2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400 Replaces ML550 V-8
New Turbo Six Leaves AMG as Only V-8 in Lineup
By now, it’s probably no mystery than engine downsizing is not just some short-lived trend, but an ongoing, persistent pattern that almost all automakers are pursuing to meet government-mandated CO2 and fuel-economy targets worldwide. The latest model to fall into line with the mega-trend is the 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400. The model effectively replaces last year’s ML550, which was powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.7L V-8 producing 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. The new engine is not quite as stout, cranking out 329 hp and 354 lb-ft. But the upside is significantly better fuel economy, to the tune of 18 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, increases of 4 mpg city and 3 mpg highway, and even an improvement of 1 mpg in city fuel economy over the ML350 with the naturally-aspirated 3.5L V-6, which remains in the model lineup for 2015.
Also new for 2015 is the ML250 Bluetec. This is the only four-cylinder ML offered in the U.S. lineup, and the four-pot diesel replaces last year’s ML350 Bluetec’s 3.0L turbodiesel V-6, which continues as an option in the larger GL three-row SUV. Official economy estimates for the ML250 Bluetec have not yet been released, but its little brother, the GLK250, with the same powertrain returns 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. We’re figuring about a 2 mpg haircut for the larger, heavier ML, which would still result in an outstanding 22/31 performance. However, the redesigned BMW X5 3.5d gets 23 city 31 highway on the EPA tests with a larger, more powerful 3.0L I-6 diesel, so Mercedes is likely trying to meet or surpass the figure of its arch-rival.
Finally, if you’re a fan of V-8 power in the ML, your only choice for 2015 will be the ML63 AMG, which returns with 518 hp and 516 lb-ft or 550 hp and 560 lb-ft with the optional performance package. If economy is your priority, the AMG is definitely not the best choice, with a comparatively ravenous fuel appetite of 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. That said, we’ve tested this Teutonic treat and can attest it’s a blast to drive.
Official pricing has been announced only for the ML350, which starts at $49,225, and the ML400, which starts at $63,825. Both prices include $925 destination. The ML400 will be in dealerships in August, and the ML250 Bluetec will be in dealerships starting in September.