Motor Trend's very own editor-in-chief, Angus MacKenzie, came across this cladded and camouflaged SUV in the Los Angeles area. It's pretty clear to see that it is a Mercedes-Benz ML. However, there are a few differences from the model currently on-sale. It appears as if the next version of the ML will feature the wider-width taillight assemblies similar to the current E-Class.
Although at first the updated look doesn't appear to be a radical change from the current model, a side-by-side comparison shows the new model is substantially different. The front grille is much more upright, a trend making its way across the Mercedes lineup, starting with the new SLK, and also seen on the restyled CLS. The beltline, running from the front fenders through to the rear, is much more pronounced, borrowing a bit of the chunkier style from the larger GL and smaller GLK SUVs.
In terms of engines and powertrains, expect the new direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 to serve as the base mill in the U.S. market, and the twin-turbo 4.6-liter V-8 serving as the upgrade engine, replacing the current normally-aspirated 5.5-liter engine. The continuation of the ML 350 Bluetec diesel is almost a guaranteed certainty, as the diesel versions of Mercedes' SUVs have been selling surprisingly well.
What do you think of the looks of presumably the next ML? Is it a step in the right direction, or a step back?