Mercedes ML 250 CDI

Is the four-cylinder turbo engine good enough to haul the big Mercedes M-Class around?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The ML 250 showcases what’s best about the new M-Class: it’s a luxurious, well made and comfortable SUV with a proper four-wheel-drive system and loads of luggage space. The smaller turbodiesel engine provides sufficient power and delivers class-leading fuel economy and running costs.That makes this car the pick of the new M-Class range.

The new Mercedes M-Class has to tackle the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 head-on. Longer and wider than its predecessor, it’s certainly big enough, but this ML 250 CDI has a 2.1-litre four-cylinder engine.
An engine that size in a 2,100kg 4x4 sounds like a struggle, but the 500Nm of torque ensures the ML is no slouch. It belies its weight with 0-62mph in nine seconds and strong in-gear response.
It’s not as quick or refined as the ML 350 CDI, but you can shift between the seven gears using steering-wheel paddles when you want to push on, or leave the box in auto mode for smooth, effortless progress. And while the engine sounds slightly harsher than the larger six-cylinder diesel, it’s never too noisy.
The steering is weighty and a decent amount of lock is needed to turn, while there’s no shortage of stopping power and very little dive under braking for an SUV of this size. Permanent four-wheel drive means there’s plenty of grip and Mercedes’ Downhill Speed Regulator system is standard.
The main benefit of the four-cylinder diesel engine is reduced running costs. The ML 250’s claimed 44.8mpg economy is 5.6mpg better than the ML 350’s and it emits 24g/km less CO2, too, at 165g/km. That’s more efficient than any of its rivals.
Inside, there’s typical Merc quality and class, solid switches and lots of kit, including keyless entry, an iPod connection, dual climate control and Bluetooth. The faux leather seats are quite firm, yet they’re supportive rather than uncomfortable, with a wide range of electrical adjustment, plus heating and cooling functions.
There’s great detailing, with silver dial surrounds and optional textured wood grain inserts. You also get a class-leading 2,010 litres of boot space thanks to the flat-folding back seats.
So although the ML 250 CDI trades power for lower running costs, it’s still an impressively swift, spacious and refined 4x4.

Most Popular

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph
Speed limit to be cut to 60mph on M1

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph

Trial on Welsh roads shows 47 per cent drop in pollution when 50mph limits were introduced; Highways England already has plans to reduce limits to tac…
10 Oct 2020
New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck
Fiat Panda

New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck

The Fiat Panda has been overhauled for 2020, with a new infotainment display part of the package alongside a new look trim structure
23 Oct 2020
New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review

Brand-new 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine makes its debut in the new Range Rover Evoque plug-in hybrid
20 Oct 2020