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Friday, Oct 20, 2017
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ML550 has the heart of a truck and the soul of a luxury car

Mercedes-Benz refers to its ML-class as having the heart of a truck in a luxury vehicle. It certainly has the capability to haul nearly anything found in the house, including the kitchen sink. SUVs, particularly ones with a Mercedes-Benz star on the front, are so far removed from trucks that most owners call them cars. The newly introduced ML550 makes the demarcation even more evident with its road-handling performance. It plays the part well with styling cues borrowed from AMG.
Here is a vehicle that fits into the SUV segment but handles more like a sports sedan. The suspension is engineered to soak up highway imperfections while in the next moment spiritedly handling the tight curves of a country road. Giving the ML550 the acceleration and response of a sports sedan is a new more powerful V-8 engine. Beyond the superb smoothness of this engine, it is extremely capable of producing 382 horsepower. More importantly, the DOHC V-8 spreads its peak torque of 391 pounds-feet across a wide rpm range, which equates to strong capability at nearly any speed. Punch the throttle while cruising to pass a slower vehicle and the ML550 jumps to the occasion, quickly getting up to speed and around the rolling road block in front. Such stuff excites drivers.
As can be expected from Mercedes-Benz, the ML550 offers top-notch interior accommodations. Seating is luxurious with leather wrappings that warm the body and cradle it with support. Leather and wood trim are tastefully arranged and functional to the touch. The new iteration of the ML, particularly the ML550, is so much more that those who have owned earlier versions owe it to themselves to take a test drive. With its smooth handling and impressive abilities, the ML550 is proof that Mercedes-Benz has raised the bar on itself and the SUV marketplace.

Ron Moorhead, a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, can be reached at ronmoorhead@hotmail.com.

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