• What is it? A luxury SUV that returns a fuel economy of 21 mpg/24 mpg (city/highway)
• The basics: Two electric motors and a 3.5-liter V-6
• On sale: November 16, 2009
• Price: Only available on lease, from $549 per month
First seen at the 2009 New York Auto Show back in April, the highly-efficient 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid is finally ready for launch.
Official fuel economy numbers for the big SUV are 21 mpg around town and 24 mpg on the highway, which are very impressive considering the similarly sized (but V-8 powered) 2010 BMW X6 ActiveHybrid only returns an EPA-rated 17 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.
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The key to the ML450 Hybrid’s frugality is its advanced hybrid system. Similar to GM’s Two-Mode hybrid system, the vehicle features two electric motors integrated within a modified automatic transmission and matched to a 3.5-liter V-6 engine. One motor is dedicated to pulling away under electric power and the second is set up specifically for boosting acceleration.
In this combination, the ML450 Hybrid can drive solely on electric power up to a maximum speed of 34 mph. On hard acceleration, the gasoline engine is started automatically.
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The combined peak output of the two electric motors and V-6 engine stands at 340 horsepower and 381 pound-feet of torque--similar numbers to the V-8 powered ML550.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid is set to arrive in showrooms on November 16 and is being offered as part of a special lease only option (no purchase) for a monthly lease price of $659 per month for 36 months and $549 per month for 60 months.