Spy Shots: 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML-Class

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As the world's automakers go back to the drawing board on what they need to compete in today's market, both structurally and in terms of product, parts sharing and efficiency are increasingly becoming key concepts. The next-generation of the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class SUV could embrace both concepts with a much closer link to the next G-Class and R-Class as well as more forward-looking powertrains.

Due in the middle of 2011, the next-gen ML is still largely a matter of speculation. Spy shots of an early prototype reveal a smaller body than the current ML, though the wheelbase appears unchanged. We also have several shots of the interior as well.

A few reports have suggested that a diesel-electric hybrid ML-Class is in the works, although a gasoline-electric hybrid like that in the upcoming ML450 Hybrid is almost certain. A plug-in variant of the ML hybrid is even possible, featuring an 80-horsepower electric motor paired with a twin-turbocharged and direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 and capable of travelling up to 18-miles on electric power alone is also thought to be in the works.

That plug-in hybrid system will draw on elements from the other hybrid programs within Mercedes, including the S400 powertrain. But other elements, including parts and underpinnings, will be shared more closely across the R-Class successor and G-Class vehicles to help achieve economies of scale while still maintaining separate identities. The chassis underpinning the new SUV is also the same design found in the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, one of the lasting legacies from the now defunct DaimlerChrysler.

The ML’s dominant position as the consumer 4x4 of choice within Mercedes' lineup won't change, though the focus will increasingly be on efficiency rather than performance. Accordingly, European models will likely get a 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine rated at 204 horsepower. A V-6 diesel rated at 225 horsepower and a 333 horsepower V-6 gasoline engine is also thought to be in the plans. The V-8 engine will gain direct-injection and twin-turbochargers for the AMG model, which is expected to deliver at least 570 horsepower from its 5.5-liters of displacement. Click here to see spy shots of a prototype for this high-performance variant.

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Comments (22)
  1. The only thing the ML class needs to be just right is for MB to come to its senses and relocate the shifter from the steering column to the transmission tunnel. That's what's there for guys, not for jumbo size cupholders for 3.2 gallon slurpees.

  2. ^LOL

    Despite much debate, the new ML-class will not be, IMO, as good looking as the X5M and X6M from BMW. I'm sorry, but despite the stupid choice BMW has made with X5 and X6, we can't ignorantly say that they are not nice looking cars.

  3. What Mercedes-Benz AMG needs to do to be real sports cars, is get a Manual transmission. :)

  4. I want to see the ML competing with the likes of the X5/X6/RangeRoverSport, but as always the ML is not designed well, nobody wants a ML. But everybody wants an X6! They should design this ML from scratch, meaning a complete new design. At the moment, every new BMW car is 5 steps infront of those from Mercedes. Just wait for the new 5series/6series/X1 which im sure will look better then the new mercedes cars, a recent example the new e-class. Being a mercedes fan, if things dont improve, im going to move onto BMW or Audi.

  5. nice car

  6. I love ML and I have two ML-1999/2002 but now I change to the new GLK350 it is because the ML doesnot look sporty any more now look at this 2012 spy shots of this ML. I donot think it catch my eyes at all. I wish they come up with something like A5 or X6 body style.

  7. Is the new edition ML a certainty in mid 2011?

  8. I have had 2 ML 320 cdi's. I had a 2006 and now a 2008 edition 10 with every option. I will never again buy a Mercedes Benz. These are the worst quality vehicles i have ever had by far. Both brand new. Front diff re built, wheel bearings gone, steering bearings gone, glow plugs replaced at 50km, endless rattles and squeaks, folding mirrors replaced, wheel alignment problems, steering wheel gone off centre, trailer light faulty electrics (5 times) the list goes on and on. Add to this the worst most arrogant sales and management experience and you have Diesel Motors in Perth Western Australia! Mercedes has major quality problems and are the LADA of the current era. They are simply a RIP OFF and if your in Australia you can follow the entire arrogant shambles of an operation back to Horst Van Sanden at the top! Shame on you Mercedes Benz!!!

  9. I have an '08 ML 350 on lease. I am going to get an '11 next year at the end of the lease.
    Great car, not a problem in the world. I LOVE Mercedes, but I think they should put more options in the base car or not charge for everyhing.
    A friend of mine just boght a Lexus RX350..or whatever the comparable model is. She got Navigation and VENTILATED SEATS amongst other thing Mercedes either does not have, or changes for.
    I could never get that.... You have to pay for leather, no ventilated seats...when a Ford POS comes with it..and other features that are standard on lower classes of other vehicles, MB charges.
    My 2cents..

  10. You know I never understood why it took so long for MB to utilize Jeep for its SUVs, till after they split from Chrysler

  11. We need an ML with more interior room! The rear seating area is a joke for anyone over 50 pounds.and, please, move the shifter to the center console! This thing on the steering column is a hazard.

  12. These new ML prototypes are currently undergoing hot weather desert testing in the UAE. I saw approx 6 of them in a hotel car park in Dubai, all under covers.

  13. Saw one of these in this guise on the freeway in Carlsbad, CA this past weekend. I have a couple of pics, but not as good detail as the ones you have

  14. This is my second ML, first had a 2007 now have a 2009. I really like the it however, I agree that MB should put the shifter in between the front seats like every other make does instead of on the steering column. Every time I have someone else drive it, they inadvertently hit the shifter thinking it is the wipers! Also, not sure why the 2012 will be smaller than the current model...If anything it should get a little bigger for better rear seat room. I may have to look at the BMW X5 or Range Rover Sport when my lease is next year!

  15. more like the new Jeep Cherokee than not.

  16. I have a 2006 ML 350. Lots of electrical problems any many error messages: gas tank sensor failed at 50,000 km, replaced fog lights 3 times, replaced driver's seat belt. The all new ML 2012 looks really ugly. MB should redesign it again or keep the current dessign and just give it a little more aggressive look.

  17. looks like it could be a nice new mid size family suv i hnewope it turns out looking good should bve interesting to c mb new designe style make its way to the ml..... i dont know why people are posting about bmw x6 and x5 m wich have nuthing to do with the new ml but i hope its a great car

  18. Current model is definitely the best. I agree with the poster above about keeping the current model and making it look more aggressive. I do think that these spy photos may be for the ml550? They made the front longer? I really, really like the current model. Sharp looking car! It has lots of appeal. Aggressiveness added would look great. More aerodynamic, but then maybe that'd be taking the route of the what the x5 has turned into. They have just been making that look more and more aggressive each year. Either way, these pictures may be very inaccurate. The interior is right on though, so they maybe accurate. I saw the Detroit show c250 and c350 (no longer c300). The interior of the new 2012 c250/c350 looks exactly like these spy photos. Take care!

  19. When will it be known if the Mercedes M 2012 instrument cluster is to be "uglyized" as for the 2011 C,E,S & GLK classes ?

  20. My comment # 25, Posted: 2/21/2011, is shown incomplete. I wrote a lot more.
    My second comment is:
    I like the look of this new ML 2012 dash, and hope it's true.
    However, the only interior spy photo of this dash appears distorted unless the two cluster instruments swivel. Do they ? If so, why ?

  21. I have a MY08 ML500 (Aussie version of ML550) and it's an amazing vehicle, the best I've ever had! Has done just over 32,000kms now and we've taken it on numerous long road trips to QLD, NSW & recently up the centre to Ayers Rock & Alice Springs, even taking it off road. Brilliant car, extremely comfortable and amazingly economical for a V8. I just hope they bring out a non AMG V8 petrol in the new model.

  22. Recently I purchased Lexus RX350 for my daughter. Its eally smart MIDsize SUV.
    I am thinking and waiting for MB ML350 2012 model, whem it comes to Dealers. Looking also Spy photographs.
    I hope new ML350 will have more aggressive sporty looks:
    a) with more color option including Baron red[my first option or if not finally black-second]
    b) Why MB is not re-locating lift-back wiper from nice smart extended spoiler[to be consealed like RX350-2011 model]? Hoping MB will do this involving no extra cost.
    c)Sunroof-less option may also be added.
    Waiting for the 2012 model soon.

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