Mercedes-Benz Delays Bringing ML250 BlueTec to U.S., Won’t Come for 2014
In a sudden change of heart, Mercedes-Benz has indefinitely shelved plans to sell the four-cylinder-diesel-powered ML250 BlueTec in the U.S. The ML250 would have been powered by the same basic 2.1-liter twin-turbo diesel that’s found in the new-for-2013 GLK250 BlueTec. While Mercedes has no definitive timeframe to bring the ML250 stateside, we understand that it definitely won’t arrive for 2014 as originally planned, but it’s possible the SUV could come a year later as a 2015 model.
Benz offered no explanation for the delay, but we believe that the company is happy with the success of the ML350 BlueTec six-cylinder diesel, which fetches around 15 percent of all MLs sold in the U.S. The Stuttgart-based manufacturer never announced whether the four-cylinder would replace or supplement the six-cylinder, but either decision is fraught with peril. Replacing the torquey and pleasing V-6 with a four-pot would drag the M-class to a lower point in the marketplace, positioned uncomfortably close to the GLK250 BlueTec. If the 250 mill was merely to be another diesel offering in the ML lineup, it could cannibalize sales from the larger, more expensive 350 BlueTec.
When Mercedes first announced this engine for the M-class, no technical specifications were revealed, but we’d expected numbers similar to those produced by the oil-burning GLK: 190 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. We previously had concerns about this lump’s ability to motivate the ML when considering the current diesel-powered vehicle, the ML350 BlueTec, boasts figures of 240 horses and 455 lb-ft.
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Of course, the ML350 BlueTec is sufficient to meet today’s emissions standards, and at 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, it outperforms the gasoline-powered ML350‘s 18/23 ratings with relative ease. On the other hand, the four-cylinder could have given Mercedes a significant improvement in fuel efficiency as the European-spec ML250 BlueTec is 13 percent more efficient than its six-cylinder counterpart.
By Jens Meiners