The all-new Mercedes M-Class is due to be unveiled at the forthcoming Detroit Motor Show in January.
However, DaimlerChrysler South Africa spokesperson told Wheels24 that the new M-Class will only go on sale in October/November 2005.
Three of the four engines available for the 2005 model are new and outstrip the output and torque of the power units for the outgoing model to the tune of up to 38%.
ML 320 CDI (Diesel)
The V6 diesel engine with third-generation common-rail direct injection, which takes the place of the outgoing five-cylinder in-line unit in the range, delivers 165 kW and places a maximum of 510 Nm of torque on tap from 1600 r/min.
ML 280 CDI (Diesel)
Also on hand to offer the twin benefits of six-cylinder comfort and dynamism is the new ML 280 CDI, serving up 140 kW and a peak torque of 440 Nm.
ML 350 (Petrol)
Another new arrival is the 3.7-litre V6 petrol unit powering the ML 350. It develops 200 kW and maximum torque is 350 Nm.
ML 500 (Petrol)
The ML 500 V8 now delivers 225 kW
Merc's new seven-speed automatic transmission, 7G-TRONIC, is fitted as standard in all variants of the new M-Class.
Intelligent shift management allows the transmission to make optimum use of the engine's enviable reserves of power, whilst it also have fuel consumption benefits.
7G-TRONIC can now be operated electronically using a selector level positioned close to the steering wheel, technology which Mercedes-Benz has christened DIRECT SELECT.
Additional steering-wheel gearshift buttons, meanwhile, enable the driver to glide manually through the seven gears.
Mercedes-Benz has taken the permanent four-wheel drive and 4ETS traction systems to the next level by incorporating additional functions such as a downhill driving aid, Start-off Assist and the off-road ABS system.
The M-Class can be ordered with two different variants of the four-wheel drive system, allowing it to meet the varying requirements of off-road drivers: a new off-road package is available as an optional extra, allowing the M-Class to master even the toughest routes across rough terrain.
Among its primary features are a two-speed transfer case with an off-road ratio, manually or automatically selectable differential locks (100%) between the front and rear axle and on the rear axle, and a modified version of the AIRMATIC air suspension system tailored to off-road driving, which raises ground clearance by 110 mm to as much as 291 mm and the vehicle's fording depth to a maximum of 600 mm.
The air suspension also significantly increases ride comfort, which is why Mercedes-Benz offers a road-tweaked version of this technology as an option (not as part of the off-road package).
AIRMATIC teams up as standard with the Adaptive Damping System (ADS), which adjusts the responses of the shock absorbers to the situation in hand, to open the door to a new dimension in driving dynamics and ride comfort.
The new M-Class is also fitted with re-developed front and rear suspension. The double-wishbone front suspension makes a significant contribution to minimising road roar and tyre vibration and ensures impressive driving dynamics with its raised aluminium wishbones. The rear axle, meanwhile, has four-link suspension.
Standard-fitted light-alloy wheels and wide 235/65 R 7 (V6 models) or 255/55 R 18 (V8 model) tyres reinforce the sporting pedigree of the new M-Class.