The Mercedes ML-Class/GLE-Class is the mid-size executive premium family SUV first introduced in 1997. The last ML was made in 2015, after which Mercedes decided to rename the ML and gave it the name GLE. Mercedes didn’t really create an all-new model for the first generation GLE, it was only a mildly refreshed version of the last-gen ML.
The ML350 is the most popular ML model and is the entry-level model as well. The first generation of the ML350 uses a 3.8L V6 with 235hp, the second generation ML350 uses a 3.5L V6 with 272hp, and the third-gen ML350 uses a 3.5L V6 with 306hp. When it comes to reliability, there are a fair bit of differences between the different model years we are going to present in this article.
The best 1st generation ML350 is the 2005 ML350 because it is one of the most reliable W163 ML models. The best 2nd generation ML350 is the 2010 ML350 for the very same reasons. The best 3rd generation ML350 is the 2015 model because it is the very latest and best ML350 model of all time.
We can all see that the best ML350 models are the very latest ones from each generation. This is because Mercedes has managed to solve several issues that plagued early build models, and constantly upgrade them to make them the most reliable and packed with the latest features.
2005 W163 Mercedes ML350
The 2005 ML350 is the very latest W163 ML350 to leave the factory. This means that these models are at the very top echelon when it comes to dependability and overall W163 condition. The W163 ML350 uses a 3.8L V6 with 235hp, an AWD 4MATIC drivetrain, and a 5-speed automatic gearbox.
When the W163 was first revealed, it experienced a bunch of issues with almost all essential components such as the engine, the transmission, and the AWD drive system. However, Mercedes was quick to implement many solutions throughout the lifespan of the W163 which made the latest W163 models a lot better than previous ones.
The W163 is the oldest Mercedes ML model and one of the very first luxury SUVs to ever exist. Most people would agree that the W163 is not really an everyday type of car and it definitely shows. All in all, if you do want a W163 ML350, be sure to get yourself one of the latest 2005 models as they are the best W163 ML350 models.
2010 W164 Mercedes ML350
The W164 ML might as well be the best-looking ML350 because it utilized a beefier design approach. The 3.5L V6 now makes 272hp which is a hefty increase over the W163. The W164 also got a state-of-the-art 7-speed automatic gearbox which is also a huge upgrade over the W163. 4MATIC also comes as standard which makes the W164 a huge upgrade over the W163.
When it comes to reliability, the W164 is all over the place which means that some models are way better than others. The ML350 was, and still is the staple W164 ML model which means that it is the most popular and most sought after. However, if you are interested in buying a W164 ML350, always go for the 2010-2011 models.
These are the most dependable, newest, and likely in the best condition. They hold their value better and the very best examples of these are priced similarly even to the W166 ML-Class. All in all, the facelift certainly did wonders to the W164 when it comes to reliability which means that post-facelift models are a must.
2015 W166 Mercedes ML350
The last W166 ML is the most popular ML model out of them all, both because it is the newest, and because it is the best ML overall. The W166 has its upside and downsides, but early W166 models are by far the worst of them all.
If you want the best, and the newest ML350 ever to be built, you should go for the 2015 ML350 BlueEfficiency model. The 2015 W166 ML350 comes with a 3.5L V6, a 7-speed automatic gearbox, 4MATIC AWD, and a fairly upmarket cabin that still oozes quality and refinement.
The W166 shares the same fate as the two previous ML350 models which means that later models are by far the better options to choose from. They are more reliable, better built, come with newer features, and retain their value a lot better. Given the fact that the 2015 ML350 is forever going to be the newest ML model, it is going to retain its value well.
Is the Mercedes ML350 a good car?
The Mercedes ML350 is a luxury mid-size family SUV which means that it balances luxury, comfort, and utility. The very first generation ML models are not all that reliable nor desirable because they are outdated lacking many essential 21st century features. The 2nd generation ML is a bit better but is still an old car.
The latest W166 ML350 is the one to get as it is not that much more expensive than a well-kept W164 but offers a lot more in the process. W166 ML350 AMG models with the right equipment are by far the most popular ML350 models you can get, so be sure to consider them.
Is the Mercedes ML350 an off-road car?
As mentioned previously, the ML350 was intended to be a luxury family SUV which means that it is not made to be an off-roader. This does not mean that the ML is unable to do some off-roading because it is available with adjustable air suspension, a low-range gearbox, hill descent mode, and some additional off-road features.
No one buys the ML to take it off-roading and Mercedes knows this. That is why they did whatever they can do to make it at home on the road, and not in the mud.
Are Mercedes ML350 models expensive to maintain?
Yes, they are, but not any more than any other luxury mid-size SUV. You know what they say, it comes with the territory. A luxury SUV is a large luxury 4×4 packed with lots of technology and safety features that are complex in nature and do need constant maintenance.
The tires for example are large and specifically designed for a luxury SUV which makes them expensive. These SUVs are heavy which means that they drink a lot of fuel and the insurance costs are also high because repair costs are also pricey.