Earlier this week the German automaker Mercedes Benz started to offer a gas/electric version of their full size SUV, the the ML450 Hybrid 4MATIC. However owners looking to establish a long term relationship with the new truck might be a little surprised to find out that the luxury automaker is only offering the new hybrid SUV as part of a special lease only option starting at $659 per month for a three year commitment and as low as $549 per month with a five year agreement.
Powered by a 3.5 Liter Atkinson cycle V6 gasoline engine assisted by two magneto electric motors and a sophisticated hybrid electric module that promises to return up to 46% better fuel economy than the comparable V8 powered Mercedes Benz ML550. Each of the ML450 Hybrid ’s electric motors serve a different purpose. The first is affixed to the transmission output shaft and generates an additional 80 HP and 192 lb-ft of torque allowing the new hybrid powered ML 450 to operate as a zero emissions electric vehicle before the gasoline engine is needed for additional support. The second combination of magnets and wound electric wires is dedicated to improving the hybrid’s acceleration and is rated at 83 HP and 173 lb-ft of thrust, bringing the green SUV’s maximum output up to 335 HP and 381 lb-ft of torque. The only downside is that at least for now, you won’t be able to pick up one of these premium hybrid luxury SUVs second hand.
Press release after the jump.
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.