A Brief Look at the Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Mercedes-Benz has always been known for its luxury vehicles, and the Mercedes-Benz M-Class has been no exception. This SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) has been a part of the Mercedes-Benz lineup since 1997 when it was first introduced as the ML320. Since then, the M-Class has undergone several changes and upgrades, making it one of the most sought-after SUVs in the market. In this article, we will discuss the history and evolution of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, including each generation of the model and its variations, from the first to the current.
First Generation: W163 (1997-2005)
The first generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class, also known as the W163, was built between 1997 and 2005. It was the first luxury SUV to use a unibody construction rather than the typical body-on-frame construction used by most SUVs during this time. The W163 was a mid-size SUV that was available in three models: the ML320, the ML430, and the ML55 AMG.
The ML320 was the base model, while the ML430 had a more powerful engine. The ML55 AMG version had a high-performance engine that produced 342 horsepower. All models utilized a V6 or V8 engine with a 5-speed automatic transmission.
During its seven-year production run, the first-generation M-Class underwent several updates and upgrades. In 2001, Mercedes-Benz introduced the ML500, which featured a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produced 288 horsepower. In 2002, the ML55 AMG received an upgraded engine to produce 342 horsepower.
Second Generation: W164 (2006-2011)
The second-generation M-Class, also known as the W164, was introduced in 2006. The W164 had a more modern and stylish design than its predecessor. The body was sleeker, and the front grille was more prominent. The second-generation M-Class also had a more refined and spacious interior.
The W164 was available in three models: the ML350, the ML500, and the ML63 AMG. The ML350 had a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produced 268 horsepower. The ML500 had a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produced 385 horsepower. The high-performance ML63 AMG had a 6.2-liter V8 engine that produced 503 horsepower.
The second-generation M-Class received several notable updates during its production run. In 2007, a diesel engine option was introduced in the ML320 CDI. The ML320 CDI had a 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine that produced 215 horsepower. In the same year, the ML550 model was also introduced. It had a 5.5-liter V8 engine that produced 382 horsepower. The ML63 AMG received an engine upgrade in 2009, increasing its horsepower to 518.
Third Generation: W166 (2012-2019)
The third generation M-Class, also known as the W166, was introduced in 2011 and was in production until 2019. The W166 had a more modern and aerodynamic design compared to its predecessors. It also had a more spacious and luxurious interior. Unlike the previous models, the third-generation M-Class was available in four models.
The ML350 had a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produced 302 horsepower. The ML550 had a 4.6-liter V8 engine that produced 402 horsepower. The ML63 AMG had a 5.5-liter V8 engine that produced 518 horsepower. The ML250 BlueTEC was introduced in 2015 as the diesel option. It had a 2.1-liter inline-four turbo diesel engine that produced 200 horsepower.
During its production run, the W166 received several updates and upgrades. In 2013, the ML400 was introduced. It had a 3.0-liter V6 engine that produced 329 horsepower. In the same year, the ML63 AMG was upgraded to produce 550 horsepower. The most significant upgrade came in 2015 when Mercedes-Benz rebranded the M-Class as the GLE-Class. The third-generation M-Class was the last to use the M-Class name.
Fourth Generation: W167 (2020-present)
The fourth and current generation M-Class, also known as the W167, was introduced in 2019 as a 2020 model year. Unlike the previous models, the four-letter name has been dropped, and it’s now known as the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. The GLE-Class has a sleeker exterior design, making it more aerodynamic than before. It also has a more luxurious and modern interior with advanced technology features.
The GLE-Class is currently available in four models: the GLE350, the GLE450, the GLE580, and the AMG GLE63 S. The GLE350 has a 2.0-liter inline-four turbo engine that produces 255 horsepower. The GLE450 has a 3.0-liter inline-six turbo engine with EQ Boost technology that produces 362 horsepower. The GLE580 has a 4.0-liter V8 engine with EQ Boost technology that produces 483 horsepower. The high-performance AMG GLE63 S has a 4.0-liter V8 engine that produces 603 horsepower.
The Mercedes-Benz M-Class has come a long way since its introduction in 1997. The first-generation M-Class paved the way for luxury SUVs with a unibody construction. The second-generation M-Class brought in a more modern-looking design and several upgrades like diesel engine options. The third-generation M-Class saw the name being changed to GLE-Class and brought in more luxurious technologies.
The current fourth-generation GLE-Class is the most stylish, modern, and the most advanced version of the M-Class yet. The GLE-Class comes loaded with advanced technological features like touchscreen infotainment systems, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a camera-based suspension system. It’s available in four models, including hybrid options and a high-performance AMG model. All in all, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class keeps evolving and continues to set standards for the luxury SUV market.