The Mercedes Benz All Activity Vehicle (AAV),
i.e., prototype M-class 4×4,
was unveiled to the world at the Detroit Motor Show.
It had a separate chassis, 2-speed transfer case, and
4× independent suspension.
The design had been finalised -
Mercedes Benz alloy V8 and 3.2L V6 engines,
5-speed automatic gearbox,
2-speed transfer case with full-time four wheel drive
through a centre differential, with a high-ratio of 1:1 and
a low-ratio of 2.64:1.
A chain takes drive from the centre differential to
the front propeller shaft.
There is no diff' lock on the centre diff, the M-class instead
relying on electronic traction control to apply the brakes
on any spinning wheel(s).
Safety features include
dual air bags, dual front-door side-airbags, four wheel disc brakes, and
- 1998 Mercedes Benz ML320
station wagon, 5+2 seats, 4 doors, airbags, ABS
- Loa 4587mm, width 2190mm, height 1776mm, ground clearance 204mm
- Wheelbase 2820mm, track 1535mm/1535mm
- Approach 30°, departure 31°, ramp-over 160°
- Weight 2010kg (unladen), GVM 2650kg, towing 750kg unbraked
- 3199cc, petrol, V6, efi, 3-valves/cyl, ohc,
lean-burn with dual spark plugs
- Bore 89.9mm, stroke 84.0mm, c.r. 10.0:1
- Power 160kW at 5000rpm, torque 310Nm at 3000rpm
5-speed automatic (3.93:1, 2.41:1, 1.49:1, 1.0:1, 0.83:1, rev 3.1:1);
2-speed transfer case (1.0:1 hi, 2.64:1 lo),
full-time 4WD, no diff' locks rather ETC;
diff' ratio 3.69:1
- Suspension twin-wishbone & torsion-bar/ twin-wishbone & coil;
- Tyres 255/65R16 on 8Jx16, standard spare 155/90 D18 on 4Jx18H2,
- Notes built on full chassis, front and rear suspensions are
mounted on sub-frames
- Prices $67,400 std, $73,400 luxury ($au 9/1998)
- 1999 ML430
- 4266cc, petrol, V8, mpi, 3-valves/cyl, sohc (per bank)
- Bore 89.9mm, stroke 84.0mm, c.r. 10.0:1
- Power 200kW at 5750rpm, torque 390Nm at 4500rpm
- Transmission 5-speed automatic
(3.59:1, 2.19:1, 1.41:1, 1.0:1, 0.83:1; rev 1.93;1),
full-time 4WD (hi 1.0:1, lo 2.64:1),
diff' ratio 3.46:1, centre diff', traction control
- Tyres 275/55R17 (29" oad) on 8.5Jx17 wheels, fuel-tank 70L
- Prices $98.5K (1989), $95,500 ($au 1/2001)
The diesel ML270 CDI, 2688cc 5-cylinder turbo-charged, 120kW, 400Nm,
was relased in Australia.
Various improvements were made, such as fitting
3× lap-sash seat belts in the rear.
- 2000 ML270 CDI
- CDI, diesel, turbo-charged, inter-cooled, common rail injection,
- Power 120kW, torque 400Nm
- Bore 88mm, stroke 88.34mm
- Transmission 5-speed auto (au), full-time 4WD, 2-speed transfer case
- Brake assist,
electronic stability program, side air-bags for front seats
ML270 CDI diesel $60,880,
ML320 V6 petrol $65,880,
ML430 V8 petrol $94,480 (7/2000 inc' GST)
The M-class' Electronic Traction System (4ETS) was upgraded.
An "intelligent brake force booster"
builds pressure faster and reacts more quickly to wheel spin.
It also acts in low range if brake and accelerator are
both depressed to assist in starts on very steep hills.
4ETS can now also be used to descend steep hills
at a constant speed in low-range,
in the style of
hill descent control (HDC).
The M-class ML55 AMG, 5.5- litre 255kW V8,
went on sale in Austrakia $139,900 ($au).
- 2001 ML55 AMG
- Loa 4635mm, width 2190mm (mirrors), height 1760mm, wheelbase 2820mm,
track 1555mm/ 1555mm, turning radius 5.95m,
weight 2160kg, GVM 2750kg
- Engine 5439cc, petrol, V8,
- Bore 97.0mm, stroke 92.0mm, c.r. 10.5:1, 3-valves/cyl,
- Power 255kW at 5500rpm, torque 510Nm at 2800rpm to 4500rpm,
- Transmission 5-speed automatic gearbox,
dual range transfer case,
full-time 4WD, traction control,
electronic stability programme (ESP)
all independent (coils), brakes disc/ disc, ABS
- Tyres 285/50R18, fuel tank 93L,
fuel consumption 14.9L/100km claimed overall
- Standard multiple airbags inc' side airbags,
comand, xenon headlights, power adjustable front seats,
leather seats and trim, sunroof,
ML55 AMG $139,900, and
ML430 V8 $95,500,
ML320 V6 $67,900,
ML270 CDI $64,900 ($au 1/2001)
2001 late, 2002 model year:
The 4.3-litre ML430 was replaced by the
5-litre ML500 (215kW 5600rpm, 440Nm 2700rpm).
Price ML500 au$99.900 [$au., 2002].
- 2004 January:
- ML350, V6, petrol, 172kW, from au$$73,900.
- ML270 CDI, diesel, 120kW from au$$73,900.
- ML500, V8, petrol, 215kW, from $104,500.
- ML55 AMG, V8, petrol, 255kW, from $140,900.
- "11,585 M-Class have been delivered [...] in [.au] since
the vehicle's release in 1998."
2005: A new (generation 2) M-class ('W164') was released
with full monocoque construction,
7-speed auto (only), and
a low-range transfer-case as an option.
a 2.1-litre 4-cyl dual turbo diesel was an option --
in the ML250 CDI --
claiming 6.0 l/100km.
M-class (generation 3, 'W166'),
ML250 2.1-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 150kW, 500Nm, from $81.4K,
ML350 3-litre V6 turbo diesel, 190kW, 540Nm, from $100K,
or 3.5-litre V6 petrol, 225kW, 370Nm, from $100K,
ML500 4.6-litre V8 turbo petrol, 300kW, 600Nm, from $120K,
ML63 AMG (June) 5.5-litre V8 turbo petrol,
385kW, 700Nm, from $178K ($au).
As part of the introduction new terminology,
the M-class was renamed the 'GLE-class',
the 'G' being for gelandewagen
(off road, as in the G-wagen).