Mercedes goal was not to replace the G-Class but add something that was in between. With the goal of breaking into the Compact SUV arena Mercedes gave birth to the ML-Class. We know it today as the GLE-Class. Beside breaking into a new market Mercedes also wanted the new ML to be built in North America. A decision that could make or break the Mercedes line. Happen to know a friend or family member who owns a ML-Class Mercedes? Send them over to eManualOnline and check out the Mercedes ML Workshop Manual.
Mercedes joined with Mitsubishi motors with the goal of creating Mercedes first Compact SUV. With plans to use the Mitsubishi Montero has a rebadged Mercedes-Benz. Mitsubishi ended up walking out on the idea due to “Technical Problems” Leaving Mercedes to buckle up their boot straps and bring the challenge in house.
With all plants booked with current models such as the C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class. Mercedes set out to build a new plant. In september 1993 Mercedes decided upon Alabama after paying a $250 Million subsidy pack.
In 1997 Mercedes launched the first Mercedes ML-Class featuring the first ever electronic stability control found on a SUV. Born standard with a 4matic four wheel drive system. A Borg Warner 4409 transferred the power to the four wheels. Powering the first ML-Class was 3.2 liter V6 giving us the ML320. By 1998 a ML430 was released using a 4.3 liter V8, following the debut of a ML55 AMG powered by a 5.4 liter V8.
The ML320 was a immediate hit winning the 1998 Motor Trend Truck of the Year and the 1998 North American Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show. Followed by a World Car Award.
Even though it did win various awards, the public noticed the poor build quality of the first ML which was widely witnessed on a 1998 Top Gear episode when Jeremy Clarkson fits his fingers between the bumper and body gap.
Over the years the ML grew into the Mercedes GLE we all know and trust. With excellent build quality, modern safety equipment, and always new updated tech designed with the driver in mind. The Mercedes ML-Class will always be the pioneer of what started the wave of Compact Sport Utility Vehicle. Today it is ever so easy to get your hands a Mercedes ML Repair Manual from eManualOnline.