Spy pics have emerged of the forthcoming Mercedes GLK, the company's compact SUV, and answer to the BMW X3 and Audi's coming Q5.
The images were shot last Sunday on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills during the filming of the movie-version of the Sex And The City soap opera. Besides the car, you can see Kim Cattrall - one of the four main actresses getting into the GLK.
Who shrunk the GL?
At first sight the new GLK looks like a disguised GL, but in reality it is considerably smaller than Mercedes' gargantuan SUV flagship. The GLK moniker allegedly refers to this being a "short version GL" as K is a diminutive of the German "kurz," meaning short.
It retains the current Mercedes design language and styling cues in the form of large, imposing grille, and geometric lines with strong side creases running across the top and middle of the door-line.
Most GLK components are set to be carried over from all-new Mercedes C-class, which has heralded a move in Mercedes design to more responsive chassis and an enhanced dynamic driving experience.
GLK is expected to debut as a 2009 launch model at the Frankfurt auto show next year.
Power is expected to come from a 3.5-liter V6 producing 200kW and 350Nm and driving through the Mercedes 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, while the C-Class 3-litre V6 turbodiesel producing 165kW and 510Nm seems a natural partner in the engine range.
Rear-wheel drive only versions are also rumoured, featuring 2.2-litre turbodiesel and 3-litre V6 petrol power.
All versions are expected the sophisticated 7G-Tronic TouchShift automatic transmission, which should ensure a potent blend of performance and economy thanks to the surfeit of ratios.
An obligatory and insane V8-powered GLK63 AMG version is expected to follow soon after the GLK is launched.
While the U.S. is slowly moving away from big SUVs, Mercedes is losing market share to small SUVs like the BMW X3. The new GLK is critical to Mercedes strategy with regards to keeping SUV sales buoyant in a vacillating market.