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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Written by Roadfly Charlie

Charlie is Roadfly’s founder and publisher, and was taught to drive by his father in a 1974 Porsche 914. That made poor Charlie a Porsche fanboy for life, and after driving a 911SC at 16, he bought and campaigned a variety of 944s at racetracks up and down the East Coast, earning awards and track records in his twenties. Charlie never really got over the car bug, and after a career in real estate development he founded the Internet media firm that became Roadfly. Charlie lives in McLean, VA with his wife and two daughters, and between the demands of family and business doesn’t have much time to play with cars anymore, excluding the machinery we review.

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