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2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Overview
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2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review

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The 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV is a far cry from the original model. Whereas the first M-Class featured body-on-frame construction, the newest ML employs a unit-body design. This creates a stiffer chassis, which helps eliminate rattles and vibration as well as quiets the interior. The design also allows for a more sophisticated suspension, yielding better handling and a more civilized ride. Although it can seat five, the ML is most comfortable with four passengers. It offers a modest cargo bay of 29.4 cubic feet, which is more space than an Infiniti FX35, but less than offered by the Acura MDX. The M-Class' BlueTEC diesel engine option is unique in this class, and Mercedes-Benz promises the engine will meet all 50 state's stringent emissions standards.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're seriously shopping in the upscale SUV category and are drawn to the Lexus RX 350 and/or the BMW X5, you may very well find your new home away from home behind the wheel of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If, like so many SUV buyers today, you'll settle for no fewer than three rows of seats, you'll have to look elsewhere. Mercedes-Benz does, however, offer a third-row seat in its slightly larger and pricer GL-Class SUV.

What's New for 2009

The M-Class receives some modest interior and exterior upgrades including a revised grille and headlamp treatment, four-way power-lumbar support for the driver and a new audio head unit. The PRE-SAFE preventative occupant protection system is made standard, as are newly designed 19- and 20-inch wheels.

Driving the M-Class

Driving Impressions By having unibody construction instead of a ladder-frame platform the 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class transcends any comparison with the first generation M-Class. The highway ride is as smooth as you'd expect...

from any of the automaker's stately sedans, with the added benefit of being able to negotiate large rocks (or parking blocks) with exceptional composure. It's this silkiness that makes the SUV's confidence-inspiring cornering ability just that much more impressive. While in a price-is-no-object world we would prefer the V8-powered ML550, the torque-happy ML320 BlueTEC is equally satisfying.

Safety First
A long list of safety equipment includes traction and stability control, multiple airbags, active headrests and Mercedes-Benz's PRE-SAFE system that tightens seatbelts and closes windows when it senses an impending collision.

Air Suspension
An optional air suspension allows for an extra three inches of ground clearance, while an active damping system lets you choose between Auto, Comfort and Sport settings, to best suit the road ahead.

2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Details
2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class photo Interior

Some of the first interior details you may notice are the large, circular air vents dominating the dash and the padded rails at the bottom of the center console that are more of an off-road touch than we expected from the more street-friendly 2009 M-Class. What you'll be forced to notice before moving the car an inch, however, is the dainty transmission selector stalk on the steering column. It removes the shifter from the center console and its operation, though not conventional, is easy to get used to. The seats are as comfortable as you'd expect, with a new four-way power adjustable lumbar support for the driver and a new four-spoke steering wheel with gearshift paddles. The roomy M-Class cabin delivers plenty of room for five adults, but only average cargo space behind its second-row seat.

Exterior

The sleek 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML is a sharp looking ride and is particularly menacing when clad in AMG trappings. Body additions from AMG impart a sporty look, and the big 20-inch wheel and tire package is downright aggressive. A new front end treatment sees a wider grille and larger headlamps, along with stainless steel skid plates and larger side mirrors. Though larger in every way than the original ML, the current model retains a comfortable size that is as easy to manage in traffic as in confined parking situations.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML350 features a 3.5-liter V6, seven-speed automatic transmission, permanent all-wheel drive, automatic climate control, multimedia head unit with in-dash six-disc changer and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, cruise control, automatic headlamps, heated and auto-dimming exterior mirrors, multifunction steering wheel, outside temperature display, 19-inch wheels, power glass sunroof and a four-way adjustable steering column. Standard safety equipment includes the PRE-SAFE system as well as an array of passive and active safety technologies, including front, front-side and front and second-row side-curtain airbags.

Optional Equipment

In addition to its 5.5-liter V8 engine, the ML550 includes wood trim, the AMG trim package and other features. Additional options for all ML models are, for the most part, grouped into packages, but include an active-damping air suspension, DVD navigation, keyless entry and start, power liftgate, active bi-xenon headlights, Parktronic park assist, heated steering wheel and rear seats, rear-seat entertainment system and a harman/kardon premium six-disc audio system. For the lucky few, the ML63 AMG offers the ultimate in ML performance and luxury.

Under the Hood

With an impressive V6 good for 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, opting for the lower-priced, higher-mileage ML350 won't leave you feeling short-changed in the power department. For those who want the towing capability of a V8 with the fuel mileage of a frugal four-cylinder, the ML320 BlueTEC diesel is an excellent choice. Die-hard speed freaks will no doubt drool over the ML63 AMG's 503 horsepower, but the price tag near $90,000 may render this hot-rod SUV little more than a pipe dream.

3.5-liter V6
268 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20

3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel
210 horsepower @ 3800 rpm
398 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-2400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24

5.5-liter V8
382 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
391 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800-4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18

6.3-liter V8
503 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
465 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/15

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2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 206 Ratings for the 2006 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    8.7/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

ML 320 CDI - great car, but expensive to maintain

By on Saturday, November 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Powerful and quiet. Exudes confidence on the road."

Cons: "Expensive to maintain."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I've had this car for 8 years now. I absolutely love it. Aside from the stalk and NAV issues (which are correct, but you adapt) the car is well designed and exudes a solid and stable feel. I drive it up I 70 from Denver to go skiing 40 to 50 times a season and it eats up the inclines and mountain passes with it's twin turbo V6. The car is comfortable for four people and their day ski items. I have a Thule roof box for extended trips to Telluride, Aspen or Steamboat. The car is quiet and powerful. Never been stuck or had the engine not start even in -20F temps. The downside is that it is expensive to maintain, especially off warranty. I track expenses very carefully. I've spent $17,800 in 8 years on direct mx. That works out to $2,250 per year. That's for scheduled and unscheduled mx. The car also eats tires. I have gone through 4 sets in 120,000 miles at a cost of another $5,000 (19" wheels and 2 sets Pirelli Scorpion Ice & Snow and 2 sets Continental Contact. BTW I find these tires to be a perfect fit with this car). If you can afford the mx then you will not be disappointed with the power and solid feel of the ML 320CDI. Also note that the 2007 and 2008 were the only two years that MB did not use Blue-Tec (Urea) to reduce emmissions. The Blue tec has it's own tank and needs to be replaced every 10k miles, which will add to mx expense. I have never failed an emmissions test in CO with the 2007 and it does not exhibit any smoke, nor 'diesel' noise. The only way you know you are in a diesel is when you hit the 'gas' and are thrust forward under the twin turbo's 398 ft pnds of torque. I've averaged 30 MPG and get a little over 600 miles per tank. I'd buy one again, but I'd also buy an extended warranty with the purchase."

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Top in its category

By on Thursday, October 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Everything"

Cons: "Nothing"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The ML500 W164 has been a great vehicle, before I bought I compared with X5 V8/ Range Rover Sport and I'm very glad I went for it, its superior in reliability to the other 2 above that are known for problems after problems and very expensive maintanance. This one has all the space I need, enough HP (302) it's seemless how nice it shifts, it cruises on the road in comfort luxury and safety and the looks are better as well comparing ML500 with the other 2 with same year, all I do is an oil change every 10000 miles, tires rotation, and a few light bulbs. Superior quality and reliability."

12 people out of 21 found this review helpful

I Love this SUV

By on Thursday, October 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to Drive"

Cons: "NONE!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I'm the 2nd owner of this ML320 Diesel. I purchased it with 48,000 miles -and I will own it when it has 248,000 miles. Runs like a well oiled machine -25 mpg -like riding on a cloud! If you offered me a new one for no additional dollar difference -I wouldn't give you my 08 ML320. I LOVE IT!!!!!!"

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

nice car but costs a fortune to service

By on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "quiet ride, handles nicely"

Cons: "$$$$ Service, Poor Nav/Ent system, too many stalks"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"our first and last Mercedes benz car. Have come to dread even routine service appointments. Cheapest one has been $250 with the latest almost $2,500. Really do not like the automatic shift design. It is a stalk on the steering column you push down for D and UP for R. Very counter intuitive after decades of driving and always pulling down for any gear. Had no idea how to get car in neutral for car washes etc. After three years still confuse cruise control stalk for directional. Way to many stalks on steering column. Nav/Ent is a beast to use like the style and cosmetics of the car and it rides SUPER quiet, but not a good value at all based on service costs."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

I love this car.

By on Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've had my 2006 ML350 since it came off the showroom floor. It still sounds and looks brand new. It's comfortable and easy to drive."

12 people out of 24 found this review helpful

buyer beware

By on Thursday, June 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 142,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Beautiful and comfortable"

Cons: "Too expensive to maintain and own."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Have owned this car 3+ years. Long list of design problems - faulty rear electrical harness (required constant repair/replacement), documented steering rack problems, documented door lock problems, documented drive-shaft harmonic-balance problems, documented fact computers located under front and rear seats & if liquid spilled on seat can short computer and disable car immediately (no water shielding). Add to this the high cost of parts and repairs and the car is a beautiful statue. Requires 9 quarts full synthetic oil so oil changes expensive. These problems are all documented for the 2006 model year of the ML500."

22 people out of 33 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?