The German automaker Mercedes-Benz showed a sober approach in becoming a global leader in car manufacturing with the introduction of the ML430 in 1998. The model was not only a success in the US market, but it was also hailed by experts for having an advanced stability control technology that allowed the car’s system to intervene with selective braking in order to keep the car on track, thus making for safer driving. The sport utility vehicle had a pre-release advertisement in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and from that celebrity status, the model received continuous improvements in power and style in its succeeding generations.
1997 – 2005: Introducing a stability control technology
The first models of the ML430 had a body-on-frame construction and could seat between five and seven passengers or even more if a third-row seat was selected as an option. A trailblazing technology that used an electronic stability control was programmed into the vehicle’s system; the technology could detect loss of control on the part of the driver and could immediately direct the vehicle back on track by intervening with selective braking. In addition to this safety feature, the models had impact airbags on the front and side with occupant detection for the front seats. The units were also endowed with power from an SOHC 24-valve 4.3-liter V8 engine, which produced 268-horsepower and 288-pound-feet of torque.
2006 – 2010: Using a single body-chassis construction
In the second-generation release, sportier and longer ML430 models were revealed. A significant reduction in aerodynamic drag was achieved, now only down to 0.34. Moreover, the vehicles were 150-mm longer than the previous ones. The models used a monocoque construction in which the chassis and body formed a single unit. The major update included the shift to a seven-speed automatic transmission, while the re-used feature was the 4Matic four-wheel drive, which had a center limited-slip differential and one-speed transfer case. The models were also more powerful by having a 510-horsepower and 465-pound-feet of torque. The units also received some minor exterior restyling of the headlights, mirrors, front grille, and front and rear bumpers.
2011 – present: Changing for more space and more power
The third-generation models became more spacious and more refined. In order to have an improved fuel economy, a 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission was used. Customers could also opt for upgrade features for easier and safer driving; these features included an adjustable-height air suspension, an Adaptive Cruise Control, and an Active Lane Departure Warning System. Also, the beauty of the models could be sported both on- and off-road. This package was available with some desirable features, including a two-speed dual powertrain, underbody skid plates, and a six-mode terrain driving program.