Mercedes-Benz has long had a tradition of evolutionary changes year-by-year, and the ML SUV is no exception. To keep its midsize SUV fresh and relevant, Mercedes is giving it some of the changes it has bestowed on its car models. Outwardly, don't expect radical changes in styling. As you can see from these camouflaged mules, the ML retains its same basic profile and packaging. Exterior lighting and the grille will probably get minor stylistic tweaks.
But bigger changes are coming on the inside and possibly under the hood. As you can tell from the photo of the interior, the next ML will get an updated interior, and as is all the rage right now in the industry, will get a tablet-like center display screen. The steering wheel in this tester has also been changed from a four-spoke to a three-spoke design, with a thick rim and perforated leather grips at the 3 and 9-o'clock locations. This tester also appears to be a higher-end trim, with stitched detailing on the dashboard.
As with the E-Class, the ML could drop its 4.7-liter biturbo V-8 in favor of the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 found in the new E400 and upcoming C400 sedans. Although downsomewhat from the 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of the ML550, the blown V-6 would still be plenty potent with 329 hp and 354 lb-ft. The seven-speed automatic is expected to back all engines, which will likely consist of the carryover 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V-6, the twin-turbo 3.0L gas engine, the 3.0L Bluetec turbodiesel, and a hotter AMG version, which may take a temporary hiatus as part of the refresh. A hybrid or plug-in hybrid could also appear as part of the update. Expect the updated ML to get its public debut later this year for a fall '14 or early calendar '15 introduction.