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First Drive: Mercedes-Benz ML 350 CDI by Kahn. Image by Max Earey.

First Drive: Mercedes-Benz ML 350 CDI by Kahn
Brabus-chipped, Kahn modified ML creates a striking alternative to Kahnís more usual Range Rover conversions

 



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Reviews homepage -> A. Kahn Design reviews

| First Drive | Bradford, England | Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

The ML 350 in its current form might be on its way out, but this Kahn Design ML 350 with the Brabus D6 power chip, AMG styling and Kahn highlights arguably looks better than the forthcoming model. Assertive looks combine with decent economy in an attractive all-round package.

Key Facts

Pricing: £58,875
Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel
Transmission: seven-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: five-door SUV
Rivals: Range Rover Sport, BMW X5, Audi Q7
Top speed: 136mph
0-62mph: 8.1 seconds
Power: 268bhp
Torque: 435lb.ft

In the Metal: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

With AMG body styling and Kahn Design revisions the ML looks far sharper than the standard car. The crisp lines of the AMG body kit work well with Kahn's huge 22-inch RS-X Black Edition wheels and painted callipers, while the soft pearl white paintwork is eye-catching without being too over the top. It's the subtleties that really work though, such as the smoked front indicator lenses, the matt carbon finish on the grille and around the fog lamps.

It's not quite so subtle inside, with quilted red leather covering most of the contact surfaces. It's pleasingly soft in its feel though, and the finishing is very neat indeed.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

Lowered sports suspension and 22-inch wheels should result in a serious degradation in ride quality. What's surprising though is how composed the ML remains despite the changes. It's tauter, yet the ride isn't overly unsettled on nasty tarmac around town. There's less roll and pitch, the ML feeling lower on the road, but it's to the benefit of the steering, which delivers crisper response and a modicum of feel through the wheel's rim.

Merc's 3.0-litre turbodiesel is a cracking unit in whatever guise you spec it and the Brabus D6 kit only enhances that further. Greater torque and a boost in power from 231- to 268bhp improves responsiveness and pace, without any detrimental effect on economy and emissions. The seven-speed automatic gearbox is as smooth shifting as ever, the ML retaining its easy nature and effortlessness on the move. Refinement remains good, too.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

It's not really about the additional performance here, rather the sharper, more defined looks. The AMG styling, combined with Kahn's personalised touches, create a much smarter ML, without it being too extrovert. If the softer, less defined style of the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class doesn't excite you then Kahn's makeover of this outgoing car could really appeal. It's not cheap at £59,750 though, and nice as the interior leather feels we're not sure we'd have ours in red.

Worth Noting

Despite the boost in power there's no increase in fuel consumption or CO2 emissions, making the Brabus ECU a real win-win.

Summary

The Mercedes-Benz ML might now officially be on run-out, but if you're unconvinced by the forthcoming model's looks and want something with a bit more presence then this might be just the thing.


Kyle Fortune. Photography by Max Earey. - 26 Aug 2011









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2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.

2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.



2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Kahn Mercedes-Benz ML350 Powered By Brabus. Image by Max Earey.
 






 

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