To all you people who think the M-Class isnt worth
Respected four-wheel-drive magazine 4X4 Australia has rated the Mercedes-Benz M-Class luxury off-roader one of the best four-wheel-drives of 2001.
Updated in 2001 with a new V8 engine and electronic traction control system, revised interior and exterior styling and a more luxurious standard equipment package, the ML 500 outclassed more than twenty contenders in the magzine&#146;s coveted 4X4 Of The Year awards.
The judges were so impressed with ML 500, it was ranked ahead of most finalists including the 3rd placed Toyota 78 Series LandCruiser RV cab chassis, 4th placed Ford F250 XLT single cab V8, 5th placed Jeep Cherokee Sport, and 6th placed Mazda Tribute classic.
Only the new Nissan Patrol ST 4.8 &#150; awarded 4X4 Of The Year - managed to outperform the ML 500.
"The Merc pulled off one of the big surprises of the whole week&#146;s testing &#150; if not the biggest surprise of all," said 4X4 Of The Year judges.
"If you weren&#146;t there to see it, you&#146;d scarcely believe how well the ML 500 performed throughout our off-road testing procedures.
"Sure it&#146;s expensive, but compared to a number of other luxury vehicles the V8 Benz represents good value for money.
"On the road loop the Merc had been a delight and now it was showing what a beast it could be in the scrub.
"Once you got over the thought that you were crashing around the bush in $100K worth of fine motor car, you began to wonder where the Merc would finally be stopped.
"Its low ratio, traction control and [4ETS] hill descent control were just wonderful, making up for a lack of wheel travel in those places where it hung a few wheels in the air.
"If it didn&#146;t have near solid mudflaps [fitted] we would have pushed it even harder, and as it was testers ran out of nerve before the V8 Benz did," said 4X4 Australia.
All 23 contenders were tested on a combination of on and off road surfaces after which judges narrowed down the field to six finalists.
The six finalists were considered to be the best 4X4 offerings in 2001.
The ML 500 was ranked second overall and performed well against the set of five criteria: value (2nd); breaking ground (1st); built tuff (3rd); doing the job (2nd); and bushability (4th).
"Making it into the final six is a great feat considering we started out with 23 vehicles that had all gone on sale in 2001 calendar year," said 4X4 Australia.
"Not only did the finalists have to perform well on an extensive road loop, but they were also subjected to worsening off-road conditions that saw many fancied contenders culled from the pack.
"In addition, the final six vehicles obviously had to have a realistic chance of taking out the 4X4 Of The Year awards," said 4X4 Australia.