2012 Mercedes-Benz M Class vs. Its Competition

2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor

The original Mercedes-Benz M Class was a forerunner in 1998; along with the softer Lexus RX, the ML set a new standard for a generation of luxury SUVs and crossovers.

Now the competition in this segment is tighter than ever, with most of these vehicle still offering some level of trail ability along with lavish luxury interiors and extensive tech features.

The Lexus RX 350 is the only one that doesn't take aim at off-roading in any form; it's essentially a tall luxury wagon, but supremely comfortable inside.

BMW's latest X5 lives up to that automaker's reputation for handling, and its interior is now significantly upgraded, but its ride quality is still a potential issue.

The Audi Q7 is a standout for design and interior comfort, and it does offer a third row.

The MDX is an aging design, and one of the less overtly styled vehicles here, but it offers surprisingly good handling and performance along with the great interior versatility that Honda offers in its Pilot.

And Jeep now has a vehicle that's right up with this lot; the new somewhat more off-road-ready Jeep Grand Cherokee rides and handles as well as the M Class (after all, it's based on the same underpinnings), with a standard luxury-feature list that almost as good, and it costs less.

2012 Mercedes-Benz ML3502012 Mercedes-Benz M Class
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2011 Acura MDX AWD 4-door Tech Pkg Angular Front Exterior View2012 Acura MDX
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2012 Audi Q7 quattro 4-door 3.0L TDI Premium Angular Front Exterior View2012 Audi Q7
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2012 BMW X5 AWD 4-door 50i Angular Front Exterior View2012 BMW X5
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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT82012 Jeep Grand Cherokee
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Quick Specs
8.6
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz M Class is improved in nearly way, and remains one of the most luxurious and secure choices for families not needing a third row of seats.
8.2
The 2012 Acura MDX is not just comfortable and family-friendly; it's one of the most enjoyable three-row crossovers to drive.
8.6
The 2012 Audi Q7 has what upscale suburban families want: a lavish interior, a cabin full of premium features, and performance and ride that are very carlike--plus serious towing ability if and when you need it.
8.4
It doesn't pop with the styling or interior plushness of its competitors, but the 2012 BMW X5 has the powerful X5 M and frugal diesel up its sleeve.
8.6
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee only gets better this year with the addition of the SRT8's thundering HEMI V-8.
MSRP From    
$48,990$43,030$46,250$47,500$27,195
Gas Mileage    
14 MPG City / 27 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 21 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy12 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy12 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy
Engine    
Gas V6Gas V6Supercharged Gas V6Turbocharged Gas I6Gas/Ethanol V6
EPA Class    
Sport Utility Vehicle 4WDSport Utility Vehicle4WD Sport Utility Vehicle4WD Sport Utility Vehicle2WD Sport Utility Vehicle
Style Name    
4MATIC 4-Door ML 350AWD 4-Doorquattro 4-Door 3.0T PremiumAWD 4-Door 35iRWD 4-Door Laredo
Drivetrain    
All Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveAll-Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
57755
Passenger Doors    
N/AN/AN/AN/A4
Body Style    
4 Door4 DoorSport Utility Vehicle4 Door Sport Utility VehicleSport Utility Vehicle
Transmission    
AutomaticAutomaticAutomatic w/Manual ShiftAutomaticAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Mercedes-Benz M Class vs. 2012 Acura MDX2012 Mercedes-Benz M Class vs. 2012 Audi Q72012 Mercedes-Benz M Class vs. 2012 BMW X52012 Mercedes-Benz M Class vs. 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee