Roadshow Video Reviews
2008 Mercedes-Benz ML550The 2008 Mercedes-Benz ML550 is a brawny, midsize SUV with some admirable on- and off-road performance capabilities. But its optional--and expensive--cabin technology lets it down.
>> Oh God no. Not another one. I'm so sick of overloaded Tech luxury sport utility vehicles. But you're still buying them so let's check the Tech in the impressive Mercedes ML 550. ^M00:00:13 [ Music ] ^M00:00:17 >> Now aside from my cranky boredom with overwrought SUV's, this one's pretty darn nice and luckily they shipped us a loaded one so I can show you the toys. Let's start here in the center. Here's a little jog stick like you find on laptop; this one is pretty robust, it's a fairly good size, it's well-sprung so if you like that kind of thing it'll work. Here's where the discs all live, make the little power motor screen go down and there's a CD slot there, single CD slot because it's got a NAV unit and then of course above there is the DVD slot for DVD navigation. So you say Uncle Brian where do the rest of my discs go; well those go over here in the glove box; there's the six disc changer that is optional and that's where you're gonna wanna load up if you get the navigation. Now our vehicle also has the very desirable iPod connector--it's this kind of horsey black cable that comes out of here when you get that option, and of course you get the usual iPod interface so you have power, audio and logic control all through the car. Now let's check out the map quality--that's key when you get an auxiliary navigation system. This is about on par with the fonts and the menus we saw earlier, it's kind of a jaggy thing, has a hard time with the labels of streets on the diagonal there; not unreadable just not quickly digestible. Now for the back seat passengers; there are two options for rear seat entertainment. One is this really crappy flip-up screen that would go kind of as a Siamese on the back of the console; our car has the better system--dual nicely faired in headrest video monitors, and of course that also allows you to aux in a portable. Now here's where the ML 550 makes me really mad. Hands free is done through this annoying Mercedes cradle; they just won't let go of this thing. So you've gotta dock a phone here physically and you've gotta get a connector for that. Now the climate control in this car is very sophisticated, bordering on complicated to be quite honest because you've got a rear zone in our car so that's why I have some indications here of the rear status as well as left and right. Now drop below that and we've got a whole strip of buttons here for suspension and drive train. Here's a sports comfy or normal toggle in terms of the actual dampening nature. Next to that is ESP our overall suspension programming; here's downhill speed regulation so you can do a nice creep down a rocky hillside; we've also got a vehicle height regulator right here to raise and lower. Now up here in the engine room we've got a 5 and one half aluminum V8, 24 valves, 2 sparks per cylinder, multi-port direct fuel injection, 382 horsepower, 391 foot pounds; a real stump puller and smooth too. It's a lot of Mercedes best tricks rolled into one. Let's price this big luxo brut, 5032 is your base for an ML 550 then the option sheet drags on like the Rose Parade. I'm not gonna kill you with the details but here are a few highlights. For 3650 you're probably gonna want Premium Package 1. That gives you DVD NAV, that upgraded Harman Kardon Audio System, the hands free technology and the rear view camera. It's a nice package. Some ala cart options of note would include the rear seat entertainment systems, the one with the two screens that goes in the head rests, that's the one you want, 2670 I think; 1250 for the cheapo that mounts in the console; skip that or just don't buy the car at all; iPod adapter is about 375, the six disc changer in the glove box about 500 and it goes on and on and on. ^M00:03:32 [ Music ] ^M00:03:38