The 2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class can be equipped with many of the same features available in the brand's flagship S-Class sedan, making this one very plush and high-tech SUV.
Even the base-level equipment is pretty impressive. All ML 350 and ML 350 BlueTEC models include power heated front seats and a power liftgate--both items that are a step up in some rival models. The newly upgraded sound system (or premium Harman/Kardon system) provide some varied and superb-sounding entertainment, and include an SD card slot, 10 GB of audio storage, CD/DVD compatibility, HD radio, weatherband, and Bluetooth audio streaming—as well as Bluetooth hands-free calling. There's also a USB port within the center console.
Some of the standout options include a heated or cooled cupholder that can heat up to 141 degrees F. And there's a new iPad docking station—positioned between the front seats and in view for rear passengers—that will be available first in this product but will soon be available for all Mercedes-Benz models. A night-vision system is among the standalone options, as is an Advanced Park Assist system, which helps steer the vehicle back into a parallel-parking space as the driver controls the accelerator and brakes.
Other extras are grouped into Premium packages, including, for instance, a Dynamic Handling Package that adds adaptive damping and an air suspension system.
We're still not all that enthused about the latest version of M-B's COMAND screen-based interface, which includes a rotary/button controller, placed just ahead of the driver's right-hand armrest. There's simply too much looking at the screen required--even once you begin to remember the menu system. Thankfully it does include a couple of programmable shortcut buttons.