Mercedes Drops ML 550 in Favor of More Efficient ML 400

It seems downsizing is on the mind of every German automaker looking for new customers in America. After the 2015 Porsche Cayenne dropped the 4.8-liter V8 in favor of a turbo V6, Mercedes-Benz USA has announced a similar move.
ML 400 joins 2015 lineup 1 photo
The ML 550 has been dropped from the 2015 model year due to slow sales. This leaves only the base ML 350 with an aspirated 3.5-liter V6, joined by the a new model, the ML 400. This comes with the same 3-liter biturbo V6 as the E 400 sedan, which delivers 329-hp (333 PS) and 354 lb-ft (480 Nm) of torque, delivered though a seven-speed automatic transmission and a 4Matic all-wheel drive system. The torque is the most important figure here, representing a massive 30% increase over the 3.5-liter V6.

Prices for this new model start at $62,900, which is a huge $15,000 increase over a base model, in return for 0 to 60 mph in 6 seconds and 22 mpg highway. Some might not think this is a worth-wile investment, especially since BMW's X5 offers a twin-turbo V8 that also gets 22 mph highway for $68,200.

But, to be perfectly honest, the move is as predictable as it is justified. The ML 550 reportedly represented only 12% of the overall M-Class sales, which is simply not enough to keep it in the lineup. Those customers who want a V8 should now switch over to the ML 63 AMG model, which is still comfortable and smooth enough. Ironically, availability of this model has been temporarily suspended from the official website.

We think the ML 400 is not a direct replacement for the ML 550, more of a realignment of marketing strategy, away from all the unprofitable lease customers who bought base models and slow-selling V8s. It should do well, but could use a price cut of a couple of thousand dollars.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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