$31,631 - $63,309

2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class was new.


Performance: 7.6

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a comfortable cruiser with composed handling, reviewers write. However, if you’re interested in a sporty SUV, some reviewers say that it isn’t as nimble as rivals like the BMW X5. Most test drivers say the M-Class’ base engine has sufficient power, the diesel model has plenty of power and gets great fuel economy and the performance-oriented ML63 AMG is incredibly fast.

  • "In the premium midsize crossover sport-utility segment there are a couple of athletic entries that feel as if they could give a sport sedan a run for the money on a deserted, curvy road. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is not among them." -- Edmunds
  • "The M-Class is designed to drive exceptionally well regardless of what's pouring from the skies, and if you add the off-road package, and the M-Class is a genuinely capable off-road vehicle, better than you'd expect of a city-dwelling luxury SUV." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "All M-Class models ride very comfortably and are reassuringly composed. The ML63 rides a bit firmer than its siblings but remains compliant." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The base ML350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 302 horsepower. The ML250 BlueTec has a twin-turbo 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that makes 200 horsepower. The ML400 has a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 that makes 329 horsepower. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. An ML350 with rear-wheel drive returns an EPA-estimated 18/24 mpg city/highway, which is on par for the class. The diesel-powered ML250 BlueTec is rated at 22/29 mpg, which is very good for the class.

The ML63 AMG is powered by a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 that produces 518 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes-Benz estimates that the ML63 AMG accelerates to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. An optional engine tune raises output to 550 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque.

Most test drivers say that the base ML350 has sufficient power in everyday driving, but a few find its acceleration a bit sluggish. They say the diesel-powered ML250 BlueTec has plenty of power and that the ML400 has strong acceleration. The ML63 AMG is incredibly powerful and very fast, according to critics.

  • "The 2015 M-Class' standard gasoline V6 engine gets fairly frisky if you're willing to take it to redline, but acceleration can feel a little pokey in normal driving conditions. That's why the ML250 Bluetec diesel version is a win-win proposition: It delivers ample usable thrust in everyday passing and merging maneuvers along with superior fuel economy. As for the other, more powerful models, the ML400 is downright quick, while the ML63 is just nuts. If ripping acceleration is a must, has Benz ever got an SUV for you." -- Edmunds
  • "ML350 4MATIC has plenty of smooth power around town and on the highway." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "But for an even greater infusion of performance, … the supercharged ML63 AMG offer[s] serious grunt in a formidable SUV package." -- AutoTrader (2014)

Handling and Braking

The base ML350 comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system is optional. All other trims come standard with 4Matic. The M-Class is available with an adjustable air suspension, which can be used to raise and lower the vehicle. Most test drivers think that the M-Class isn’t as agile through turns as rivals like the BMW X5, and some comment that it has numb steering. Still, others say it has controlled handling, and reviewers agree that it has a serene ride that makes it easy to live with in everyday driving.

  • "While not as sporty overall as the BMW X5, the M-Class features an adjustable suspension, allowing you to choose how stiff the SUV rides, though we're guessing ‘Comfort’ is most popular setting. The only downside is the too-light steering, which isn't very communicative." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On winding roads, however, the non-AMG M-Class models feel soft and out of sorts around turns, and the steering is both devoid of feel and overly light in effort. Translation: This is not a sporty SUV." -- Edmunds
  • "The M-Class has impressive handling, especially for a taller vehicle. Steering is well-weighted, and there's very little body roll. Overall, the M-Class feels well-planted and substantial." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "The ML350 is not as sporty as a BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne, but the Mercedes is arguably smoother and more pleasant to drive in everyday situations. In normal corning body lean isn't excessive, and with its accurate, well-weighted steering ML350's handling is confident." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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