For the 2011 Mercedes Benz M Class SUV Hybrid line, Mercedes carries over many of the design changes made to the 2010 M Class SUVs, all while relying on some new technologies to improve performance and make the drive more enjoyable.
Road and Track noted the revisions in the 2011 line make this “the most far-ranging model lineup in Mercedes’ stable.”
The ML450 Hybrid includes a 3.5 liter V6 engine and two electric motors. The V6 delivers up to 275 hp; the total power with contributions from the electric motors is 335 hp. The SUV uses an eight-speed, continuously variable automatic transmission.
Car and Driver reported that the hybrid transmission, which was introduced in the 2010 model, “was developed with BMW and General Motors when Mercedes was married to Chrysler.”
The ML450 Hybrid can be driven using electric power alone at low speeds. This is done using one of the motors to accelerate when the SUV is stopped. The gas engine cuts in when more power is needed. And the second electric motor is used to boost the SUV’s speed when the vehicle is in motion. This combination gives the ML450 Hybrid an EPA fuel economy rating of 21 mpg city, 24 mpg highway.
To put the performance into perspective, consider that the ML450 Hybrid consumes almost 50 percent less fuel than the ML550, and still produces about 90 percent of the power generated by the V8 model.
Like many luxury class hybrids, the Mercedes Benz ML 450 makes use of regenerative brakes. The electricity reclaimed in the braking process is used to help recharge the vehicle’s battery pack.
One new element in the 2011 model is an innovative in-vehicle service called mbrace. mbrace replaces Mercedes’ Tele Aid. The service offers security and safety features including automatic collision notification, SOS/emergency calling, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location assistance, and alarm notification.
New to mbrace is a mobile application that lets a driver access select services remotely through an Apple iPhone or BlackBerry smartphone. Services accessible via mobile phone include remote door lock and unlock, vehicle finder, Mercedes-Benz Concierge, and roadside assistance. These services are available even if the driver is away from the vehicle.
As noted, the design changes in earlier M Class models are carried over here in the 2011 ML450. According to Cars.com, the M Class vehicles look lower and broader. This look is accomplished, for example, by virtue of a lower grill and by placing the fog lights farther apart.
The ML450 also comes with new side mirrors. And there is a new inside mirror that includes an integrated compass and an optional Blind Spot Assist feature.
The 2011 Mercedes Benz M-Class ML450 has a MSRP of $55,790 and a destination charge of $875.
Watch a test drive of the 2011 Mercedes Benz M Class here.
Get a video tour of the 2011 Mercedes Benz M class interior features here.