With the new 2012 M-Class SUV being readied for its European debut later this year, Mercedes-Benz Australia has confirmed that a local launch will occur in the second quarter of next year.
Speaking with TMR today, Mercedes' Jerry Stamoulis said that "a second quarter launch is what we're looking at right now", although exact timing and specifications are still to be confirmed.
For 2012, the M-Class draws on the styling of the brand's newest models, while retaining its familiar forward-swept C-pillar lines.
In Europe, the big SUV will be offered with two six-cylinder engines - one petrol, one diesel - along with a four-cylinder diesel model. A more powerful 4.7 litre V8 petrol engine is due to join the range in the year following.
Opening the line-up will be the ML 250 Bluetec, powered by a 150kW and 500Nm 2.1 litre twin-turbo diesel engine.
Paired with a 7G Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission and Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive, the ML 250 Bluetec's fuel consumption is listed at 6.0 l/100km.
In the middle of the range is the ML 350 BlueEfficiency, powered by the company's familiar 228kW and 370Nm 3.5 litre direct-injected petrol V6.
Combined with a seven-speed auto and 4Matic AWD, the big six will cover the 0-100km/h sprint in 7.6 seconds.
Rounding out the European range is the ML 350 Bluetec, powered by a revised version of Mercedes' 3.0 litre V6 turbodiesel and delivering 192kW and 620Nm of torque.
Offered with a seven-speed auto and 4Matic AWD, fuel consumption for the larger diesel is listed at 7.5 l/100km. .
Later in 2012, the range is expected to gain a 4.7 litre V8 engine; fuel figures for this model have not yet been announced.
Watch for news later this year on the Australia-bound M-Class line-up.