Mercedes’ Secret Test Drive in Montana

Aaron Flint posted on July 19, 2011 22:17 :: 1006 Views

Word on the street a couple months ago was that top Mercedes Benz executives would be test driving their vehicles in the mountains of Western Montana this summer, likely near the Paws Up Ranch near Seeley Lake.  

Highway 279 it is, according to this report by Erin Riches with Edmunds Inside Line, who attended a manufacturer sponsored event along with a select group of reporters.  

Here’s an excerpt from her piece:

Driving in Montana changes you, and after just a day here, we have no desire to be in anything smaller, lighter or less comfortable than the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350.

Everything about this state is huge, whether you’re talking about mountains, glaciers or total square mileage. You’ll never really get anywhere unless you’re moving quickly, even if that means pounding down an old, twisty two-lane road at 70 mph (the posted limit even on obscure routes like state highway 279).

Although smooth, the direct-injected V6 doesn’t feel anywhere as potent in the nearly 5,000-pound ML as it does in the C-Class. Its best power comes at higher rpm, and when we step out to pass on Highway 200, we wish for more low-end grunt. Of course, there’s a difference in elevation between Montana and Spain (where we drove the 2012 C350), so we’ll wait until we test the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 in Southern California before we get any more opinionated. Mercedes predicts a 7.3-second 0-60-mph time, which is over a half-second quicker than the old ML350.

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