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2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

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2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review

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Mercedes-Benz has continued to refine the M-Class SUV for 2011 by introducing a new, very efficient hybrid drivetrain. Though equipped with a relatively heavy, less-advanced nickel-metal-hydride battery pack, the ML450 Hybrid helps make this already-sophisticated SUV line a front-runner in the luxury utility race. With a unibody design, excellent road manners and a world-class suspension, the vehicle delivers all the comfort of a crossover with the capability of an SUV. With a respectable cargo area that delivers up to 29.4 cubic feet of storage and seating for five individuals, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class remains an excellent alternative family vehicle.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class competes with vehicles like the BMW X5 and Lexus RX 350. If either of those is on your shopping list, you'll likely be right at home behind the wheel of the luxurious M-Class, which delivers much of the handling capability of the BMW with the comfort of its Lexus rival.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you find yourself needing three rows of seating on a regular basis, the 2011 M-Class is not for you. With just two rows and seating for five occupants, the M-Class lacks the people-moving capability of its larger sibling, the GL-Class, but makes up for it with better fuel efficiency and maneuverability.

What's New for 2011

The days of the fuel-thirsty SUV have come to a close. Mercedes-Benz now offers the M-Class with a hybrid drivetrain capable of up to 22 mpg combined. Additionally, the company's BlueTEC diesel technology offers a combined EPA fuel economy estimate of 21 mpg.

Driving the M-Class
Driving Impressions

Thanks to the significant revisions that Mercedes-Benz introduced in 2010, the 2011 M-Class continues to be a superb performer on road. With its unibody construction and optional adaptive suspension, the...

... SUV offers a superb highway ride that's akin to the German automaker's smooth-driving luxury sedans. Though this vehicle may lack some of the off-road prowess of the BMW X5, we'd feel safe in betting that most buyers won't be assaulting rock-filled back roads on the way to the mall. Though we love the feel of the V8-powered ML550, the truth is that the torque of the ML350 BlueTEC would be more satisfying to live with on a day-to-day basis. That's especially true when it comes time to fill the tank.

Safety First
The 2011 M-Class is equipped with a long list of safety equipment that includes traction and stability control, multiple airbags and active headrests. Additionally, the company's Pre-Safe system tightens seatbelts and closes windows when it senses an impending collision.

Air Suspension
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is available with an optional air suspension that allows for an extra three inches of ground clearance to tackle rough terrain. An active damping system also lets you choose between Auto, Comfort and Sport settings, to best suit the road ahead.

2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Details
Interior

The interior of the 2011 M-Class is a somewhat odd mix of features, designed to walk the line between off-road brute and downtown civility. Large, circular air vents and padded rails along the bottom of the center console lend the impression of rugged capability while a somewhat dainty gear selector stalk juts from the steering column. Though we typically expect modern vehicles to have a now-almost-standard console-mounted shifter, the stalk on the 2011 M-Class takes next to no time to get used to. As with most Mercedes-Benz products, this vehicle boasts incredibly comfortable seats. The driver's seat has four-way power adjustable lumbar support and there's enough room to transport four adults or two adults and two children comfortably.

Exterior

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class stands out among the luxury SUV crowd as a sharp-looking vehicle. In range-topping ML63 AMG configuration, it presents an aggressive persona with large 20-inch wheels and menacing bodywork front and rear. Meanwhile, the standard-trim M-Class makes use of a large grille and appropriately-sized headlights. Stainless skid plates and sizeable side-view mirrors lend the impression of plenty of off-road capability. Though the relatively shorter wheelbase of the M-Class enhances nimble handling in parking lots and on tight city streets, the vehicle's tall ride height makes for difficulty reaching cargo stashed on the roof rails.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Mercedes-Benz has equipped the 2011 M-Class with a seven-speed automatic transmission, automatic climate control, a multimedia radio unit with in-dash six-disc changer, auxiliary input jack and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, cruise control, automatic headlamps, heated and auto-dimming exterior mirrors, multifunction leather-wrapped 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

For the most part, Mercedes-Benz has grouped the options for the 2011 M-Class into packages. Buyers may choose an active-damping air suspension, hard-drive-based navigation, keyless entry, parking assist, a heated steering wheel with heated rear seats and an excellent harman/kardon audio system. If you're after the ultimate performance luxury SUV, there's also the high-horsepower ML63 AMG.

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 ML350 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. Finally, the efficient ML450 Hybrid utilizes start-stop technology to achieve up to 43-percent better fuel economy than its 3.5-liter V6 stable mate.

3.5-liter V6
268 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/20 (2WD), 15/20 (AWD)

3.5-liter V6 with Hybrid module
275 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3000-5500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/24

3.0-liter V6 Turbodiesel
210 horsepower @ 3400 rpm
400 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-2400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25

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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2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 214 Ratings for the 2006 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Very nice

By on Friday, April 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Appearance, driveability, comfort"

Cons: "Audio/communication/navigation controls."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Bought this as a certified pre-owned in 2015 and have owned it for a year. Very comfortable and easy to drive. Looks great. Gets pretty good gas mileage. There are just three things I really don't like: (1) Running boards make it awkward to get in and out. You have to reach your foot over them or step on them, but they are too narrow to step onto comfortably. (2) This model/year still has an awkward button-only audio/communication/navigation system. No touch screen. Quite complicated to set destinations, enter/save phone numbers etc. (3) The design of the manual is terrible. The information is all there, but it is very hard to figure out what applies to your model vehicle."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Bought w 68K-now at 114K. Best car ever bought.

By on Saturday, March 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 114,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Safe, easy to handle great all around SUV."

Cons: "Maintenance cost over 125K ?????"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"In 2014 I purchased off lot w 68K. Loved the look, drive, and 40K later probably best car ever bought. Owned 2 previous ML320's-best SUV in winter & snow. ML 350 almost as good. Overall Hwy plus city driving=good, safe,"high value car." No matter what anyone says," you get what you pay for. Good luck shopping."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Very reliable, great gas milage

By on Monday, September 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "gas milage, reliability, cargo room"

Cons: "no heated seats on ours"

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

"This has been a great car for our family. Excellent gas milage on our diesel engine of up to 30mpg in town, 26 hwy. Lots of cargo capabilty (we bought and brought home a new stove) and it fit without a problem. Reliability has been fantastic! We've taken it in for the requisite "spa"days at the dealer (the required milage maintenance) but absolutely no problems, and it has 90k miles! The engine is so powerful, passing is never an issue."

18 people out of 32 found this review helpful

Geat Value and great choice

By on Thursday, June 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,300

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty, comfortable (slightly used only $40K)"

Cons: "Delayed shift changes, plastic trim (MB-Tex)"

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

"I traded this BlueTec for a 2001 ML350 and have not regretted this choice one bit. One reason is that mine is an off-lease car just under 30K miles and only 2 yrs old when I purchased it. There has only been one issue, a bum fuel pump which was replaced under warranty and yes, just recently one of the tire pressure monitors went bad, also replaced under warranty. So the only expense so far new tires. The tires which were on the car still had enough tread but I was hydroplaning like crazy on one long-distance trip. So for long-distance driving this car is just perfect. I have two complaints (minor) that is the annoying delay when, for instance, throwing the gears from R to D or D to R. The, somewhat fraction of a second delay is too long for this German driver. I actually prefer stick shift cars, but that was not available here in the US on this model. My other complaint (minor) is that plastic upholstering. Again, otherwise I love this car (truck) also because I saved approx. $20,000 by buying a used one from a dealer, and therefore still had all the warranty, for a warranty for another year. Hurrah."

20 people out of 34 found this review helpful

Love this SUV!

By on Thursday, March 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

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

Pros: "Especially great for long drives."

Cons: "None"

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

"This was a great buy for me. I have enjoyed this vehicle tremendously. It is so comfortable to drive and ride in. I definitely want to be a ML or GL driver the rest of my days!"

25 people out of 36 found this review helpful

Drives like a sports car,luxury & safety of an SUV

By on Saturday, February 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Drives like a sports car,luxury & safety of an SUV"

Cons: "Expensive maintenance after warranty..."

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

"This is one of the nicest vehicles that we have ever owned. It drives beautifully, power when you need it, very maneuverable for an SUV. Has that "I'm solid, stick to the road" feeling when driven, extremely comfortable, maintains that new car feeling and drivability, even at our current mileage 0f 75,000. There is definitely something to be said for "German engineering". It is more expensive to maintain than your common SUV, but we have had a GREAT "owner's experience". We are looking to trade this one in purchase another one in the near future."

20 people out of 31 found this review helpful

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