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Detroit show: Benz GLK not coming Down Under

White-out: Australia is trying to revise the GLK business case.

Mercedes unveils its compact SUV but keeps the door shut on RHD markets

14 Jan 2008

MERCEDES-BENZ has rolled out its long-anticipated compact SUV at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but executives from the German manufacturer have confirmed to GoAuto that there is still no plan for the vehicle to be built in right-hand drive.

Australian executives hope this situation might change for our expanding SUV market, but do not expect a right-hand drive GLK to arrive until an updated model is introduced at least two to three years from now.

The mini G-Class goes on sale in the US in the September quarter.

4 center imageMercedes showed two versions of the GLK in Detroit – the Freeside, which emphasises its off-road potential, and the Townside, which highlights its on-road performance.

Both models ride on the German manufacturer’s “agility control” suspension (the Townside is 30mm lower and has sports tuning) and 20-inch light-alloy wheels.

The two GLK show cars also showcase a new-generation Bluetec four-cylinder common-rail turbo-diesel engine, which in this application is a 125kW 2.2-litre unit. The oil-burner is paired with the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission and the latest 4Matic 4WD, the latter with a 45:55 front/rear torque split.

The Freeside has detachable body parts and undercarriage protection, but based on our reading of the initial details there is not much more serious off-road hardware such as low-range gearing.

Both are fitted with the high level of features expected from the brand, such as the Pre-Safe anticipatory safety system, the full gamut of airbags (including a knee bag for the driver), a range of electronic handling devices, intelligent lighting and three-zone climate control air-conditioning.

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