Mercedes Benz ML450 Hybrid

The ML450 Hybrid From Mercedes

mb ML450

The First European Fully-Hybrid Vehicle Available in the U.S.
Mercedes Benz first released the M-Class mid-size luxury crossover sport utility vehicle in 1997 as a 1998 model. But since BMW already had the M3 model, they objected to the M-Class banner, forcing Mercedes-Benz to comply by developing a double-tiered strategy for marketing their M class vehicles. So, Mercedes introduced the “ML” badging instead. The very first M-Class, non-hybrid ML 320, rolled off the assembly line in February of 1997 and it was launched in the U.S. the same month (Wikipedia). After years of awards, redesigns and technological upgrades, the ML450 Hybrid debuted at the 2009 New York International Auto Show. Two short years later, it was discontinued.

The First-Generation ML450 Hybrid

The 2010 ML 450 Hybrid featured a 3.5 liter gasoline-powered Atkinson V6 engine that delivered 275 horsepower, combined with two separate magneto-electric motors. Each of the magneto-electric motors serves its own purpose and both are fully integrated into an automatic transmission, which has been modified to accommodate them. One of these motors is located near the output shaft of the transmission and the second is located close to the V6 gasoline engine. The one near the output shaft of the transmission generates about 80 horses and its purpose is to generate momentum solely through electric power. The other creates an additional 83 horsepower and is designed to assist the gas engine during hard accelerations. The entire system is rated to produce 335 horses and 381 pounds of torque.

interior

The ML 450 also houses a 228-volt nickel/metal/hydride battery underneath the floor of the rear cargo area. It is controlled by an extremely sophisticated hybrid computer system and is liquid-cooled. The computer systems task is a never ending job of calculating optimal vehicle operating conditions. In fact, it’s so diligent that it calculates and recalculates these figures 160 times per second. Amazingly, it has the ability to perform 50 million separate computations every second if necessary. The result of this technologically advanced system is big power with optimal fuel efficiency. The 2010 ML 450 Hybrid has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon city and 24 highway.




Standard features for the first ever ML 450 Hybrid model included eight-way power-adjustable front seats, burl walnut trim, all-wheel drive, and Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND infotainment system. Other options that were available were a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, and a rear-seat entertainment system. The 2010 model received excellent safety scores that were due to its excellent features like brake assist, daytime running lights, electronic stability control, child safety locks, and traction control.

The ML450 Hybrid Is Discontinued

Unfortunately, the ML450 Hybrid was discontinued after the 2011 model. It was announced in August of 2011 that the ML450 Hybrid would not carry over into the all-new redesigned 2012 M-Class lineup after only two years in production. Not much was said about the discontinuation, but the fact that the ML450 was only available for lease and not purchase may have been a big issue for consumers. Likewise, it’s less than stellar 21/24 mpg was not overly enticing to driver’s looking to save money at the pump. That MPG rating is not low compared to other hybrid vehicles in its class, but it was certainly not great compared to many of the smaller hybrids available then. As of now, there has not been a replacement for the ML450 in the M-Class lineup, but Mercedes-Benz will likely deliver another hybrid SUV in the future.

photo courtesy of caranddriver.com

Learn more about the M-Class here and here.

 

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