In honor of its 10-year anniversary, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class received a mild face-lift, a longer list of features, and a more forceful V-8 engine. One of the first luxury SUVs on the market, the midsize M-Class has evolved from an off-road truck to a pavement-oriented unit-body family vehicle with premium amenities. However, a standard all-wheel-drive system, hill and descent assistance, and an available adjustable air suspension still allow the five-passenger sport utility vehicle to tackle an array of terrains.
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is available in four trims: a base ML350, new ML550, diesel-powered ML320 CDI, and high-performance ML63 AMG. A special-edition ML350 Edition 10 updates the base model with unique exterior and interior details and adds luxuries such as heated seats. The regular and special-edition ML350s come with a 3.5-liter V-6; the ML550 with a 5.5-liter V-8; the ML320 CDI with a three-liter turbodiesel V-6; and the ML63 AMG with a 6.2-liter V-8.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6, 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6, 5.5-liter V-8, 6.2-liter V-8
Transmissions: seven-speed automatic
Models: Mercedes-Benz ML350, Mercedes-Benz ML350 Edition 10, Mercedes-Benz ML320 CDI, Mercedes-Benz ML550, Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG
The Mercedes-Benz M-Class returns for 2008 with new chrome accents, additional standard and optional features, and a special ML350 Edition 10 anniversary trim. Formerly known as the ML500, the M-Class’ mid-level trim has been renamed the ML550 in recognition of a larger engine: a 5.5-liter V-8 producing an additional 80 horses.
All 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class models feature newly-chromed grilles, exhaust tips, and door handles. The base ML350 and ML320 CDI both come standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, a remote-operated power sunroof, a roof rack, privacy glass, variable intermittent rain-sensing wipers, a rear liftgate door with fixed window, an intermittent rear window wiper, a rear defogger, and cargo tie-downs. The ML350 Edition 10 adds a special white or black exterior paint job, tinted light bezels, and split-spoke wheels.
In addition to its V-8 engine, the ML550 gains runningboards and AMG-inspired bumpers and wheels. The performance-oriented ML63 AMG adds distinctive styling cues, 20-inch wheels, a sport-tuned air suspension, larger brakes, skid plates, active headlamps, and cornering foglamps.
Options are grouped into a long list of pricey packages, with highlights including an active-damping air suspension, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, a rearview camera, adaptive xenon HID headlamps, and a power liftgate.
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class boasts a luxuriously-appointed interior trimmed in bird’s-eye maple and brushed aluminum. Standard equipment on the ML350 and 320 CDI models includes leatherette upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, driver lumbar support, a split-folding rear seatback, a leather tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with transmission and audio controls, power locks, one-touch power windows, power heated mirrors, retained accessory power, a universal remote transmitter, three 12-volt outlets, cruise control, a cargo net, interior air filtration, dual-zone climate control, a trip computer, and an external temperature display. Technology features include a COMAND electronics interface, TeleAid emergency communications system, and an eight-speaker sound system with CD player and MP3 playback.
The ML550 comes with the same features as the lower trim levels, but adds heated front seats. In addition to its performance enhancements, the ML63 AMG provides sculpted sport seats. With the exception of the AMG model, the M-Class can be upgraded with available leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, tri-zone climate control, a navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a premium Harman Kardon Logic7 sound system.
Performance & Handling
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class offers a class-leading choice of four engines. The base ML350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 producing 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The ML550 adds a 5.5-liter V-8, which increases output to 382 horses and 391 lb-ft at the cost of a higher price tag and lower gas mileage. For buyers who don’t want to sacrifice fuel efficiency for towing ability, the ML320 CDI offers a three-liter, turbodiesel V-6 pumping out 215 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque while managing EPA ratings of 18/24 mpg city/highway. For a pretty penny, the top-level ML63 AMG ramps up power to 503 horses. All engines are paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting ability. Despite some expected body roll, the 5000-pound M-Class is capable of navigating varied terrains and adverse weather conditions with sturdy handling and strong brakes.
Standard safety equipment on the 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class includes anti-lock brakes, front and rear head airbags, front and rear side-mounted airbags, stability control, traction control, front whiplash-reducing head restraints, and a post-collision safety system. The 2008 model earned a perfect five out of five stars for its performance in front- and side-impact collisions during government crash tests.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mercedes-Benz ML350: 15/20 mpg city/highway
Mercedes-Benz ML320 CDI: 18/24 mpg city/highway
Mercedes-Benz ML550: 13/18 mpg city/highway
Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG: 11/14 mpg city/highway
- Impressive performance
- Quality construction
- Comfortable cabin
- Excellent safety scores
You Won't Like
- High price tag
- Lacks third row
Premium midsize SUV gets fresh design and robust new engine.
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