Mercedes-Benz’s second-generation GLK SUV has been spotted testing on international roads. Expected to make its debut at the Detroit motor show 2015, the new SUV has been developed in a joint engineering programme with the fourth-generation C-class, available in international markets, and shares crucial elements of that car’s platform, drivelines and technical features.
Codenamed X253, the new high-riding Mercedes aims to provide stiff competition to the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and the upcoming Land Rover Discovery Sport.
First used on the latest C-class, the new GLK’s modular platform provides scope for the production of both left and right-hand-drive variants thanks to a newly engineered driveshaft arrangement for the front wheels that preserves right-hand footwell space.
"With the adoption of the new platform, we will be able to offer both formats," a senior Mercedes official revealed. "The second-generation model will be a central pillar in our plans to increase worldwide sales, particularly in right-hand-drive markets that have so far been denied to the GLK."
Stylistically, the latest GLK is a radical departure from its predecessor. Gone are the square-edged military vehicle-inspired lines. They have been replaced by a much more expressive exterior design that has strong links to the latest C-class, with more heavily raked screen angles.
The SUV retains a five-door body, and the sleeker styling also extends to the five-seat cabin. There is a swoopy dashboard with a free-standing multimedia monitor too. The steering wheel, instruments, switchgear, trim and seats are all according to the latest Mercedes design. With a longer wheelbase and wider tracks, the second-generation SUV is claimed to offer greater interior accommodation than its predecessor, although there are no plans for a third row of seats. Boot capacity is also said to have risen above 450 litres of the current left-hand-drive-only model.
The GLK will be sold with a range of longitudinally mounted in-line four-cylinder and V6 petrol and diesel engines, all brought over from the new C-class range. The turbocharged petrol and diesel engines will be mated to either a standard seven or nine-speed automatic gearbox. Buyers will also be offered a choice of rear or four-wheel drive depending on the engine they choose. Although conceived to excel on the road, Mercedes plans to provide the GLK with similar off-road attributes to those of the current model.
It is also understood that the GLK will be rebadged as GLC as part of a new nomenclature system, which looks to position the GLK as the C-class of the Merc SUV line-up.