Created essentially for the ‘wanna feel politically correct’, hybrid-hungry consumers of the North American market, the ML450 HYBRID made its world premiere at the New York Auto Show. The luxury SUV is powered by a twin-mode hybrid drivetrain that combines a 3.5-liter V6 Atkinson cycle engine with two electric motors for an output of 335 horsepower and 381 lb-ft (517Nm) of peak torque.
As any hybrid that respects itself, the depending on conditions, the ML 450 HYBRID can operate entirely on electric power or on the gasoline engine alone or on a combination of both drives. The overall result in terms of consumption is a highway gas mileage of 24 mpg and a city fuel economy of 21 mpg, while its combined economy of 22 mpg is around 47 percent lower than that of the ML550.
And no, Mercedes-Benz has not managed to better Lexus when it comes to fuel economy as the 295HP RX450h AWD model returns an estimated 30 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on highway and a combined figure of 29 mpg.
As for performance, the ML450 HYBRID goes from zero to 60mph (96 km/h) in 7.8 sec and has a top speed of 131mph or 210 km/h. Lexus has yet to announce performance figures for its new hybrid RX, but for the record, the previous-gen 268HP RX400h accelerated from standstill to 60mph (96 km/h) in 7.3 seconds and had an electronically limited top speed of 112mph or 180 km/h.