Not scheduled to make its grand entrance until 2009, the much-anticipated Mercedes-Benz ML 450 2-Mode Hybrid is at the top of almost every upper class Greenie’s wish list. Co-designed with BMW and GM, the Mercedes ML 450 Hybrid will mark the German luxury symbol’s first foray into the eco-friendly world [“Thad, remind our driver he’s picketing ‘big oil’ tomorrow, won’t you dear?”]
A 3.5L V6 gasoline engine and twin 120kW electric motors boost the ML 450 Hybrid ICE’s [Internal Combustion Engine] standard performance from 279-hp to a powerful 321-hp, all while maintaining the stark quiet synonymous with both hybrid vehicles in general and Mercedes-Benz luxury [and providing optimum acoustics for listening to your “Das Engeri” audio book].
A mechanical blend of both a multi-speed automatic and continuously variable transmission enables the ML 450 Hybrid to ride smoother than silk while simultaneously making it a real bitch to fix [better hope that warranty doesn’t run out too soon]. An advanced regenerative braking system is powered by discretely placed, 288V battery packs and serve to further assist the electronically-variable transmission.
With an EPA estimate of 30mpg overall, and a reported carbon output of 185 g/km [we figured we didn’t need to convert those particular stats from their metric form since we’re fairly sure most people in North America have bought a gram of something in their life…]. Although mum’s the manufacturers’ word on suggested retail price, we expect somewhere in the range of its green luxury sibling’s, the Lexus 400H, 50k tag.