TheCarConnection.com's spies are like mailmen - neither sleet, nor snow, nor the new Nintendo Wii keep them from their appointed rounds. Today, they've nabbed a batch of photos of Mercedes' facelifted ML as it paused during a fuel stop in some snowbound place we're glad to be far from.
The latest shots clear up some details that older spy shots haven't revealed, and shows a distinctly different front end than the redesigned ML-Class brought to market a few years back. The front bumper gets a bit more butch, with protrusions which flare out at the corners, beneath the headlights. The flares lead into a larger lower grille-opening, resulting in an ML with a more pronounced "jaw line" than the current model. The tweaked ML also showcases a new hood, with a taller central bulge further augmented by two chiseled strips flanking the Mercedes star. The new ML's fog lamp clusters have also been reshaped and fitted with some revised mesh trim. Some tape on the headlights suggests that some minor changes will also be made to the headlights.
Changes to the rear are more subtle, but it appears that the rear bumper has also been slightly redesigned. The tail-lights look unchanged, although the internal lighting elements may employ brighter LED technology which would up the safety quotient, but do nothing to enhance styling.
All in all, this facelifted ML is typical for Mercedes -- a cautious update halfway through a car's life cycle. Can we expect a new M-Class in 2012, then? We'll keep you posted.