The '06 ML model being shown on MBUSA has converted its console into a
cup holder & tray - the electric shifter moves to the column. The ML
also will have the new 3.5 L V-6 and seven speed transmission - just
like the '06 E Class.
When there are seven speeds to pick from one no longer knows if the box
is in 3rd or 4th, only that one wants to shift UP or DOWN!
It's a little "girlie" but in light of the seven speed box it makes
sense to me.
I read that the new S Class (that's S Klass for McBrue) will also have a
column mounted shifter for its seven speed transmission.
What do you guys think about a column mounted shifter in a SUV???
I drove it last Friday. No comment on the cupholders. :-) The column
shifter is almost identical to the one already used on the BMW 745. It
takes a little getting used to, but in the long run, I think it will
probably be a desirable change. If you want to select gears, there are
buttons on the back of the steering wheel (like the AMG models). I am used
to "slapping" the Touchshift, but I guess I could just as easily get used to
tapping these steering wheel switches.
One thing that has changed, and this actually changed a year or so ago on
all Touchshift systems, is that instead of downshifting by one gear per tap,
the transmission downshifts according to what its logic circuit believes is
desired by the driver. On the 5-speeds, it's not so much an issue, but it's
a necessity on the 7-speeds. For example, if you are cruising along in 7th
at 50mph, and all you do is tap once to downshift, you will probably find
yourself in 4th. If you were doing 70mph, then it would probably be 5th.
If you have your foot on the brake and downshift, it might go lower in order
to help slow the vehicle. If you are "aggressively accelerating" while you
tap to downshift, it will select the lowest gear possible without
over-revving the engine.
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