leather-and-wood wrapper over sturdy but plebian mechanicals, the new crossover structure gives the M a refined nature the previous iteration could never hope to match. Where the old M had quality problems and suffered owner complaints for years into production,

The new M is the product of a more meticulous Mercedes-Benz–having implemented stringent new quality controls on the assembly lines and sworn off the complicated electronics they included simply for their own sake. Overall, where the old M was more status symbol than sensible automotive choice, the new M oozes not just class, but competence.

Outside the change isn’t so evident; the new M looks a lot like the old, re-rendered in hi-def. The corners and bodyside lines are a little more creased; the trim and sparse chrome bits a little more defined. The saw-tooth grille insert is reminiscent of machined industrial equipment. Jeweled taillamps and HID headlights complete the high-tech theme. One thing hasn’t changed, though–that oversized, tri-pointed star on the grille is still suitable for Flava-Flav’s accessory drawer.

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