The Mercedes-Benz ML-Class sport-ute is nearing the end of its second generation. With a replacement due in 2011, the next M-Class could get a wide range of engines from a more efficient hybrid model to a twin-turbo AMG version, reports German car site Auto Bild.
The next M-Class should arrive in the middle of 2011 and could be a 2011 or a 2012 model. Auto Bild reports that the powertrains in the new vehicle could include a diesel-electric hybrid as well as a plug-in hybrid based on the existing ML450's gas-electric powertrain. The plug-in could be teamed with a twin-turbo version of the direct-injection Benz 3.5-liter V-6, and might have an electric-only operating range of 30 miles to use before the gas engine kicks in to charge its batteries. The hybrid system would share some technology with the new S400 Hybrid, which likely means lithium-ion batteries will make their way into the ML-Class Hybrid at some point.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, a twin-turbo V-8 engine is expected in the ML-Class AMG. It could make upwards of 570 horsepower.
Auto Bild says the new M-Class will share even more parts with the GL-Class and R-Class, which are also built at the Alabama assembly plant that's home to the ML-Class. However, other sources have questioned whether the slow-selling R-Class will return at all.