by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

REPORT: Mercedes-Benz bids farewell to the ML 450 HYBRID

Latest inside information points to the decision taken by Stuttgart executives to cancel the production of the ML 450 HYBRID by the end of 2011, after a short, three-year lifespan.

The SUV was using a complex, two-mode hybrid unit developed in cooperation with GM, Chrysler and BMW, offering 279 hp for the V6 petrol engine and 45 kW stored in the nickel-metal battery. However, the agreement between the four companies ended in 2009 and, for 2012, the solely remaining vehicles equipped with this hybrid system will be those produced by GM, as BMW recently announced its X6 ActiveHybrid has been axed from next year's model offer. The main reasons for discontinuing the ML 450 HYBRID were the high cost of the two-mode powering system (around 20,000 $), the levels of efficiency and performance which never met the expectations and the rather sluggish sales numbers, given the initial targets were never actually achieved. Moreover, it looks that there won't be any hybrid version in 2012 for the new generation of the M-Class. But that does not mean Mercedes-Benz is not eyeing a future hybrid variant for the ML, which might hopefully be superior to the outgoing model in all categories.

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