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ML400 vs ML550

 
Old 02-19-2015, 09:21 AM
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ML400 vs ML550

So I had my 2012 ML550 in yesterday for a Service A and my sales rep was nice enough to arrange a new 2015 ML400 tester for the day. Got my 550 checked in and they recommended a brake flush which I agreed to as its never been done. Also got a safety done as I am buying out my 550 at lease end in a few weeks.

Anyways walked over to the nice indoor service parking area and funny enough the ML400 had the same color combination I already have, diamond white with black interior. Same rims, running boards and looked identical to mine. Interior was similar but no real leather and the smell of MB Tex is just not the same (people still comment how great the leather in my car smells even after three years).

Pulled out of the dealership and headed off to my office. First thing I noticed about the 400 engine is the lack of low end torque. I don't know the specs but pants in the seat noticed a substantial difference. Once I hit an on-ramp to the highway and the engine was warmed up I nailed it and the power is certainly there but just not the same obviously. I think if I had never driven a 550 I would have been grinning and delighted with the acceleration. The engine also seems very smooth and a nice exhaust note (wish my 550 had more).

So end of the day I had really given it a workout. There are very few changes in the three years since my 2012 was produced and I will summarize below...
  • Information screen between the tach and speedo has been improved with some color and additional info. I do like the eco screen that rates your driving efficiency and think I would have that up all the time trying to hit 100% on all three bars
  • Eco button was on but since it was so cold it took quite a while to start functioning. Pretty seamless operation and I liked it.
  • No "Rest" button which I do use pretty frequently in the winter when making short stops to keep the interior warm. I don't know if they have discontinued this function?
  • Rear camera and surround view seems less functional! I ALWAYS back into parking spaces and I though the split screen was crowded and less detailed than my simple no surround view screen.
  • Airmatic on this 400 seemed to make a bigger difference than it does on mine. On flat highway stretches you could REALLY feel the vehicle moving up and down when I pressed the button. On mine its far more subtle and I can't really feel the up or down motion unless parked. I called the dealer and had them check the function of my airmatic and report came back working correctly
  • I like the gear selector indicator that shows what gear you are in and switches from D to M when you pull a gear lever to move into manual. Did NOT like that it automatically goes back to D very quickly while mine will stay in manual indefinitely once you are in it.
  • I really missed distronic cruise (not on this 400) and wouldn't go back to a car without it. I use it every day.
Pretty much the rest of the car is identical to mine so nothing to compare. I came home after picking up my 550 and sent an email to my sales rep thanking him for providing the loaner which confirmed my decision to buy out my 550. Absolutely nothing wrong with the 400 but you can't beat a biturbo V8 (unless its an AMG biturbo V8 ). I have a year of warranty left so this time next year I will decide whether to trade, buy extended warranty or take my chances on an off warranty vehicle but would likely buy the extended for 2 years.

Also happy my lease buy out is significantly lower than what I see similar ML550s are selling for (at least the retail asking prices are much higher than what I am paying). Its also a pretty rare model so I think depreciation will slow down now. Maybe the gas prices coming down recently is good for gas guzzling V8 values!

Last edited by 2012MLBlue; 02-19-2015 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:52 PM
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Great review there, thanks for sharing that!

I too am very disappointed with MB for dropping the 500/550 engine from the M-Class & also the E-Class. I haven't driven an ML400 yet, but after comparing an E400 to an E500 I'm probably not going to bother as it's just not in the same league at all. The E500 felt like a baby S-Class - nice & heavy in the front with that subtle V8 sound, a really beautiful car. The E400 not so - felt like just a larger C-Class basically. Amazing how changing an engine can change the whole characteristics of a car. Bad move from MB's point of view IMO. I'm not quite sure what they're trying to achieve by doing this. I believe it's to push us V8 lovers to spend more money and get into the AMG stuff. But for me they're too noisy, cost more to insure and service, not to mention purchase in the first place, and you can't get an ML63 with the ON & OFF Road Pack. I know the 550 has been unavailable in North America for a while now, but you can still order one here, but not for long I believe. The new updated ML in GLE form will only be available with the 400, 450 & 63 engines, plus the diesels 250 & 350.

I suspect my relationship with MB will cease when it comes to new car time for me as I always want to drive a V8 4WD. If I want to save money a Jeep Grand Cherokee is looking good (and buy something else with the savings) or a Toyota Landcruiser Sahara with that awesome turbo diesel V8, but I know I will miss MB's engineering and safety. I also don't understand why MB introduced a V8 diesel here in the last generation X164 GL-Class (GL450 CDI) but then dropped it with the new generation X166. This particular variant was never available in North Amercia though, I think only here in Aus and perhaps the Middle East (?) which always baffled me, as I thought it would sell well in America. Now it's not available anywhere across the MB range. Seems a bit silly to spend all that money on R&D for an engine that only lasted maybe 2 yearsl If they put that engine in the new GLE (GLE450 CDI?), they'll possibly get me interested in their product again!

So yeah, what you mentioned about hanging onto your ML550 for another year is interesting. I think I'll be doing the same for a few years more now as I just can't replace it. Only got 35,000kms after 2 years, so we'll see how we go. I normally change my vehicles before the factory warranty ceases, but this time perhaps not.

Thanks again for sharing!

Last edited by Benz Werd; 02-20-2015 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by AussieBenzLover View Post
Great review there, thanks for sharing that!

I too am very disappointed with MB for dropping the 500/550 engine from the M-Class & also the E-Class. I haven't driven an ML400 yet, but after comparing an E400 to an E500 I'm probably not going to bother as it's just not in the same league at all. The E500 felt like a baby S-Class - nice & heavy in the front with that subtle V8 sound, a really beautiful car. The E400 not so - felt like just a larger C-Class basically. Amazing how changing an engine can change the whole characteristics of a car. Bad move from MB's point of view IMO. I'm not quite sure what they're trying to achieve by doing this. I believe it's to push us V8 lovers to spend more money and get into the AMG stuff. But for me they're too noisy, cost more to insure and service, not to mention purchase in the first place, and you can't get an ML63 with the ON & OFF Road Pack. I know the 550 has been unavailable in North America for a while now, but you can still order one here, but not for long I believe. The new updated ML in GLE form will only be available with the 400, 450 & 63 engines, plus the diesels 250 & 350.

I suspect my relationship with MB will cease when it comes to new car time for me as I always want to drive a V8 4WD. If I want to save money a Jeep Grand Cherokee is looking good (and buy something else with the savings) or a Toyota Landcruiser Sahara with that awesome turbo diesel V8, but I know I will miss MB's engineering and safety. I also don't understand why MB introduced a V8 diesel here in the last generation X164 GL-Class (GL450 CDI) but then dropped it with the new generation X166. This particular variant was never available in North Amercia though, I think only here in Aus and perhaps the Middle East (?) which always baffled me, as I thought it would sell well in America. Now it's not available anywhere across the MB range. Seems a bit silly to spend all that money on R&D for an engine that only lasted maybe 2 yearsl If they put that engine in the new GLE (GLE450 CDI?), they'll possibly get me interested in their product again!

So yeah, what you mentioned about hanging onto your ML550 for another year is interesting. I think I'll be doing the same for a few years more now as I just can't replace it. Only got 35,000kms after 2 years, so we'll see how we go. I normally change my vehicles before the factory warranty ceases, but this time perhaps not.

Thanks again for sharing!
4 words "CAFE". They want to sell a lot of cars and they have to improve MPG. Their hands are tied.
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Old 02-25-2015, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry45RPM View Post
4 words "CAFE". They want to sell a lot of cars and they have to improve MPG. Their hands are tied.
I am thinking about the ML550 and being unable to replace my new 2015 which I just love. I've decided to replace it with an ML63 instead. I put an order in for the one I want, but I was told to expect MB Canada to take a year to get one allocated for me in diamond white.
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