Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Luxury and diesel go together in the Mercedes-Benz ML320 CDI

Mercedes-Benz ML320 CDI
Mercedes has decades of diesel experience, and the ML320 CDI is wort

The last time fuel prices took a giant leap upwards in the 1970s, many consumers turned to diesel cars. The big three got into the act, but it was the Germans who sold a lot of rattle-cans. Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz ripped the market in half and high school English teachers bought diesel Rabbits, while businessmen bought Mercedes 300D sedans.

And with the exception of some enthusiasts, everyone switched back to gas as soon as possible.

Fast forward to today’s fuel crisis and the situation is more than a little bit different. Today’s diesels are all about power, and all about clean. We all remember looking at the sooty backside of more than a few German diesels back in the day, but with the advent of modern computer-controlled engines and clean-burning diesel, it’s time to forget the past.

Leading the charge to clean diesel is the Mercedes ML320 CDI. This SUV offers Mercedes’ Bluetec clean diesel engine, and it’s truly a remarkable piece of technology. The Bluetec is a 3-liter 4-valve V-6 engine, making 210 horsepower and a whopping 398 pound-feet of torque. The EPA says it gets 18/24 MPG on the new low-sulfur diesel or biodiesel blends, but I’ve had no problem getting combination highway/city average mileage above 25 and trending towards 27 on the highway. And that’s using my normal driving style. I’ll bet my wife would see 30 MPG.

Inside, the ML320 is all about Mercedes luxury. All modern conveniences are available for you, including hands-free cell phone service, built-in iPod and MP3 support, 6-disc changer, backup camera, GPS navigation, leather, zone climate control, and the all-important heated seats. Oh yeah, it’s got a sunroof, cargo rails, and all that, too. It’s fully equipped.

The ML320 CDI is a real pleasure to drive. It’s so quiet inside you find yourself wondering if they really did give you the diesel version. There’s a little switch to take the suspension from normal to comfort to sport mode. I punched it up into sport mode and I’ve left it there all week. The transmission is a 7-speed automatic, and to tell the truth, I never noticed it. It’s that smooth. You can also order hill descent control and other good AWD features. The ML is a very capable 4WD SUV as well as a luxury vehicle. Steering is tight and responsive, and the brakes work like you expect from Mercedes-Benz.

No comments:

Post a Comment