The 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class pours on standard equipment—and gets truly lavish with its options.
Edmunds isn’t impressed with the new design of the instrument cluster or the operation of the new COMAND system in the 2009 M-Class: “The center stack controls are a nightmare, however, as the ML320's COMAND interface lacks the control knob we've come to expect in premium vehicles, forcing you to use four directional arrow keys and an 'OK' button instead… Compounding the problem is the smorgasbord of identical-looking black buttons, which fail miserably at making your life easier.” Automobile.com, however, appreciates the "cellular telephone preparation with Bluetooth hands-free,” as well as some of the car's more unique features, "such as a heated steering wheel and a power tilt and sliding glass sunroof.”
MotherProof is somewhat discouraged: “The backup camera image doesn’t automatically come up on the screen if the entertainment system isn’t on. This was a disappointment because the camera should come on without any sort of precondition.”
Edmunds' frustrations are somewhat soothed with thoughtful touches such as the “nifty two-mode switch mounted on the inside lip of the tailgate—the first function closes the tailgate automatically, while the second closes it and then locks the entire vehicle. Also, the glovebox-mounted iPod interface works seamlessly, allowing song selection by artist name, track name, playlist name and so on.” In addition, “Visibility in the 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML320 is superb, thanks to an elevated driving position and plenty of glass all around.”
ForbesAutos, meanwhile, notes the AMG edition gets a special add-on: “The special AMG instrument cluster has a lap timer so you can keep track of precisely how long it takes to run errands around town.” In the top-end ML63 AMG, ForbesAuto also loves that the "tremendous AMG sport seats are wrapped in Nappa leather with suede-like Alcantara inserts." The AMG edition adds a DVD navigation system, a wonderful Harman/Kardon sound system, and three-zone climate control system as standard gear.