Mercedes-Benz announces new 2012 M-Class

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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The mid-size luxury crossover SUV segment is now full of offerings from upmarket automakers such as Acura, Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Lexus, Porsche, and Volvo. While the segment is now flourishing, there was a time not too long ago when it didn't even exist. Back in 1997, Mercedes-Benz released the first generation M-Class and it was widely believed to have established the mid-size luxury crossover SUV segment. The second generation M-Class was introduced in 2005, and was noticeably improved over the first generation which had been criticized for its rather stark interior and questionable build quality. Now, for the 2012 model year, Mercedes-Benz has announced the third generation of it's now well-established M-Class.

Where the second generation M-Class featured taut yet rounded exterior styling, the new M-Class is much more sculpted and angular. Front end styling is reminiscent of the current Mercedes-Benz C-Class, while the side profile and rear end are unique to the new M-Class. Exterior features include 19-inch wheels, LED taillights, and daytime running lights, plus chrome accents and aluminum roof rails.

The interior of the new M-Class benefits from up to date styling throughout the cabin. One notable feature is a hand-polished slab of Eucalyptus wood adorning the dashboard. It houses a 7-inch LCD display, now in the driver`s line of sight. The M-Class also features standard heated front seats, while a Bluetooth hands-free system, HD Radio, and a USB port are also standard.

The 2012 M-Class is outfitted with nine airbags as well as PRE-SAFE, Mercedes' occupant protection system that is capable of "preparing" the vehicle and its occupants for what its sensors consider an impending collision. PRE-SAFE pre-charges the brakes, inflates the seats for more support, adjusts the head restraints, and even applies the brakes if needed. ATTENTION ASSIST counters driver drowsiness with adaptive braking, and DISTRONIC PLUS cruise control with Active Lane Keeping and Blind Spot Assist help to ensure that the M-Class will travel along safely within its lane.
A 3.5-litre V6 remains the base engine for the new M-Class and features direct injection. It produces 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. It is more fuel efficient than the outgoing V6, which was also a 3.5-litre unit. The M-Class is also offered with a 240 horsepower BlueTEC Clean Diesel engine, which will likely continue to be available in Canada.

A seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission handles shifting duties for the new M-Class, and it has been engineered to deliver improved fuel economy. Mercedes-Benz also outfits the new M-Class with standard AGILITY CONTROL suspension that automatically reacts to changing road conditions.

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class has been redesigned to a higher standard in order to compete with an enticing group of competitors. The improvements made to the M-Class' exterior, interior, and powertrain will make for a more competitive mid-size crossover SUV offering from Mercedes-Benz. The 2012 M-Class is expected to reach Canadian show rooms in September.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, SUV, Mercedes-Benz, 2012, M Class (Mercedes), $50,000 - $74,999, New Vehicle Preview News,

Organizations: Mercedes-Benz

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