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2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Overview
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2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a mid-size luxury SUV that offers an excellent mix of comfort, utility and power, all with the prestige inherent in any vehicle adorned with the Three-Pointed Star. With its range of engine choices and package options, the M-Class can take the form of a midlevel people mover that competes with the Lexus RX and BMW X5, to a super-premium hauler that can go toe-to-toe with a Range Rover Sport or Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

You'll Like This Car If...

Whether you want to tackle any road in sublime comfort or hit up to 174 mph on the autobahn, the M-Class can do it. On a more pragmatic front, the Mercedes M-Class boasts reams of safety features, great cargo space, and the ability to tow up to 7,200 pounds.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need an SUV that holds more than five people, the M-Class isn't for you. For that you'll have to step up to a 3-row vehicle like the bigger Mercedes-Benz GL-Class or a crossover like the Infiniti JX, Audi Q7 or Buick Enclave.

What's Significant About This Car?

The Mercedes-Benz M-Class has been revamped for the 2012 model year, which marks its third generation since debuting in 1998. The 2012 M-Class has slightly bigger exterior dimensions and a sleeker design, upgraded interior and tech features, standard all-wheel drive, a new 7-speed automatic transmission, and V6 and V8 engines that are more powerful yet drink less fuel. The hybrid version has been dropped but the stout and efficient BlueTEC diesel remains.

Driving the M-Class

Driving Impressions The M-Class further dashes the notion that ride quality must be sacrificed to have a high-riding, all-wheel-drive machine that can tackle just about any terrain. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class can...

tame the hazards of ruts, snow and muck – not to mention rush-hour traffic and speed bumps – while treating its driver and passengers to a supple travel experience. The M-Class doesn't feel quite as sporty as its BMW rivals, but it's anything but slow, especially when equipped with a V8 engine. For those who do want a more dynamic driving experience, that can be had with the touch of a button that adjusts the suspension. We preferred to leave the "comfort" setting on to take advantage of this SUV's soft ride. Even at freeway speeds, the cabin is remarkably hushed. Visibility is good, but we still recommend the optional blind-spot monitoring system. Steering feels a tad light at lower speeds and isn't very communicative overall. The M-Class has a relatively tight turning radius of 38.7 feet, which means fewer 3-point turns.

Power Tailgate
This feature is a lifesaver when your hands are filled with groceries. Just touch a button on the key fob and the tailgate lifts. Closing is equally simple, either via a button on the door itself or with another press on the key fob.


Fold and Tumble Rear Seats
Folding rear seats are ubiquitous, but not so those that tumble forward, too. Though it takes an extra step, the setup yields a flat floor that is better for carrying cargo.

2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Details
Interior

The 2012 M-Class has all the soft-touch materials, wood accents, and sea of sturdy buttons and knobs you'd expect in a luxury vehicle. Leather seating will still cost you extra, but even the base "MB-Tex" vinyl provides an appreciable amount of comfort and good textile feel. That sensation carries over to just about every other component, from the available wood steering wheel to the tiny gear selector, which bucks the trend not just with its size but by being mounted on the steering-wheel column instead of the center console. Rear passengers are treated to ample legroom, reclining seats, and movies of their choice with the optional twin LCD screens mounted inside the front-seat headrests.

Exterior
2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class photo

With the 2012 model comes a significant freshening of the M-Class' sheetmetal. Up front is a revised grille that emphasizes the Mercedes-Benz emblem, and sleeker headlights that give the M-Class a more athletic look. Adding to the sportier appearance is a sculpted beltline running the sides. The rear benefits from a squatter appearance and taillights that are stretched horizontally, which gives the 2012 M-Class a more sporting vs. utilitarian look. The high-performance ML63 AMG models are distinguished by a larger air intake up front, wider front fenders and quad tailpipes in back.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUVs come with all-wheel drive, a 7-speed automatic transmission, power sunroof, 8-way heated front seats, power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7-inch color center display, and an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD/DVD audio system with weather band and HD Radio. Safety features include nine airbags and Mercedes' Attention Assist system that monitors for driver drowsiness. ML350 and ML550 versions ride on big, 19-inch wheels, while the top-line ML63 AMG rolls on 20-inchers.

Optional Equipment

Here's where the M-Class' $50,000 base price can quickly inflate by thousands of dollars. Many options are bundled into packages and include navigation, rear-view camera, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and a premium harman/kardon surround-sound system. Further options include a panorama roof, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and the Parktronic system to aid with parallel parking. The $5,000-plus Dynamic Handling Package makes for a more sporting M-Class with the addition of 20-inch wheels, air suspension and an adaptive damping system. Buyers of the AMG performance version who find its 518 horsepower still inadequate can opt for a package that adds another 32 hp and brings the SUV's top speed to 174 mph.

Under the Hood

Each of the four 2012 M-Class models is distinguished by its own engine. At the lowest-priced end is the ML350 with a still-robust V6. Next is the most fuel-efficient of the bunch, the ML350 BlueTEC with a V6 turbodiesel that puts out tremendous power yet yields up to 27 mpg on the highway and a stated cruising range of more than 600 miles. The diesel is 50-state legal and of the "clean" variety, meaning it doesn't put out the nasty emissions of past diesels, but will require injections of the urea-based AdBlue fluid throughout its life. The ML550 SUV uses a powerful-but-fuel-thirsty V8 biturbo, and the ML63 AMG uses an even bigger, more powerful – and even less fuel-efficient – V8. Even the "slowest" M-Class can hit 60 mph in just over seven seconds, while the AMG version can do it in 4.7 seconds, on par with high-performance sports cars.

3.5-liter V6
302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22 mpg

3.0-liter turbodiesel V6
240 horsepower @ 3,600 rpm
455 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-2,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg

4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8
402 horsepower @ 5,000-5,750 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20 mpg

5.5-liter biturbo V8
518 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/18 mpg

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2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 31 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.9/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    8.5/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

About as good as it gets

By on Friday, May 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Prestigous, reliable, high quality amenities"

Cons: "Heavy vehicle (it is an SUV), stone chips in paint"

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

"Absolute pleasure to drive, flawless for reliability, and comfort. Opportunities for improvement - 1 for sure: improve front paint finishes ability to resist stone chip damage"

Love the Car

By on Monday, April 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

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: "Best VALUE in a luxury vehicle I know of."

Cons: "Navigation system needs improvement."

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

"Easy in IN and OUT even for big guys ~ 6'2" and 300#. Smooth, QUIET, and very responsive. Engine revs effortlessly to redline. Average 22.6 MPG ~ mostly DFW freeway travel. 15 MPG or so stoplight to stoplight. Lots of room in the rear hatch for all my skeet shooting gear. A bit bouncy with 4 adults and luggage on a trip, but OK. Voice communication of Nav/Bluetooth system is the only point I would not give a 10. Ford and Infiniti (we own them) have a better system."

Our 4th ML and Best in Show

By on Thursday, March 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

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
9/10

Pros: "The "250" diesel is perfect for this SUV"

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

"This 2015 ML250 BlueTec is just a bit longer wheelbase than previous models. It has more legroom, a better ride and it handles better too. The 2.15L Biturbo diesel engine is amazing --e.g., it has plenty of power in all normal driving situations while delivering better than advertised miles per gallon (I'm getting >30 mpg on my daily drive) and the range is great --e.g., daytrips can range up to 600 miles on a single tank of fuel; and, diesel fuel prices are currently lower than regular gas so that's an added bonus. Distronic Plus, MB's adaptive cruise control really is a 'plus' (I wouldn't leave home without it)."

17 people out of 29 found this review helpful

Great vehcle, gets the job done with confort.

By on Saturday, February 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Quiet, confortable, interior quality, handling"

Cons: "Controls need to be more intutive and centralized"

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

"I purchased this vehicle in 2013 and traded in a 2011 BMW 535.This is a two row SUV based on the same platform as the GL which is a longer 3 row design. Both vehicles have the same interior layout with the exact same dimentions minus the extra row. After driving both the GL & ML, I liked the ML, because it handled better. It is also more fuel efficient. It has excellent safety ratings and feels sturdy and stable, at 4700 lbs. One of the selling points of SUVs is safety, regardless of the crash test results with cars. All of the safety features of modern cars,does not make up for mass. The government crash tests are based on fixed objects, not other vehicles. This vehicle rides well and is very quiet. The only downside with taller vehicles is that, there is more wobble on uneaven roads. The extra movement is transfered to the driver because of the extra height. With the electronic stability controls,handling around curves is great in normal driving. The advantage is that the extra height gives the driver of an SUV more protection in a crash with a standard car. The main structure of the SUV rides higher than the structure of a typical car, so the impact of the SUV occurs at the weakest point on the car, but strongest on the SUV. There are many SUVs on the market, but the ML is worth the little extra cost with a higher level of quality."

20 people out of 37 found this review helpful

This is the best suv I've ever owned

By on Saturday, February 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,564

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great in town and especially on the highway"

Cons: "No cons"

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

"I love to drive this vehicle. It has great torque(diesel)and acceleration. The fuel mileage is 30+ on the highway and 23+ around town. It easily tows a large trailer and 23 foot boat. My wife drives a new Avalon Limited, but always asks to use my car when she shops. It has so much storage when the rear door seats are down.Great sport utility!"

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Best in the long run.

By on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "Leans a little on corners."

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

"This vehicle is the best for longer trips. Excellent climate system. First week we had it we were driving on the Interstate in South Carolina and the vehicle thermometer indicated 109 degrees outside temperature but cool as a cucumber inside. Same for really cold weather. Most comfortable vehicle we have had for Interstate long distance driving. Also, real easy to get into and out of for tall people."

18 people out of 35 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

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