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Third-gen Mercedes-Benz M-Class: SUV with style

Mercedes-Benz M-Class promises better fuel economy and improved performance. Two models, ML350 4MATIC and ML350 BlueTEC, will debut in September.

All-new 2012MY M-Class.
All-new 2012 M-Class. Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 2012 M-Class luxury SUV, the newly redesigned M-Class that offers 25 percent better fuel economy than its predecessor.

The German auto-maker is hoping to gain a lead on its rival, BMW's X5 SUV, by offering two V6 engines: the ML350 4MATIC and the ML350 BlueTEC.

The ML350 BlueTEC uses a new 3.0-liter turbodiesel, delivering an output of 240 horsepower and 455 pound feet of torque. The ML350 BlueTEC has an estimated fuel consumption of 20 city and 25 highway.

The 4MATIC runs in a 3.5-liter gas engine, delivering 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The permanent all-wheel drive 4MATIC has an estimated 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, which is quite a difference compared to the previous generation's 15 city and 20 highway rating.

Both engines offer a seven-speed automatic transmission and loads of safety and cabin creature comforts.

Three colors are available for the interior of the new M-Class: black, almond beige, and gray. There is also an optional Sport Interior package, and the combination of Dinamica microfiber and black M-B TEX manmade leather, or premium leather and black two-tone leather.

Off-road capability is available at the touch of a button, and there is an optional off-road package as well.