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Mercedes Rolls Out Two Mode Hybrid M-Class at New York Auto Show

Posted on April 13, 2009
Filed Under Car Show, Hybrid SUV, Industry News, Mercedes-Benz ML 450 | Leave a Comment

mercedes_ml_450_hybrid2Having thrown its hat into the hybrid ring with the advanced S400 Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz on Wednesday went public on its second production gasoline-electric model, the ML450 Hybrid.

Unveiled at the New York auto show, the ML450 is to go on sale exclusively throughout North America this fall. It uses a vastly different yet equally complex hybrid setup compared with the S400 Hybrid, which is planned to hit U.S. showrooms by the end of summer.

The ML’s Two Mode hybrid powertrain was developed in partnership with BMW and General Motors. At low speeds around town and when maneuvering during parking, it uses an electric motor with 92 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, mounted at the rear of the gearbox, as the sole source of propulsion.

Under hard acceleration and at higher speeds during cruising, a second electric motor with 84 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque, mounted at the front of the gearbox, springs to life in combination with a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine boasting 172 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque to provide added performance.

Electricity used to run the electric motors is supplied by nickel-metal-hydride battery pack mounted in a specially designed cradle under the floor of the cargo area–a further departure from the S400 Hybrid, which boasts a much smaller lithium-ion battery mounted under the hood.

Weighing 183 pounds, the ML450 Hybrid‚Äôs battery collects energy from regenerative braking. Channeling drive to all four wheels is an electrically operated continuously variable transmission that boasts three planetary gear sets and four clutches–all aimed at providing smooth progress. Drivers can choose between economy and sport modes, the latter of which allows the driver to shift gears manually.

Mercedes-Benz claims 0 to 62 mph in 7.8 seconds, a standing-quarter-mile time of 15.8 seconds and a 131-mph top speed. The big advantage of the new hybrid system, however, can be seen in the combined fuel-consumption figure, which is put at 22 mpg on the North American cycle, to provide a theoretical range on the standard 23.4-gallon fuel tank of more than 520 miles.

The new model is differentiated from other M-class models by a subtle hood bulge, together with ML450 Hybrid badges. Mercedes-Benz claims there is no compromises in packaging; both interior accommodation and luggage capacity remain the same as standard versions of the ML.

Among the competition the ML450 Hybrid will face when it goes on sale in North America this fall are upcoming hybrid versions of the Porsche Cayenne and the Volkswagen Touareg.

SOURCE: Autoweek

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