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by George Skentzos

The powerful Mercedes-Benz ML 500 has undergone a major transplant and is now making its way into Australian showrooms.

Mercedes-Benz, never to do anything by halves, has replaced the previous 5.0L V8 with a more powerful and more fuel efficient 5.5L V8.

Compared to the superseded 5.0L unit, the new engine as seen in the R-Class among others, boasts an impressive 60 kW more power bringing the total to 285 kW with torque climbing 15 percent from 460 Nm to 530 Nm.

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Despite this more than significant increase in horsepower, the refined 5.5L V8 consumes just 12.9 litres per 100km – down from 13.4 litres with the previous 225 kW engine.

Mated to Mercedes-Benz’s 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, performance is unimaginable, with this luxury SUV taking just 5.8 seconds to sprint from naught to 100 km/h and on to an electronically limited top speed of 210 km/h.

Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that the ML 500 is not even the most powerful in the range, with the ML 63 AMG producing an unbelievable 375 kW and 630 Nm.

Driving dynamics are further enhanced by the addition of AIRMATIC air suspension, fitted as standard equipment in the ML 500 and ML 63 AMG, AIRMATIC optimises ride comfort and dynamic cornering. It is optionally available for the petrol and diesel V6-powered M-Class models: the ML 280 CDI, the ML 350 and the ML 320 CDI.

The ML 500 is supposedly equally equipped off the road as it is on. With two manually-selectable differential locks (offering 100% lock-up), a two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing and a reinforced rear-axle differential, the Off-Road Pro engineering package lets drivers conquer the most rugged of terrain in luxury – in true Mercedes style, all at the push of a button.

The ML 500 is no exception to Mercedes’ trademark features in comfort and safety, boasting ABS, ESP, brake assist, eight airbags, NECK-PRO head restraints and the marque’s clever PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection system which can detect an imminent collision before it occurs and then take necessary steps to prepare the car and its occupants for any impact.

The ML 500 is now available from $120,874.




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