When it arrives in British showrooms, the M-class will offer a choice of Mercedes' latest-generation all-aluminium petrol engines under its dramatically sweeping bonnet. The lead-in model will feature a 3.2-litre V6, but there will also be a 4.3-litre V8 and a five-cylinder, direct-injection diesel should be available by the end of the year.
All versions will come with 'smart' five-speed automatic transmission capable of identifying corners and other situations likely to affect traction and alter shift patterns to maximise road grip. The high-tech model also uses electronic traction control to replace traditional differential locks to check wheelspin and is said to allow the car to continue making progress even if three of its wheels lose traction.
Designed to be more affordable, the range will also boast front and side airbags and a plastic fuel tank which is designed so that the filler tube breaks away in an accident without damaging the tank.