• Nov 16, 2009
2010 Mercedes Benz ML450 hybrid - click above for high-res image gallery

This week brings the official launch of the first European-branded vehicle equipped with the two-mode hybrid system that was co-developed between General Motors, Daimler, BMW and Chrysler. The Mercedes-Benz ML450 edges out the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid in getting to showrooms but it actually shares much with the BMW. Mercedes is building the re-packaged two-mode transmission that is being installed in both vehicles. And while the vehicles bear German nameplates, both are actually built in the southeastern United States.

Unlike the BMW, Mercedes has tuned the ML for improved fuel efficiency compared to its conventionally-powered siblings. While the BMW uses a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 to achieve 17/19 mpg ratings. The ML450 instead uses an Atkinson cycle version of Mercedes 3.5-liter V6 to achieve up to 335 hp and 381 pound-feet of torque in combination with the electric motors. The result is a boost in mileage compared to the V8 ML550 to 21 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. That compares with the ML350 Bluetec diesel which is rated at 18/25 mpg.

Interestingly, Mercedes has actually opted not to sell the ML450, instead offering it only for lease for either 36 or 60 months at $659 or $549 per month, respectively. According to Mercedes USA spokesman Rob Moran, "We are offering this vehicle as lease only due to a limited supply of batteries available. We felt a lease only program offered the best option for customers."

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]

press release



MONTVALE, NJ – On November 16, Mercedes-Benz will launch the innovative ML450 HYBRID, the first European full hybrid vehicle to be offered in the U.S. Featuring V8-like power with four-cylinder fuel economy, the ML450 HYBRID features two electric motors and a 275-hp V6 gasoline engine that work together to provide impressive hybrid power, fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon around town and 24 mpg on the highway.

The ML450 HYBRID joins the S400 HYBRID and our BlueTEC diesel models in our portfolio of fuel-efficient and environmentally compatible vehicles and will be offered as part of a special lease only option (no purchase) for a monthly lease price of $659 per month for 36 months and $549 per month for 60 months.

The ML450 HYBRID fulfills the same crash test requirements and offers outstanding active safety with stability control systems such as ESP, ABS and BAS, as well as 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The integration of the hybrid technology has been engineered to require no additional packaging space that would compromise comfort or functionality. The space available in the passenger cabin is as generous as before and the trunk capacity remains fully intact. From the outside, the ML450 HYBRID is recognizable by its modified hood, the BlueEFFICIENCY logo on the fender and by the HYBRID badge on its tailgate.

The New ML450 HYBRID Boasts 46 Percent Better Fuel Economy

The new Mercedes-Benz ML450 HYBRID uses a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine, optimized via the Atkinson cycle, two magneto-electric motors and sophisticated hybrid electronics to produce 46 percent better fuel economy than a comparable V8-powered ML550 model.

Integrated within the modified automatic transmission, each electric motor serves a specific purpose. Dedicated to pulling away under electric power, the motor on the transmission output shaft generates 80 hp and 192 lb.-ft of torque.

Located closer to the gasoline engine, the second electric motor is set up specifically for acceleration and is rated at 83 hp and 173 lb.-ft of torque. Working with both electric motors when full power is needed, the ML450 HYBRID has a total system performance of 335 hp and 381 lb.-ft. of torque.

The electric motors are powered by a liquid-cooled, 288-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery that's enclosed under the rear cargo floor. A powerful computer controls the hybrid system, recalculating the best operating mode 160 times a second. Capable of up to 50 million calculations per second, the system works to maintain an ideal balance between fuel economy and performance.

During parking and low-speed operation, the ML450 HYBRID runs on the electric drive only. The ML450 HYBRID can drive solely on electric power up to a maximum speed of 34 mph. On hard acceleration, the gasoline engine is started automatically, and it works seamlessly with the two electric motors for excellent performance. The hybrid system includes a convenient start-stop function that turns off the gasoline engine – for example, when coasting up to a red light – and re-starts it during acceleration.

During braking and coasting, the electric motor acts as a generator, slowing the SUV and recovering kinetic energy. Under heavy braking, the vehicle's conventional brakes also come into play. Recovered energy is stored in the battery and re-used whenever the SUV runs only on the electric motors.

About Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. For more than forty years, MBUSA has taken pride in its commitment to the customer by providing superior quality luxury vehicles coupled with outstanding customer support. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com and www.maybachusa.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think electric hybrids are still something of a long term question. This is a logical move with a new technology. Leasing the cars insures they will be returned to Mercedes rather than be released into the "wild" so to speak. By getting them back from what might be expected to be conservative responsible drivers; leasing protects the lessee from unanticipated repairs and Mercedes from unnecessary bad publicity should problems develop. Mercedes then has the chance to see what real world wear and tear develops long term and engineer corrections and changes. That way Mercedes can protect its franchise reputation and further develop the product.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Will there be a movie made about the ML and Mercedes akin to GM's EV1?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not that I'm in the market for a $550-$650 a month lease, but I think I'd much rather turn a hybrid back in and let the manufacturer deal with battery replacement/recycling issues than I would like to deal with that five-figure bill myself ...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Five figure bill, where are you pulling that from? Battery recycling programs are typically free, in the U.S. Toyota dealers are given a $200 incentive to retrieve a Prius battery at the end of it's life, where it is fully recycled. I'm not sure what Mercedes is doing for a warranty but hybrid systems are typically worry-free, Toyota offers an 8-year 100,000-mile warranty. I'm not a fan of the Prius but the hybrid battery system in general has proven it can handle the rigors of auto industry requirements.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Even though I believe the X6 will achieve fuel ratings in the mid-20s, all that power with relatively decent fuel usage is just plain jaw-dropping. I know many of the journalists that have penned early test drives, get b/t 17-19mpg, it would seem that their tests have been askewed by their own lead-foot antics. Early X6 owners unfazed by low fuel ratings may be rewarded with better ratings in their actual daily routine.

      I like the M-B lease requirement for the ML hybrid. They know they'll get all the early builds back and if necessary, can investigate minor issues to make changes or updates.