The Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a mid-size luxury crossover, SUV produced by the German automaker Mercedes-Benz since 1997. Mercedes-Benz M-Class was renamed GLE-Class in 2015. The M-Class was also built by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, for the European market for a short time between 1999 and 2002. From late 2012, the M-Class was also assembled at new plants in India and Indonesia.
Mercedes-Benz launched the first generation W163 series M-Class on 19 February 1997 in the United States. It is a mid-sized body-on-frame SUV with seating for five or seven with an optional third-row seat. The M-Class was the first luxury SUV to feature electronic stability control, a system designed to detect loss of control and instantaneously intervene with selective braking to bring the vehicle back on its intended course. The Mercedes-Benz M-Class (W163) was available with permanent 4Matic four-wheel drive, which routed torque to all four wheels through all open front, centre, and rear differentials.
In 1999, development on a successor to the W163 began under the codename "W164" and spanned a period of 6 years. The W164 platform used for the new M-Class is shared with the new GL-Class and is a unibody type rather than the former (W163) body-on-frame used by the M-Class vehicles produced from 1998–2005. The X164 GL-Class, a longer seven-seater version of the W164 platform is also available.
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