Mercedes will introduce a coupe-SUV crossover rival for the BMW X6 in 2015, Autocar understands. The German luxury giant confirmed today that “an entirely new Mercedes-Benz model” would roll off the production line at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant in four years’ time as part of a $350 million (about £220m) investment.
Although the exact model to be built at the plant has not been named by Mercedes, the choice of the Tuscaloosa plant to build it is a significant one. This plant is home to the new ML model, which Autocar revealed in June would be spawning a sporty four-seat variant called GLS, although the MLC name remains a possibility.
“This new model from the Tuscaloosa plant is an important element of our growth strategy,” said Mercedes chief Dieter Zetsche. “It is one of the ten additional models which we will introduce within the next four years alone across all segments.”
The GLS will forgo the practicality of the five-seat M-class for a more sporting four-seat interior, with a racier roofline and styling cues from the CLS saloon.
The obvious competitor is the BMW X6, which has been a surprise success with 120,000 sold worldwide since 2009, but it will also face competition in the shape of a new Audi Q6, planned for 2016. And a new Range Rover Sport will be on sale in 2013/14.
Further details are scarce, but powertrains should include turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 and 4.6 V8 petrols, plus a 3.0 V6 diesel. Also planned is a diesel-electric hybrid. Crowning the new line-up will be a BMW X6 M-rivalling model from AMG with a turbocharged 5.5-litre V8.