SPY - 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Klasse: Roundup of the latest shots and information
The new generation of the bestselling M-Klasse will be officially revealed at the IAA Frankfurt in September. However, first details and photos will appear well in advance of the public debut; latest rumours indicate we'll see the SUV on June, 7th. Mercedes-Benz will launch the sales of the W 166, as the car is internally codenamed during the test phase, towards the end of 2011 as a 2012 year model. During the last days, several hints claimed the new M-Klasse will no longer be called 'ML', but 'M', when badging the engine version (M 500 instead of ML 500). However, we can hardly believe the German constructor would apply a drastic name change, because the SUV is worldwide popular as ML and the 'M' title is fully owned by BMW. Moving on the car itself, the new M-Klasse is not longer and heavier than the current model; thanks to extensive use of lightweight materials for trimming the chassis and body (e.g. aluminium) and an ingenious interior architecture, the offroader is expected to be more agile, roomier and more versatile. The outer silhouette will follow the good ol' rules, in addition to displaying a more sleek, dynamic, compact stance, closer to a crossover. If you wonder about the powerplants for the new ML, we inform that efficient units are part of the menu: the base variant is the ML 250 CDI with 204 hp, followed by the ML 300 CDI with 224 hp, the ML 350 CDI with 265 hp, the ML 350 BlueEFFICIENCY with 306 hp and the ML 500 BlueEFFICIENCY with 435 hp. The 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic gearbox could come standard on all versions. The future ML 63 AMG, that will debut next year, will be the top of the range and will come packed with the new V8 biturbo engine available in two peak output choices: 544 hp and 571 hp. For those of you wanting to save Mother Earth in the ML (Greenpeace won't agree with this), Mercedes-Benz is considering several alternative powering solutions, so watch out for BlueTEC, hybrid and possibly CNG variants to pop out in the coming years. The safety and technology package will comprise the latest systems mastered by the Stuttgart-based carmaker: PRE-SAFE Brake, DISTRONIC PLUS, PARKTRONIC, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Night View Assist Plus and the new COMAND Online are just a few of the many other state-of-the-art features. The superior offroad capability compared to the competitors is a key quality of the outgoing M-Klasse, so the forthcoming model won't neglect the clients that love to go out to have fun on muddy or rocky terrain. A new, complex 4x4 management system and an improved 4MATIC platform will be premiered when the 2012 M-Klasse is unveiled.
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