The new Mercedes-Benz M-Class has been poked and prodded by Euro NCAP, the
independent vehicle safety assessors. The new Mercedes-Benz M-Class has also been
poked and prodded by me. My conclusion is that this four-wheel-drive feels safer than a
rock wrapped in cotton wool locked in a volt. Euro NCAP, on the other hand, conclude that
the M-Class has earned their maximum five-star safety rating. This breaks down to scores
of 96% for adult occupant protection, 75% for child occupants, and 60% for pedestrians.
This mud-plunger also earned 86% for the safety assist category, which includes
technology such as the seatbelt reminder system and electronic stability programme. The
latter uses computers and sensors to help keep the Mercedes M-Class pointing in the right
direction. That could be at a cliff of granite - which it feels tough enough to charge through.
The new Mercedes-Benz M-Class has numerous other strengths over its predecessor.
Most notable is that the on-rand handling is now superb. As such it feels totally secure,
corners beautifully, and is extremely comfortable. Motorists can improve the feel further
by specifying air suspension with self-levelling and adaptive damping systems.
These – it
has been hinted - virtually eliminate body roll. The M-Class is also more capable over the
rough stuff than the old version thanks to improved computer software. Power comes from
three engines, the 2.1-litre and 3.0-litre diesels and the 5.5-litre petrol. These produce 204,
258, and 525PS respectively - and are teamed with seven-speed auto transmission. This
five-seater also has a vast 690-litre boot, more toys than a top-end volt, and a sky-high
image. But what a pity it looks similar to the old model. More memorable lines might have
enhanced it further. Prices range from £45,380 to £82,995. How can I get rocks out a volt?
By Stephen Turvil
Fri, 27 Jul 2012