Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a near-production concept for its forthcoming compact SUV, the GLK, at an exclusive preview attended by company leaders in Stuttgart — and backed it up with details of all its new models for 2008, including a new-look CLC (C-class Compact) and mid-life ‘refresher’ versions of five other models, including improved SL and SLK sports cars and A- and B-class compact saloons.
Mercedes GLK: still no right-hand drive
In a rapidly expanding segment containing many new compact SUVs styled to disguise their bulk, the GLK, which is about 25cm shorter than the full-sized M-class, has almost Jeep-like styling, with prominent, squared wheelarches and generally aggressive lines. “We are new to the market,” says Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche, “and we were anxious not to produce a me-too product. Our car had to stand out. And the car has had a very good reception from customers who have seen it so far.”The car, which will be seen in two distinct guises (Street/Sporty and Offroad) won’t come to the UK because the forward driveshaft of its 4Matic drive system can’t be acommoated with a right-hand steering system. “We’re desperate to have the car, and the problem could be beaten,” says a Mercedes UK spokesman, “but other right hand-drive markets aren’t as sophisticated as ours, and the work isn’t seen as cost effective.” The GLK will be launched with two petrol V6 engine options, a 2.8 and a 3.8, and two diesel options, a V6 and an all-new ultra-economical 2.2-litre four-pot, which will come into other small and middle-sized Mercs later.