Here's the 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class, reluctant platform-mate of the 2011 Jeep Cherokee, suburban people mover au extraordinaire, frequent guest at many of the world's fine shops, including Nordstrom's, Neiman Marcus and, er, Safeway, and intrepidly posh carrier of lap dogs, orange slices and Thermoses.

Right. That one. The M-Class gets a visual refresh for the new year, both in and out. Initially it'll be available with Benz's new four-cylinder turbodiesel — producing 204 hp and 369 lb-ft — a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel producing 457 lb-ft (!) and 3.5-liter gas V6, but we're assured an AMG version will be out shortly.


Merc's selective damping suspension will come standard, but up-shoppers can get it with the company's Airmatic air suspension with adaptive damping and Active Curve System dynamic roll stabilization. New for 2012 is an off-roading package (stop snickering) and a possible six, count 'em, transmission modes: automatic, off-road high and low, and winter, sport and trailer modes for on-roading.

And, need we say, a swank new cabin and MB's upgraded Comand system with internet access are part of the latest M-Class experience. Now if only we can get Tiffany to sponsor the Baja 1000, we'll be set.