Friday 25 May 2007

Meet The GL-Classes Younger Brother

Mercedes has descended upon the Nürburgring with their new GLK compact crossover. The new W204 C-Class-based sport-ute did some hot laps with a BMW X3, which will be its primary competitor, and our sources say that the GLK appeared to hold its own in the track day duel.

Since the "K" in GLK stands for kleine (German for small), the name implies that this car is a smaller version of the GL-Class. True to form, the GLK's styling takes many cues from the Mercedes' large GL-class sport-utility. The GLK won't rival a Land Rover LR2 for serious off-road prowess, but the extra ground clearance should provide a sufficient off-road capability when combined with Mercedes' 4matic four-wheel-drive system. Expect the usual range of C-Class engines to be on offered in the GLK.The exact launch date for the GLK is not clear.

A September unveiling in Frankfurt may be too early, which would leave the Los Angeles, Detroit, or Geneva auto shows as other potential launch events for the GLK to make its official bow.Next SUV to be released will be the little brother of the GL, the smaller GLK, based on the new C-Class Station wagon 4-matic.

Mercedes decided to join the group of smaller luxury SUVs that has been BMW X3 domain for the last years. And with Audi also developing a small SUV, the Q5, it will be crowded in that class. Power is expected to come from four and six cylinder engines, both petrol and diesel and later on there could be a V8 powered GLK 55 AMG version too.

All versions are expected to have the 7 G-Tronic, TouchShift automatic transmissions. The GLK will be built in Bremen/Germany alongside the C-Class, rather then in the US plant that builds the ML and GL. The price is expected to start at about 35.000 Euros or £20,000 when it will hit the showrooms in late 2008.

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