By April 30, 2012 Read More →

Road Test: 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML 250 BlueTec 4Matic

MB ML 250 BlueTec 4Matic 2012_01A Mercedes-Benz SUV should be a bit luxurious and a bit sporty. And in these days it is also a big plus if the car is economical as well. The all-new ML 250 BlueTec should fill out at least all the economical requirements.

At the start up, the new ML is available with three engines; two BlueTec diesels and one BlueDirect petrol engine. Compared to the previous model, the entire model range consumes 25 per cent less fuel on average. In addition to the new engine technology, all models are equipped with the ECO start/stop function and the seven-speed automatic transmission with a new fuel economy converter. Low-friction axle drives, electric steering, the optimised belt drive with decoupler, the on-demand control of all ancillary components and pumps, and tyres with low rolling resistance also play their part in reducing fuel consumption. The lightweight design has kept the car’s weight in control, while the aerodynamic design of the new ML’s body, including the optimised design of the front bumper, A-pillars and the roof spoiler, provides low wind resistance.

When it comes to the fuel economy, the star of the show is the new ML 250 BlueTec. Mercedes-Benz’s 2.2-litre turbodiesel has been seen in many Mercedes model series and now it has found its way to the new ML. The four-cylinder diesel sure is economical. The combined fuel consumption of the ML 250 BlueTec is just 6,0 l/100km. The CO2 emissions are only 158 g/km. These are pretty remarkably numbers for a big SUV with a four-wheel drive. On the test drive, the average fuel consumption was little over seven litres per hundred kilometres.

So it is economical, but how about the performance. Eventhough you want think about the enviroment, you also want to enjoy the car’s performance every now and then. With two turbochargers, the four-cylinder, 2.2-litre engine produces 204 horsepower. More impressive is the torque. 500 Newton metres is available between 1600-1800rpm. The huge torque speeds up the ML 250 BlueTec quite nicely at low revs. It gives you the feeling that there is a quite a lot bigger engine under the hood. It also gives the car a quite elegant touch, when you don’t have to rev the engine. Pressing the throttle a bit deeper improves the performance. At its best, the ML 250 BlueTec can accelerate from zero to a hundred kilometres per hour in 9.0 seconds. So it isn’t slow, but you can’t really call it a sporty performance. The top speed is 210 km/h, which should be enough for most drivers. The power and torque numbers of the new ML 250 BlueTec are very similar to the previous ML 300 CDI with the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel.

If you want a more powerful diesel engine for your new ML, then your choice would be the ML 350 BlueTec. With its 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine, the ML 350 BlueTec delivers 258 hp and 620 Nm. The bigger engine provides a lot better performance. Acceleration from zero to hundred kilometres per hour takes 7,4 seconds and the top speed is 224 km/h. So the new ML 350 BlueTec provides similar performance than the previous ML 450 CDI with the V8 engine. Yet the fuel consumption is 36 per cent lower. The combined fuel consumption is just 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres.

For those looking for a petrol engine, the new ML 350 delivers 306 horsepower and 370 Newton metres of torque from its 3.5-litre, naturally aspirated V6 engine. This new V6 engine in the ML has the combined fuel consumption of 8,5 litres per 100 kilometres, which is 25 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the previous model. The ML 350 accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds and has a top speed of 240 km/h.

All models come with the seven-speed automatic transmission, the 7G-Tronic Plus. The seven-speed transmission improves fuel economy and the performance as well. When you want to drive more actively, you can change gears manually via the shift paddles on the steering wheel. The standard steel springs provide quite soft and relaxed drive for the ML. On the tarmac, the ride could be a bit firmer, but on the other hand, this kind of setup works better on the unpaved parts of the road as well. Luckily, the body roll is kept quite well under control. The ML 250 BlueTec has a lowered chassis as standard. With the steel springs, the chassis is 10mm lower than in the other ML models. The air suspension is available as an option. The new ML is equipped with the electronic power steering (EPS). The steering feel could be a bit sharper, but after all, this isn’t no sports car.

Thanks to the work of the Mercedes Technology Center on improving the NVH (noice, vibration, harshness) comfort level , the ML is very enjoyable place to travel, especially on a longer journeys. The quiet ride also improves the quality and the luxury feeling of the car. ML has many improvements over the previous model, but the car still feels very much like a Mercedes-Benz. The four-cylinder engine is a good addition to the range providing really economical choice, but as always, there could be just a bit more power.

Specification

Engine

  • Diesel
  • 4-cylinder
  • 2143cc
  • Turbo

Power

  • 150 kW (204 hp) / 4200rpm

Torque

  • 500 Nm ( lb-ft) / 1600-1800rpm

Transmission

  • 7-speed automatic
  • AWD

0-100km/h / 0-62mph

  • 9.0 seconds

Top speed

  • 210 km/h

Fuel consumption

  • 6.0-6.5 l/100km

CO2 emissions

  • 158 g/km

MB ML 250 BlueTec 4Matic 2012_08