Mercedes-Benz has started development on its upcoming BMW X6 rival, the MLC SUV. Maintaining the overall shape and bold styling of the Concept Coupé SUV seen at the Beijing motor show earlier, the MLC is scheduled to go into production during the second half of next year.
Although there is no clarity on most styling details, according to sources, Mercedes has incorporated the larger front grille and the more prominent company badge from the Concept Coupé SUV onto the production car. That means the shape of the MLC will be very different from the more practical M-class, and will likely appeal to the same style-conscious luxury car buyers BMW is targeting with the new X6, due on sale at the end of this year.
The same S-class coupé-inspired rear-end design is also expected on the upcoming SUV, including slim tail-lights and a more rounded rear screen and the licence plate incorporated into the lower bumper. The production car is likely to mirror the concept's dimensions, which measured 4935mm long, 20144mm wide, with a height of 1739mm. That would make the MLC longer, wider and higher than the current X6.
A range of direct-injection petrol engines are likely to power the MLC, including the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol V6 unit seen on the Concept Coupé SUV. With 328bhp and 48.9kgm of torque, the MLC should also be more powerful than the equivalent current X6. Drive will be sent through a nine-speed automatic transmission, with a steering column-mounted shift stalk.
Mercedes' 4Matic four-wheel drive system will also feature – alongside brake energy recuperation and automatic stop/start systems – up to five driving modes, thanks to a new 'Dynamic Select Control' system.