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Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4Matic in the test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4Matic in the test
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V awesome, accidentally again Flashed on in front. But actually only the speed controller of the Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4-Matic should start working. But from behind, Mercedes swapped the position of the indicator and cruise control levers, although their position had seemed chiseled into the plastic of the steering column for what felt like 125 years.

Be that as it may, because the way Mercedes customers treat them SUV Mercedes ML, you will certainly accept this little new arrangement. And the discreetly growling four-cylinder diesel under the bonnet decorated by Finns.

More mass than in the S-Class

You read correctly, in the new edition two pots less mark the entry into the diesel range of the 4.80 meter long Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4-Matic. It was clear that this job would not be easy for the unit, now well known as OM 651. In figures: 2,132 kilograms of empty weight, a permissible total weight of 2,950 kilograms plus almost three tons of trailer load. With a displacement of 2.1 liters, the engine thus shoulder even more mass than in the S-Class. The manufacturer proudly announces that it was possible to stop the spiraling weight - it was high time.

Here and now, on the A7 southbound, the Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4-Matic doesn’t seem to care . The cruise control takes over at 180 km /h, and only a bored growl penetrates the interior from the front. Apparently, the development efforts of the developers finally paid off, because in terms of running smoothness, the 651 has really not been one of the gentlest in the oil burner class. They achieved the new restraint through, among other things, map-controlled engine mounts, bulkhead insulation with partially different mass distribution and a plastic partition between the engine and interior.

Little changed on the engine itself. As usual, a series-connected low and high-pressure compressor lifts the power to 204 hp with up to 215,000 revolutions, the maximum torque is 500 Newton meters and is available from 1,600 tours. The superseded ML 300 CDI with V6 engine didn't have more on the pan, but wanted to be fed with an average of 8.3 L /100 km. The Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec, on the other hand, should get by with 6.0 L /100 km.

Mercedes ML 250Bluetec 4-Matic with 6.1 liters consumption

With a travel speed far beyond the recommended speed, this value cannot of course be achieved, but if there is no hurry, the on-board computer will spit out consumption with a six before the decimal point . On the ams consumption lap, which was completed under the most economical conditions possible, the Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4-Matic achieved an impressive 6.1 L /100 km. The M-Class with the standard 70-liter tank (93 liters for a surcharge) would travel 1,147 kilometers. So far, nobody in this segment has succeeded, and the air is getting thin in the class below. Involved in this: the further optimized seven-speed automatic transmission in the Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4-Matic with even less torque converter slip and centrifugal pendulum to drive smoothly at lower speeds. It offers three gearshift programs: 'E' for the restrained, 'S' for the demanding accelerator and 'M' for restless fingers who really want to tinker with the shamelessly peeking shift paddles behind the steering wheel.

Part of the economy package In addition, a perfectly working automatic start-stop system that starts the engine when the driver only reduces the brake pressure but does not want to start rolling - that helps to get to the point at the traffic lights. In general, the Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4-Matic comes out of the big push quite quickly, with a time of 9.0 seconds for the sprint from zero to 100 km /h exactly the factory specification. The engine is committed, has no weak starting point and revs up quickly. But shortly after the 4,000 rpm mark, the red area threatens, and the automatic system sends the engine back to the lower rev range to follow up a shovel of Newton meters.

Such actions remove the Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4- Matic quickly from the impressive standard consumption. However, he does not mutate into a drunkard, as the test average of 9.9 L /100 km proves - short applause from the scene. When refueling, please don't be alarmed, because two filler necks are hidden behind the flap. Only in the red comes diesel, in the blue the - who would have thought it - Ad-Blue additive. The aqueous urea solution is injected into the exhaust system of the Mercedes ML 250 and enables classification according to the Euro 6 standard that will apply from 2014. Refilling the 25.7 liter supply is only necessary every 25,000 kilometers as part of the maintenance service - or during an extended tour through every corner of the Russian taiga.

Off-road package for a surcharge

The standard all-wheel drive would hardly be sufficient, only the optional off-road package increases the ground clearance from 202 to 285 millimeters in combination with the air suspension and leaves the Mercedes ML 250 with a 100 percent lockable center differential as well as a special off-road program digging through softened ground or gravelly inclinesThe test car Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4-Matic did without the expensive extras - just a sandpit all-wheel drive? No, what remains is the planetary center differential, which produces a basic power distribution in the ratio of 50 to 50 percent between the front and rear axles. Everything else is done by the talented control electronics, which ensure that most ML owners get where they want.

Wherever this destination is, it is usually preceded by a very comfortable journey. Although the Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec collects kilometers on 19-inch wheels (series: 17 inch) and without air suspension, the chassis never gets out of step and swallows long bumps in particular with stoic calm. On short bumps and with more severe potholes, the suspension suffers a bit from the large wheels, but still more than disguises their inability. Sporty hardness? Definitely not. The Mercedes ML 250 rushes gently over country roads and leans noticeably to the side in curves.

Here, too, a cross in the right place in the surcharge list, with the Active Curve System baptized roll stabilization, code 468, for 3,689 euros. But what for? The four-cylinder diesel in the Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4-Matic is not that wild dog either. And the comfort is also right.

Mercedes ML 250 with sensitive steering

The dynamics are allowed to take a back seat, although the sensitively coordinated, electrohydraulic steering with reliable feedback is waving its hat Had fun. But the body movements slow the Mercedes M-Class understeer early on, and if you don't let it go, the ESP compresses it rigidly.

If sweat trickles down the driver's back despite the unshakable, safe driving behavior, the ventilated ones help Front seats of the Mercedes ML 250. Even without this option, the standard version with comfortable upholstery, ample dimensions and a wide adjustment range offers top-class seating comfort. Customers who have also ordered the driving dynamics extras should order the more strictly shaped sports seats for better lateral support.

In the second row, fellow passengers can stretch out on the comfortable rear seat, the angle of which can also be adjusted . Nobody in the Mercedes M-Class has to be annoyed about chafed knees or a kink in the quiff, here the pragmatic, angular rear design shows its advantages.

No less straightforward: the operation of the Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec. Only the still somewhat overloaded multi-function lever for indicators and wipers should even Mercedes traditionalists gradually have enough. Nobody is bothered by the newly positioned, but unchanged, easy-to-activate cruise control. The same applies to the as clear as a station clocklegible instruments as well as the well-marked, mostly illuminated large buttons on the center console. And to operate the window lifters, the left arm can casually rest on the door rest.

The infotainment system could be more sophisticated

Fine-tuning, however, would do the infotainment system of the Mercedes M-Class well, for example in the form of direct selection buttons arranged around the rotary push button. In addition, the software industry is now producing more complex map displays. Superfluous? Perhaps, but definitely desirable in view of the high surcharge.

In terms of safety equipment, however, the Mercedes M-Class has everything that the Swabian specialists currently have in store. In addition to a large cotton ball in the form of a knee to side airbag, the buyer also receives a drowsiness warning, a dry brake function and the pre-safe system ex works. Optionally, an active lane departure warning system, blind spot detection and adaptive cruise control also calm your conscience.

Afraid of the dark? The night vision assistant with person recognition helps here. The adaptive speed control of the Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec 4-Matic now appears to be much more sophisticated, for example accelerates quickly after the vehicle in front has left the lane and maneuvers safely between concrete guard walls and trucks. In addition, thanks to the harmonious stop-and-go function, it sneaks into the dreams of congested commuters.

In contrast, the active lane departure warning system can still handle one or the other refreshed bit and byte. The technology occasionally struggled to recognize the lane markings, especially on country roads and therefore decided to remain passive as a precaution. The braking system with the heavyweight Mercedes ML 250 showed no problem whatsoever. Regardless of whether it was unloaded or with luggage, whether cold or warm, the deceleration values ​​always remained well below the 40-meter mark.

Mercedes ML 250 swallows 2,010 liters of luggage

Apropos loaded: The aforementioned payload is not just a gray theory, as some developers from the commercial vehicle division apparently had a say in the design of the cargo space for the Mercedes M-Class. Up to 2,010 liters fit behind the wide opening, the loading sill is an acceptable 76 centimeters above the floor and has a robust chrome-look strip for protection. When the rear seat surface and backrest are folded down, the floor is 1.70 meters long. When the backrest is up, there is still 690 liters available - including a spacious compartment under the floor.

However, the storage space of the Mercedes ML 250 can only be used properly if the dividing net keeps the luggage in place. This useful detail costs extra, although greed is no longer cool. An inglorious exception, because inThe basic equipment of the Mercedes M-Class is actually not missing anything essential. Among other things, the workers at the US plant in Tuscaloosa basically install a two-zone automatic air conditioning, an audio system, the automatic transmission and a multifunction steering wheel. The quality of the workmanship stands out positively from the two previous generations, and the quality of the material has also increased again. Fuzzy felt? Not even in the hold. Cardboard plastic as a decorative strip? No, aluminum is standard, fine wood veneer runs around the cockpit for an extra charge.

As usual, the list of surcharges arouses as many desires as the shops on Fifth Avenue in New York. So it is - at least in theory - easy to cram a Mercedes ML 250 Bluetec with extras worth 15,000 euros. After all: the newly positioned cruise control is also part of the standard equipment.

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