Merc M-Class to include hybrid
* New M-Class range to include diesel-electric hybrid * First models go on sale in the UK in April 2012 * Hybrid model will follow late the same year...
The new M-Class will be available as a hybrid, Mercedes has confirmed the first time it has sold such a version of its 4x4.
The diesel-electric hybrid is expected to go on sale in the UK in late 2012, a few months after the latest M-Class goes on sale in April.
Precise details of the car, which will be called the ML300 Bluetec hybrid, are still to be revealed. However, given that the company has already said that its new four-cylinder ML250 Bluetec diesel model will average 47mpg and emit 158g/km of CO2, we expect the hybrid model to better 50mpg and produce less than 150g/km emissions.
That would make it comfortably the most fuel-efficient car in its class. The existing Lexus RX 450h hybrid, for example, averages 44.8mpg, while no BMW X5 averages more than 40mpg.
Competitively priced hybrid
With the ML300 hybrid so far away from launch, Mercedes won't give any indication of its possible price, saying only that 'it won't price it out of the market.' In other words, although there will be a premium for the hybrid model, it won't be so high as to mean the hybrid makes no financial sense to buy.
Until the hybrid arrives, the most efficient model in the M-Class range will be ML250, but Mercedes is yet to confirm whether that model (itself a first for the company, as it is the first four-cylinder M-Class) will go on sale in the UK.
The first cars to arrive in the UK will be the six-cylinder diesel ML350 Bluetec and the high-performance AMG version, powered by a twin-turbo V8 petrol engine with well over 500bhp.
Again, Mercedes is yet to confirm how much the car will cost, but assuming the ML250 does get the go-ahead for the British market and Mercedes in the UK says it is 'pushing hard' for it we expect the new model to cost from about the same as the current car.
That suggests the range should start at less than 45,000, but further details will be confirmed nearer the on-sale date.