Mercedes-Benz will launch the stylish new M-class on 15th May at an ex-showroom, Mumbai price of around Rs 69 lakh. The first few lots of cars will be fully imported and fully loaded too. Dealers were pushing to keep the price under Rs 60 lakh, since the new M-class is only a five-seater, but post Budget, things have changed. Cars that come at a later stage will have more aggressive pricingas they will be heavily localised, with even the diesel engine assembled by Force Motors.
The new M is 23mm longer and 15mm wider than the old car, and it sits 20mm lower too. These changes give the car a dynamic look compared to its predecessor. The pronounced wheel arches and eye-like headlights add to the SUV’s appeal.
The new Merc SUV is a much sweeter car to drive too. Mercedes has extensively reworked its predecessor’s chassis and double wishbone suspension to improve the dynamic properties and feedback of the over-two-tonne SUV.
The ML 350 CDI will be launched first, but there may be other engines on offer later. The 350 CDI develops 258bhp, 34 more than the old car, and a substantial 63.2kgm of torque. Mated to Mercedes’ seven-speed 7G-Tronic auto ’box, the SUV gets tech like start-stop and permanent four-wheel drive as standard and an optional six-stage on/off-road package.
The interior of the SUV is as impressive as the exterior. It is built with high-quality materials, has a superb looking instrument cluster and gets a state-of-the-art entertainment system. The fly in the ointment is that it will, of course, be available only as a five-seater. There is no denying the SUV’s luxury credentials though, and if Mercedes prices it aggressively once assembly starts here, it will be hard to ignore.
Issue: 166 | June 2013
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