Mercedes-Benz has released technical details and launch dates for its new compact SUV - the GLK - set to debut in concept form at the Detroit motor show this month.
Currently referred to as the Vision GLK Freeside in company parlance, the new production compact SUV is set to merge the best traditional G-series off-road values with contemporary Mercedes on-road comfort.
Living up to the compact SUV billing, the Freeside is just 4.5 metre in length, yet features many of the latest Mercedes-Benz technologies.
Features not only include the anticipatory Pre-Safe safety concept and the Intelligent Light System (ILS), but also the intuitively controlled Comand APS infotainment centre, a rear-seat entertainment system with two screens and Thermotronic 3-zone automatic climate control.
Mercedes intimates large approach and departure angles plus good ground clearance make off-roading child's play, yet are mum about exact details.
The Vision GLK Freeside does look the business with angular styling echoing the original G-series off-roaders and odd, special effect "diamond-white magno" paintwork.
Unlike conventional metallic paintwork, a matte clearcoat protects the surface here. The detachable body parts, in gloss sterling silver, produce a charming contrast and give the study an even more exclusive look.
The interior features a Comand APS controller placed on the driver's armrest allowing the control individual menus, following the highly familiar control logic used in the S-Class.
Additional shortcut buttons make it easier to access the most important main functions of the infotainment system.
Entertained and cosseted, occupants are protected by a comprehensive safety concept too, based on a high-strength passenger cell and energy-absorbing deformation zones at the front and rear.
The protective programme includes front airbags, sidebags and windowbags, plus a kneebag for the driver and crash-responsive head restraints.
The Vision GLK Freeside is powered by a new-generation diesel engine. The four-cylinder unit, with a 2.2-liter displacement, has an output of 125 kW, plus reduced consumption and reduced emissions.
Technical features of the extremely compact and smooth CDI powerplant with rear camshaft drive include fourth-generation common-rail direct injection with an injection pressure of 2,000 bar and a two-stage turbocharger system.
Bluetec technology ensures the greatest possible reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions. In addition to an oxidising catalytic converter and a maintenance-free particulate filter, an SCR catalytic converter is also used.
AdBlue, a harmless, aqueous urea solution, is injected into the exhaust gas stream. This converts up to 80 percent of the nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water.
Vision GLK Freeside features a 4Matic drivetrain that ensures a 45:55 basic distribution of the drive torque between the front and rear axle. ESP, ASR and 4ETS dynamic handling control systems ensure a balance of dynamics and safety under all road conditions.
A "G" button in the centre console activates a special transmission mode which varies the 7G-Tronic's shift points, adjusts to "softer" accelerator characteristics and activates the ESP's off-road function.
A manual shift mode is also available - gears are changed using the shift paddles behind the steering wheel.
Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR), which automatically maintains a pre-selected speed on steep downhill inclines, can also be called into action for extreme descents.
Vision GLK Freeside's Agility Control suspension features active damping that Mercedes calls "amplitude-dependent damping". This allows the damping forces of the shock absorber to respond flexibly rather than lineally.
In normal driving mode on moderately contoured roads, or on slow off-road tours, the system responds softly, enhancing both the comfort of the occupants and the off-road capability.
To ensure comfort is retained in the face of hard driving or abrupt evasion manoeuvres, in these situations the dampers deliver a harder performance, ensuring optimum driving stability.
Production models are to be launched in Europe in the third quarter of 2008, followed by the US in January 2009.