New Mercedes M-Class to rival X5

Mercedes has thrown off the covers on the next generation of M-Class, its new challenger for the cutthroat luxury SUV class.

The big Merc has been an underwhelming prospect in the past, but Mercedes has reinvigorated the model with a sculpted look inherited from the current saloon line-up.
It's slightly larger than the car it replaces, but the all-new underpinnings aren't as interesting as the M-Class's revamped engine range, which promises to improve economy by 25 per cent across the range.

The entry-level model will get the 201bhp 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel lump capable of 47mpg while emitting 158g/km CO2.

The ML250 isn't confirmed as one of the engines to be included at launch in the UK, but it seems unrealistic that Mercedes will ignore the potential bestseller for long.

For now British buyers will definitely have a choice between the heavily overhauled 254bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel and the twin-turbo lump of excess which is the 536bhp 5.5-litre V8 found beneath the ML63 AMG.

If that all sounds a little too thirsty, a diesel electric hybrid will follow later with a 20bhp electric motor mated to the ML250's engine to create the ML300 Hybrid.

Along with the updated powerplants, the M-Class will get Mercedes 7G Tronic transmission as standard, which includes two dedicated off-road modes to keep the SUV's 4x4 aspirations alive.

For customers who genuinely intend on getting their car dirty there's an optional off-road pack which adds selective dampers and lockable diffs. For everyone else the five-seat interior has been reappointed with new design tweaks and ever more luxurious materials.

The new M-Class goes on sale in April next year.
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