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2012 Mercedes-Benz ML550 4Matic (photos)

The ML550 features strong acceleration and surprising agility, but is saddled with a cabin tech package that's due for a refresh.

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Antuan Goodwin
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Mercedes-Benz's ML550 sits second from the top of the M-Class of SUVs, just below the ML63 AMG.
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Leather seating surfaces are a $1,620 option.
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The rear seats recline, slide, and fold flat.
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Power seats are standard, but the three-position memory settings are part of a $3,600 package.
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The Mercedes' cabin is quiet and isolating, surrounding the driver and passengers with quality materials.
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The driver is presented with a legion of buttons, but for the most part the Comand interface doesn't overwhelm.
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A heated steering wheel is a $225 a la carte option.
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The directional pad on the left of the wheel controls the trip computer and small instrument cluster display.
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Audio, voice command, and phone controls can be found on the right side of the wheel.
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In the center of the instrument cluster is a small screen where trip, fuel economy, navigation, and vehicle options can be viewed.
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Mercedes-Benz's Attention Assist drowsiness monitoring system is standard, but the lane and blind-spot monitoring systems are a $850 option.
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The Comand controller is located on the center console and gives the driver control of the 7-inch main display.
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There are also shortcut keys to a number of functions in the Comand interface.
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The Comand navigation system's maps can be simple, like this, or tarted up with topographic information and 3D buildings.
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Sometimes the Comand interface can be a bit confusing and there is often a lot of text to read while driving.
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SiriusXM provides traffic data for the navigation system.
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The satellite radio service is also the provider of weather data, which can be viewed on this radar map.
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More traditional forecast data can be viewed as well.
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When listening to USB or iPod audio, album artwork is displayed.
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Pretty much any mainstream portable audio source that you can think of is accessible via the Comand interface.
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When paired with a Bluetooth phone, the Comand system gives drivers access to voice-activated dialing.
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There are a number of neat options to be found scattered about the Mercedes-Benz ML550's interface.
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The M-Class offers a good deal of rear storage space, even with the rear seats in their upright position.
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The technology package features a rearview camera, but the light steering, great rearward visibility, and tight turning radius makes it easy to park even without the camera.
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The ML550 features Mercedes-Benz's 4Matic all-wheel-drive system and an active-suspension system.
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Push the gas pedal and the ML550 will push back with strong, gentle acceleration.
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A 4.6-liter V-8 engine makes 402 horsepower thanks to a bi-turbo system.
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Fuel economy is estimated by the EPA at a combined 17 mpg. We averaged 16.2 during our testing.
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19-inch AMG wheels fill the wheel wells. Adaptive brakes feature a number of advanced features.
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Check out the full review of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML550 4Matic for more details.

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