Fleet News

M-class update denied

MERCEDES-BENZ has denied it is planning to give its new M-class off-roader - launched on September 4 - a more upmarket cabin in a bid to outclass BMW's X5 Sports Activity Vehicle before it goes on sale at the end of next year. There is European press speculation that Mercedes bosses ordered an upgrade after the American-built M-class came in for criticism for the quality of the plastics used in the interior.

Now a German car magazine says the M-class will receive a makeover when production is switched from Alabama to the Steyr-Daimler-Puch facility in Austria next October. But a Mercedes-Benz UK spokesman dismissed the claims, saying: 'It's only just gone on sale, and there are no changes planned.'

Seen here as a rival to the Land Rover Discovery and the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the M-class costs from £32,780. About 800 are expected to have been delivered to UK customers by the end of this year, and another 5,000 are due in 1999. The BMW X5 is to make its world debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January and will go on sale in Europe in October. UK sales are likely to start in the first half of 2000, with prices from about £30,000.

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