In business, you have to be at the right place at the right time to catch the waves of product popularity that can mean windfall profits, and in the later 90s, Mercedes-Benz did just that. It introduced the 1997 Mercedes-Benz M-Class at just the right time for maximum exposure and sales. At the time, most SUVs were still based on truck chassis, meaning that they generally handled quite poorly. The M-Class changed everything, by offering a design, chassis and suspension that altough were quite capable of off-roading, were superb. This allowed Mercedes-Benz to immediately grab a huge market share.
The original M-Class, the ML320, was was powered by a 3.2-liter V6, with 3 valves per cylinder. It developed a more than respectable 215 horsepower and plenty of torque, driving all four wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. In terms of performance, it could reach a top speed (artificially limited) of 112 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 in 9.3 seconds.
With its advanced suspension, all-wheel disc brakes with ABS and excellent sub-frames chassis, the 1997 Mercedes-Benz M-Class offered all the excitement of driving a nice car with the convenience of an SUV. It was assembled in Daimler’s USA factory in Alabama, and was able to be offered at a price which guaranteed sales, increasing its appeal even further.