The Mercedes-Benz M-Class was introduced in 1997 for the 1998 model year as a midsize, luxury SUV that boasted many industry-firsts. The first luxury SUV to feature electronic stability control, the M-Class was also the first crossover to offer front- and side-impact airbags with advanced occupant detection for the front passenger seat. The SUV made its dealership debut in North America as the ML320, which was powered by a 3.2-liter, V-6 engine linked to permanent 4MATIC four-wheel drive. The M-Class became a sales success in the United States, a trend that continued with the second-gen model between 2005 and 2011. A redesigned, third-gen model arrived in 2012, currently being sold in four guises across the U.S., ranging from the fuel-efficient ML250 BlueTEC to the powerful ML63 AMG. As we venture into 2015, when the M-Class is set to receive a facelift, the Germans are expanding the lineup by adding a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, its first for an SUV.