Mercedes-Benz M-Class tyres
The original M-Class was launched by Mercedes-Benz in 1998. Sadly the first versions of this car were as much about ‘off the road’ as ‘off road’, with many early models finding their habitat in the garage for repair instead of in fields and mud. Problems with suspension, brakes and electrics meant that the M-Class would languish at the very bottom of consumer surveys for reliability.
These problems were largely ironed out by the time the second generation of the M-Class came to the market in 2011. This was a totally improved car offering luxury on the road and – unlike many modern 4x4s – excellence off it, as you might expect from the makers of the original G-Wagen. The modern M-Class is a truly international car, built in the USA, India and Indonesia and popular worldwide.
The M-Class would pave the way for many other luxury 4×4 cars, among them the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5. It has been used both in Jurassic Park and as a Popemobile. High levels of both torque and power mean it is an excellent towing vehicle, even if an unwanted consequence of that is rather too many appearances for comfort on TV’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding…
Refinement, practicality and on-road comfort are a common feature of the modern M-Class range (above). It features three trim packages which include different wheel sizes and suspension settings for varying amounts of off-road use. Interestingly, each model is titled ‘ML’ rather than ‘M’ due to BMW having legal and commercial rights to the ‘M’ title for cars.
Several tyre types have been used as factory-fitted original equipment by Mercedes-Benz for the M-Class. In common with many tyres for 4×4 vehicles, key to these is each tyre’s design in terms of on-road and off-road use. For a ML which spends little time in an off-road environment, Continental’s SportContact range has been a popular factory fitting. These tyres have been designed for use on powerful cars and SUVs and provide very high levels of grip, an important safety factor for a large car like the M-Class. Along with the same maker’s CrossContact range, these are etyres’ best-selling tyres for these cars. Both are particularly popular in Mercedes-approved (‘MO’-marked) fittings.
Pirelli’s P Zero Rosso tyres are another range available in SUV formats and in ‘MO’ versions. These combine performance and comfort for larger vehicles and are a summer tyre for on-road use. These have proved a popular choice for ML vehicles, as has Michelin’s Latitude range. In common with the Continental ranges above, neither of these is the cheapest option but will offer the durability these cars demand. Critically, each of these options is known to be very forgiving in corners and at speed. This comes from their high levels of grip, meaning that they instil driver confidence and offer increased safety on both wet and dry roads.
Other replacement options worth considering for the M-Class include Bridgestone’s Dueler and Turanza tyres as well as the Proxes range from Toyo. As with all 4×4 vehicles, if your M-Class is used occasionally or frequently in an off-road environment then this should be reflected in tyre choice. Even if you have the leg muscles of a prop forward, you wouldn’t turn up at the Glastonbury festival in tennis shoes. Expecting high levels of grip in mud from tyres designed solely for on-road use represents exactly the same thing!