Owners Review: 2013 Mercedes ML 350

Part 1 – Buying at Dubai Motor Show and waiting for delivery

Owner/Reviewer: Nadine Karaa
Model: 2013 Mercedes ML350 or ML500
Purchased: Deposit paid for first choice on cars delivered March 2012
Price: AED 280,000 for ML350 with options ($76,100) or AED 340,000 ($92,400) for ML500 with options
Where: Dubai Motor Show, UAE

Nadine checked out the new Mercedes at last month’s Dubai Motor Show and decided to buy one – here’s the first part of her story…

By Nadine Karaa

It is opening night at the 2011 Dubai Motor Show and for all car enthusiasts, you cannot help yourself devouring the floor of two exhibition halls filled with the world’s best supercars, supped-up turbo engines and let’s say it, sexy stylish mean machines.

My mission is to meet my destiny, for I am on the lookout for a luxury SUV due to the recent addition to our family. The motor show offers the perfect pit stop for any new mothers who do not necessarily wants to travel the city to see the numerous dealerships.

With a checkbook in hand and an inquisitive eye on the motoring world, I’m ready to get the most squeeze out of sales representatives, particularly wanting to know what are the features, how much and when the next generation models are arriving in UAE…

A quest to buy the latest luxury SUV

All mothers caring for children seek comfort, safety and reliability, which are key Ingredients and standard requirements to meet today’s family needs.

But let’s not forget what is important to a fashionista such as myself; I also want a nice looking ride…

Even though the Porsche Cayenne has great “sportabilities”, the Lexus RX350 is luxuriously reliable, the BMW X5 is a great third choice, the fortuneteller tells me it’s the 125th year of Mercedes and I can foretell great expectation.

At last, Mercedes Dubai is introducing the newly re-design ML by Mercedes-Benz. Since the Daimler-Benz’s divorce, I want to meet face to face with the oldest car manufacturer, to admire and capture Germany’s innovation and I am in for a treat, without the popcorn.

Absorbing that new car smell

Built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, it was officially launched last June in Europe and USA. As I am gearing up to meet and mount this 3.5 liter V6, 302bhp machine, careless how busy this SUV is going to be at the show, I’m going to sit in for as long I need to absorb the new car smell. After all, I’ve been dealing with camouflage and spy pictures for a few years.

Facing the ML350, I notice the masculine skirt of AMG’s bodykit, well tailored to the new model. As my hand glides along the deep groove on the side panels, feeling its sculpted muscles, the new design changes are sophisticated & subtle. Why mess with Mercedes top selling vehicle? Good thinking MB!

It’s a ‘He’ not a ‘She’

What are my first impressions? I like it, a lot! Most of us like to “genderize” our cars as a “HE” or “SHE”, this vehicle is definitely a “HE”, robust & masculine. On the other hand, I would of love to see more modern curves on the body and larger front Bi-Xenon daytime running LED lights because the current size are not in proportion with the three-pointed star and large front grill. Then again, it’s a minor, unnoticeable detail.

As I am walking, screening towards its rear, I notice the taillights are synonymous of the E-class. The 19” wheels are passable but 20” would of match the AMG body kit better. In all, the exterior design is lovely, your classic Mercedes line as previous two seasons.

Five-star interior

Let’s greet the interior… Wow, 5 stars! Let me affirm to you, what a pleasurable difference in comparison to the previous models. This showpiece had the optional custom Designo seating with soft white Nappa leather and black cross-stitch & piping. Obviously, the Germans are proud and happy to get rid of the American plasticized ingredients and have reintroduced the true German essence originally known for, its quality in detail finishing.

The craftsmanship is unmistakable and it is beautiful! Far from the disjointed and plastic feel during the Daimler days, the new styling and assemblage are flowing smoothly in synergy.

This revamped interior is well appointed with refined leather grain, stitched dashboard, exotic wood, three mood lighting, Harmon/Kardon Logic7 surround sound, Navigation HDD System at eye level that is squared off with vents, panoramic sunroof, built in rear entertainment system, nine airbags, etc, & great cargo space, whopping 36 cu ft and 71 cu ft once rear seats are down!

Interestingly, there are two-cup holders, which can keep your coffee warm or your water cool while driving due to a built-in heating/cooling system. With keyless entry and go, I’m anxious to test drive its full potential, assessing the advance technological sensors such as rear view camera & active lane assist, etc.

Meet the mighty motors

The true callings is feeling the engines vibration under my right foot, hearing it roar or murmur at me and max out the pedal’s capabilities with its 7G Tronic seven-speed transmission. Read my upcoming test drive & technical features description in Part 2, upon the ML delivery…

This mid size SUV, comes in five engine models, three gasoline and two diesel engine: ML350, a 3.5-liter V6, ML500, a 4.6-liter V8, ML63, a 5.5-liter V8, as well as a 2.1-liter diesel engine, and 3.0-liter diesel engine.

UAE is to receive the 2013 model during the first quarter of 2012 according the German representative present at the auto show. The AMG ML63 will join around midyear of 2012 also in a 2013 model guise.

Going for it – can’t wait!

The sales teams of Gargash are definitely busy with the volume of enquiries and crowds. So, hopping from car to car, and sales staff to the next one, all went well and most questions are answered. As I’m cruising through dealerships with a lady friend, it is hard to get the staff’s attention. I must admit, there is a lot of testosterone present and so as a woman, you are easily left alone to truly enjoy the show. However, once I grab hold of someone’s attention, it did not take long for the representative to realize that I knew more than they bargained for.

Overall, the four-day event was spectacular, and I’ve enjoyed myself there for two full days!

On the last day of the Auto Show, I’m confident in my choice and I’ve decided to put a deposit down for the ML, and glad to have done so and the sales staffs are very professional.

The purchase is kind of a pre-order and with fully loaded options (including leather trim, wood-rimmed steering wheel, sport pack, driving assist pack, I will either go for a ML350 at AED280,000 or an ML500 for AED340k. I’ve put a deposit of AED10,000 to have priority at the pickings and the first deliveries are expected around March 2012.

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