Fuel efficiency is a primary focus for the new M-Class, with the third generation of the Mercedes SUV promising an average 25% improvement in fuel consumption across the range.
Most frugal of all is the ML250 Bluetec 4MATIC, powered by a 4-cylinder diesel engine that promises an NEDC consumption of 47.0mpg and 158g/km of CO2, along with permanent all-wheel drive. Particularly impressive is the fact that, with a standard 70-litre tank, the ML250 Bluetec can cover some 720 miles before needing to refuel. If fitted with the optional 93-litre tank, a distance of up to 930 miles is possible between refuelling stops. Yet despite the excellent fuel economy, it still accelerates from a standing start to 62mph in 9.0 seconds, while developments in the chassis and driving systems aim to improve both on-road and off-road performance. As well as the super-efficient, 4-cylinder diesel ML250 Bluetec, the range includes two V6-engined models at launch: the 258HP diesel ML350 Bluetec 4MATIC, returning 41.5mpg and promising 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds; and the 306HP petrol-engined ML350 4MATIC, claiming 33.2mpg and 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds.
Longer, wider and lower than the model it replaces, the external appearance of the new M-Class has not been radically changed, simply updated, while the already roomy interior now offers 34mm more elbow room in the front and 25mm in the rear. In the M-Class, Mercedes is introducing enhanced ergonomics that will find their way into all future new Mercedes models, but the changes are not dramatic – for example, a better arrangement of the multi-function control lever on the steering column.
The M-Class will go on sale in Spring 2012. UK pricing and exact specifications are still to be confirmed.
Text: Charis Whitcombe
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