Mercedes-Benz
has introduced two new V8 engines and changed more than 1100 components as part
of a mid-life facelift for the popular M-class SUV built in both Alabama and Austria.

The company claims that more than 300,000 sales worldwide and a market share
of up to 30 per cent have made its luxury SUV one of the most successful models
in its market segment.

Styling changes for the 2002 model include redesigned front and rear bumpers,
new clear-lens headlamps with integral direction indicators, colour-matched
mirrors and rubbing strips on all models and restyled 17-inch light-alloy wheels
as standard.

Inside, the centre console has been redesigned and wood trim is now standard
for all model variants. New features include additional stowage compartments
between the front seats, an improved rear double cup holder (wow), an illuminated
ashtray and a 12V outlet.

Mercedes has also redeveloped the now-standard automatic climate control system,
adding rear passenger controls, an auxiliary fan and separate ventilation nozzles.

A new ML 500 petrol V8 version replaces the ML 430 and there is also a new
four-litre V8 diesel option, though this is restricted to left-hand drive markets.

Both new engines are essentially S-Class units: the V8 diesel develops 184
kW/250 hp and the five-litre V8 petrol engine 215 kW/292 hp.

The ML400 CDI’s diesel V8 has common-rail direct injection, a dual turbocharger
and four-valve technology and is claimed to be one of the world’s most
powerful car diesel engines.

It accelerates the M-class to 100 km/h (62mph) in a claimed 8.1 seconds compared
with 7.7 seconds for the new five-litre petrol V8.

Externally the new V8 versions have chrome trim on the radiator grille vanes,
door handles and tailgate handle plus a unique alloy wheel design.

The top-line ML 55 AMG now has a silver-painted radiator grille and fuel tank
capacity for all variants has been increased to 83 litres, enabling the new
ML 400 CDI diesel V8 version to cover around 840 kilometres (550 miles) before
refuelling.

Updated five-cylinder diesel ML 270 CDI and V6 petrol ML 320 versions are also
available.

Window airbags, which instantly deploy an inflated ‘curtain’ across the insides
of the side windows in a lateral collision, are now standard across the M-class
range. Around 200 cm long and 500 mm high, these air cushions supplement the
standard side airbags in the doors.

The new-look headlights have bi-xenon bulbs previously used only in the top
CL-class Mercedes coupes. These headlamps generate twice the lighting power
of conventional halogen headlamps and come with a sensor-activated headlamp
beam control system and a high-pressure lens cleaning system.

The M-Class also now has a light sensor on the windscreen that automatically
switches on the headlamps at night. An electronic parking aid system is newly
available as an option.

A new range of optional mobile and fixed-installation car telephones will enable
passengers to read and compile SMS (Short Message Service) messages on the screen
of the centre console-mounted optional Comand operating and display system in
the near future.


To view related research reports, please follow the links
below:-

Global
market for automotive turbochargers and superchargers: Forecasts to 2005

The
world’s car manufacturers: A financial and operating review