Benz lifts the lid on four-pot
A diesel from the sedans helps the big SUV’S lean claims
existing platform, honing suspension and reducing weight. The wheelbase stays the same but bodies are wider and slightly shorter.
The styling has been toned down, with the imposing wheel arches of the current model being replaced by a more demure body line that extends along the flanks. The grille is also less aggressive and will be a chromed two-bar design leading to slimmer headlights.
Cabin treatment includes an all-new dash with the centre console’s screen and switchgear placed much higher. The current round vents have been replaced with rectangular units that better integrate with the new switches and screen.
Rear-end treatment is also softer with tail-lights that mimic those of the E-Class.
The engines, however, are the big talking point.
In the ML 250 BlueTec 4MATIC, the four-cylinder turbo diesel will have outputs of 150kW and 500Nm and will cover the 0-100km/h sprint in 9.0 seconds.
In the ML 350 BlueTec 4MATIC, the revamped 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel is quicker, has lower emissions and 24 per cent better fuel economy than the current V6, while also meeting the stringent Euro 6 emission category that is not expected to be mandated until after 2014.
It has 190kW and 620Nm (the current engine produces 170kW/540Nm) and can accelerate from rest to 100km/ h in 7.4 seconds.
The first petrol option is in the ML 350 4MATIC BlueEfficiency. Its averages 8.5L/100km and emits of 199g/km CO , compared with the outgoing engine’s 11.4L/100km and 266g/km.
The direct-injection 3.5-litre petrol V6 pumps out 225kW/ 370Nm (improving on 200kW/ 350Nm) and its 0-100km/h time is 7.6 seconds against the existing model’s 8.4 seconds.
More engines, including an AMG, will be added later.
Mercedes says engines were not the sole targets in minimising fuel use and emissions. The M-Class gets stop-start technology, a sevenspeed automatic, low-friction drivetrain components, electric steering and low-resistance tyres as standard.
To conserve energy, components such as the airconditioner compressor, oil and water pumps activate only when needed.
Weight reduction measures include aluminium alloy control arms for the front and rear axles and panels including the bonnet and fenders.
An off-road pack continues as an option— though Mercedes-Benz in Australia says the take-up is only about 1 per cent. Its six-mode automated terrain control system is similar to that in the Range Rover.
Optional equipment will include active roll stabilisation. Mercedes calls it Active Curve System’’ and it works with the Airmatic air suspension, controlling the anti-roll bars on each axle.
Great green hope: Asuite of more efficient engines will slash the M-Class’s fuel consumption