Mercedes’ all-new M-class, shown here in official pictures for the first time, will get a four-cylinder diesel engine in a bid to give the upmarket SUV class-leading fuel economy.
The base ML250 Bluetec’s presence in the UK line-up when it is launched in April 2012 is still to be decided, but its economy and CO2 figures would most likely make it a best-seller.
The ML250 is powered by a twin-turbo 2.1-litre diesel engine with 201bhp and 369lb ft. A seven-speed automatic gearbox with stop-start and brake energy recuperation help it to achieve 47mpg — a figure that betters the outgoing six-cylinder ML300 CDI’s economy by 28 per cent.
That also means overall CO2 emissions of 158g/km and provides a theoretical range of over 900 miles on the new M-class’s optional 93-litre tank.
Confirmed UK models at launch include the ML350 Bluetec, which uses a 254bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel, and the ML63 AMG, which will be powered by a 536bhp twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8. A diesel-electric version, called the ML300 Hybrid, is set to be launched late next year and will run the ML250’s 2.1-litre engine in combination with a 20bhp electric motor. Autocar sources indicate the ML300 Hybrid brings a further 7.2mpg improvement over the ML250 Bluetec, with claimed combined average fuel consumption of 54.3mpg.
Visually, the new M-class, codenamed W166, retains the same basic proportions and design elements as its predecessor but in a more contemporary and updated form.
At 4804mm long, 1926mm wide and 1796mm tall, the BMW X5 rival is 24mm longer, 16mm wider and 19mm lower than its forerunner.
Despite riding on all-new underpinnings, which in modified form also sit beneath the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee, the M-class’s wheelbase remains the same, at 2915mm.
Inside, it offers seating for five people in two rows. As with the exterior, the interior is all new but generally adheres to the look of the outgoing model.