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Sneak Peek: 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450

German maker belatedly enters the hybrid market.

by on Apr.08, 2009

Mercedes' U.S. boss, Ernst Lieb, reveals the automaker's first hybrid-electric vehicle, the ML450.

Mercedes' U.S. boss, Ernst Lieb, reveals the automaker's first hybrid-electric vehicle, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450.

Better late than never, at least as far as Mercedes-Benz is concerned.  Though the automaker has been putting most of its emphasis on clean, fuel-efficient diesels, it used the New York International Auto Show as the opportunity to unveil its first high-mileage hybrid-electric vehicle.

The ML450, which goes on sale for the 2010 model-year, “offers V-8 torque with 4-cylinder fuel economy,” declared Ernst Lieb, President of Mercedes’ U.S. sales subsidiary, during a NY press preview.

You’ll need a close look to spot the hybrid badge on the ML450, which relies on a two-mode gasoline-electric drivetrain system developed through an unusual joint venture with Chrysler, BMW and General Motors.  The goal of the consortium was to overcome a fundamental problem with early hybrid systems, such as the drivetrain in the Toyota Prius, which provides a significant boost to mileage in-town, but can actually reduce fuel efficiency on the highway.

The hybrid SUV delivers 24 mpg on the EPA’s City cycle and 24 mpg on the Highway.

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