Mercedes Benz ML350 CDI to arrive in India on May 15, 2012

Tuesday 08 May 2012, 12:37 PM by

German automotive giant Mercedes Benz may hold the launch event of its ML350 CDI premium Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) in India on May 15, 2012 in New Delhi. The car was first unveiled in the country at the 2012 New Delhi Auto Expo in January and was later spotted doing test rounds near Pune in March. It is speculated that the model was expected to be rolled out in the domestic market in April 2012 but was postponed due to the rise in taxes announced in Union Budget 2012.

Noteworthy changes in the car include an altered (double wishbone) suspension as well as a modified chassis, which contribute to the better driver experience. This facelifted version of the M-Class will be slightly larger than its outgoing iteration, with increase of 23 mm, 15 mm and 20 mm in length, width and height, respectively. Its exteriors get more noticeable wheel arches and similar exterior details that enhance its looks, whereas beige interiors, changed instrument panel and world class infotainment system add to the interiors manifolds. The upcoming ML350 CDI will also feature vertical rectangular air conditioning vents and 14.7 cm display panel for Command System. M-Class's new version will have seating capacity for 5 adults, but will be devoid of a third row to seat children.

The latest edition of the premium SUV will be cost higher than its predecessor due to the raise in excise duties and will bear a price tag close to Rs. 65 to 70 lacs (Ex-showroom price). This car will be powered by Mercedes Benz' BlueTEC 3.0 L V6 engine that is capable of generating 258 bhp of maximum power (34 bhp more than the outgoing model) and 620 Nm of peak torque. It will be supplemented with a 7G-Tronic 7 speed automatic gearbox, permanent All Wheel Drive (AWD) system, start/stop function and optional 6 stage on/off road package. The model will be able to move from naught to 100 kmph in just 7.4 seconds and can attain top speed of 224 kmph. It is anticipated that the company may also offer a smaller 2.2 L diesel engine in the country later.

Mercedes Benz will initially bring the car to India as a Completely Built Unit (CBU), but will begin its local assembly by the end of the year. The model will be built at the company's Chakan, Maharashtra unit, where it also produces the C-Class, E-Class and S-Class models. When local production begins, the price of the car will drop by a considerable margin. Upon launch in India, the ML350 CDI will be pitted against the likes of Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

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