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Benz GLK here within a year

Latecomer: The Mercedes GLK is Australia-bound, but only in rear drive.

Mercedes-Benz ready to release its first mid-size luxury SUV here inside 12 months

22 Jun 2009

MERCEDES-BENZ will belatedly release its GLK-class crossover in Australia by mid-2010.

Although right-hand drive production of the mid-sized luxury SUV, which has been available in the US and Europe since October 2008, is yet to be confirmed by Daimler, GoAuto understands a rear-wheel-drive version of the GLK will be made available to RHD markets including Australia early next year.

Re-engineering a RHD/RWD version of the smaller sibling to the M-class and GL-class SUVs is understood to require an expensive relocation of the transfer case – hence the RHD GLK will be a rear-drive-only proposition.

“Yes, we will get it,” said Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior corporate communications manager David McCarthy of the GLK. “We’re moving forward on it – it is a gap in our range. The right-hand drive version is a work in progress.” Mr McCarthy said the RWD GLK, which will be unique in its class, will “put the sport back into SUV”, but admitted it is unlikely to be more affordable than key rivals such as BMW’s X3, which is priced from $62,200 as a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, Audi’s new Q5 (from $59,900), Volvo’s XC60 (from $64,950) and Land Rover’s Freelander (from $49,990), which will soon undergo a 2010 model-year upgrade.

Mr McCarthy said GLK pricing would start beyond $60,000 in Australia, where about 100 sales a month were anticipated. The X3 narrowly remained Australia’s most popular mid-sized luxury SUV with 440 sales to May this year, followed by the Q5 (417 sales), Freelander (346) and XC60 (341).

4 center imageThe GLK range comprises the entry-level GLK220 CDI 4Matic BlueEfficiency, the GLK320 CDI 4Matic, the GLK280 4Matic and the GLK350 4Matic. Apart from all-wheel drive, all models also come with a seven-speed automatic transmission as standard.

Australia’s rear-drive GLK line-up, however, is expected to comprise two four-cylinder engine variants, headlined by a new turbo-petrol engine in the GLK250 CGI, which will be added to the global GLK menu later this year.

The GLK250 CGI’s new turbocharged 1.8-litre inline four-cylinder petrol engine will arrive here in late September in the new Mercedes-Benz E-class sedan, in which it produces 150kW and 310Nm of torque.

Mated to a five-speed automatic transmission in the 1650kg E250 CGI, it can return fuel consumption of 7.3L/100km and CO2 emissions of 174g/km, plus 0-100km/h acceleration in 7.8 seconds.

The GLK250 CDI turbo-diesel, meantime, should employ the same 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel as the E250 CDI, which delivers 150kW and 500Nm, but despite weighing 1735kg still returns 6.0L/100km, 159g/km and 0-100km/h acceleration in 7.4 seconds.

The heavier GLK250 CDI should still return less than 7.0L/100km (the fuel-saving GLK220 BlueEfficiency returns 6.9L/100km and 183g/km of CO2), making it exempt from luxury car tax.

The GLK is produced only at Mercedes-Benz’s Bremen plant in Bremen, Germany. Other RHD destinations for it will include the UK, Japan, Thailand, South Africa and New Zealand.

Read more:

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Detroit show: Benz GLK not coming Down Under

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Beijing show: Mercedes greets GLK

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