Remember the first ever Mercedes ML? It was not the best looking SUV at the time, but it did look expensive. Then came the second generation, which had a little more added aggression and many still wanted one because it was a large and imposing Mercedes-Benz.
Then later in the second half of 2011 Mercedes-Benz engineers decided to infuse some drive soul and technical wizardry in the ML and so, the third generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class was born.
Here we are looking at the second generation which makes for a value used buy today. One look and the signature Mercedes ML DNA is still there but it has been stretched with nifty little features that give it more aggression. It has become more masculine and has the grunt under the hood to keep it on par or better than the Japanese (Lexus and Infiniti) and also European (BMW, Porsche and Audi) rivals.
Get inside and the cabin of the S-Class sedan has been shared with this ML with some features borrowed and some others made better (we liked the darker finish wood trim). The driver gets a commanding view ahead and also for the rear. Despite the raised rear and the large rear headrests the view to the rear is quite good.
Rear passengers are pampered. The ride height is high but not high enough to keep retirees and ladies with short skirts from feeling troubled. Three adults in the rear fit nicely with enough leg and knee room.
Safety features are plentiful like in the S-Class and with the added 4×4 system in place, this ML offers great stability even under fast driving.
The V6 engine delivers 275bhp and 350Nm of torque. This provides good highway cruising and brisk in town driving experience.
If you check Mudah Auto, you will see dozens of units for sale and they range from this early second generation model at RM33,000 to the facelift model in 2010 which is selling from RM63,000 and then you have the third generation which Mercedes-Benz Malaysia imported in and sold new at RM550k. Today, this third generation model sells from RM130,000 (some 75 percent depreciation) and carries the updated V6 CGI engine that delivers 3bhp more and 25Nm extra torque.
However, we still suggest you look at the second generation facelift ML instead (around RM65k to RM85k) as the difference in looks and engine performance is small and yet the asking price is almost half of the used third generation model. Between the base model (RM33k) and the AMG Sport Package (RM66k) there are a lot of extras you will get.
First, the revised front look with the added fog lights on the front bumper. Second, the AMG 21-inch wheels. Third, the Benz side steps. Fourth, the slightly flared fenders. Fifth, the AMG badge alone adds value when you arrive, anywhere.
So, what are the issues with a used ML350? There have been several reported issues with Mercedes-Benz when it comes its air-matic, which is its air suspension system. Easy to fix, but not cheap.
This is a 4×4 so check all ball joints, front control arm and its suspension components as most first owners will be flying over speed bumps and pot-holes.
Check for rust spots in the rear tail-gate. A common issue, especially is the rear water drainage is blocked by leaves and dirt over the years. It is a high vehicle and many owners never check the top edges of their SUV’s for clogged water outlets.
Mercedes SUV’s come with oil-filled engine mounts and they need to be checked and topped up with oil every 100,000 to 150,000 kilometers. First and second owners might have neglected this.
The rest is pretty straight forward Mercedes maintenance and a trusted Mercedes workshop mechanic is all you need.
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