These are the clearest images yet of Mercedes’ revised M-class, caught during winter testing ahead of its debut next spring.
Codenamed W166, the new ML is set to adopt Stuttgart’s latest engine technology, as well as a raft of interior features drafted over from Merc’s high-end saloons.
The interior shot grabbed here shows some of the features, including a totally redesigned dashboard. The ML will get unique switchgear and a rotary controller for Mercedes’ Comand infotainment system. Some prototypes have been seen with Mercedes’ night-vision sensor in the windscreen, too.
The core petrol engine will be a twin-turbocharged 4.6-litre V8, producing between 408bhp and 435bhp. A V6 ML will also be available; it’s likely to use the reworked version of Merc’s normally aspirated 3.5-litre unit, with 306bhp, because the ML is arriving a little too early to get the twin-turbocharged version of this engine.
AMG will again release a performance variant, equipped this time with a twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 producing around 520bhp and 516lb ft of torque. That should be enough to beat the ML63 AMG’s 0-62mph time of 5.0sec, while improving on its fuel economy of 17.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 392g/km.
The diesel line-up will include a 190bhp 3.5-litre common-rail V6, and the reworked version of the same engine, as featured in the R-class and now in the S-class. It gets higher boost pressure, among other tweaks, to offer 265bhp. There is also likely to be a hybrid model, based on a petrol-electric powertrain.
The transmission will be an updated 7G-tronic gearbox, still with a column-mounted shifter. And the ML will also feature Mercedes’ BlueEfficiency measures, such as stop-start and brake energy recuperation.
Mercedes has yet to confirm a precise date for the ML’s unveiling. Company insiders admit the car could be launched away from major motor shows. The Shanghai convention in April is said to have already been ruled out as a possible venue.