It is unlikely the current ML was designed to take a battery pack and electric motor when it was being developed well before its 2012 launch, however Mercedes-Benz clearly believes it can waste no time rushing out its (undoubtedly expensive) modular hybrid unit as part of its plan to launch 10 new plug-in hybrids by 2017.
Not only is an announcement expected at this month’s Los Angeles motor show that the ML-Class will change its name to GLE-Class, along with other model name changes, but an official announcement on a plug-in hybrid version of this current generation can’t be far away.
Caught recharging here by CarAdvice’s spy photographers, the facelifted ML-Class gets a power plug flap in the same lower-right position of the rear bumper as with the current S-Class.
Mercedes-Benz says its electric motor system, which debuted recently in the S500 Plug-In Hybrid, can be used across a variety of models.
It is unclear whether the facelifted ML-Class will utilise the same 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine, or use the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that is expected in the upcoming C-Class plug-in hybrid. Either way, a seven-speed automatic will be the chosen transmission.
While the spy shots of the revised ML-Class reveal that it is a light nip and tuck of visual styling cues with a frontal area a clear facsimile of the GLA-Class, otherwise expect a similar overhaul treatment to that of the revised B-Class.
This may include a new steering wheel, tablet-style infotainment screen with the latest Comand connectivity, and fresh headlights with LED capability, in addition to new safety and convenience features such as reverse-park assistance and auto-braking.
The reveal of the facelifted Mercedes-Benz ML-Class, along with its fresh rebadging effort, may have to wait until the Detroit motor show in January. It is tipped the C-Class plug-in hybrid will debut first at this month’s LA motor show – unless Benz wants to do a double-act in hybrid-loving California.