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January 09, 2008

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Vision GLK FREESIDE: A new character conquers the SUV world

Stuttgart / Detroit - GLK – a combination of letters that has specific connotations. The “G” alludes to the archetypal cross-country vehicle, the “L” intimates luxury and, as in other Mercedes model series, the “K” stands for compactness (German: Kompaktheit). At first sight these three aspects may appear to be mutually incompatible. But on closer inspection they offer the perfect combination as Mercedes-Benz takes its SUV expertise and launches it in a whole new dimension – in the exciting Vision GLK FREESIDE. In January 2008 this compact character will be making its world debut at the Detroit Auto Show, providing a vision of the shape of SUVs to come.

The Vision GLK FREESIDE study, now close to series production, has a distinctive design and combines typical SUV characteristics such as robustness and off-road capability with refined motoring characteristics on “normal” roads.

The AGILITY CONTROL suspension ensures excellent handling dynamics and agility, coupled with excellent ride comfort and pioneering active safety. A high-strength bodyshell forms the backbone of this model and also ensures other key characteristics: the driving stability and virtual absence of vibration and noise, whatever the conditions, are compelling, and the passive safety, as you expect from the brand, is of the highest standard.

The economical and environmentally friendly new-generation BLUETEC four-cylinder engine, combined with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission and the new 4MATIC all-wheel drive, ensures highly appealing performance. The compact concept vehicle, measuring 4.52 metres in length, also boasts technology usually reserved for higher vehicle classes. Features not only include the anticipatory PRE-SAFE® safety concept and the Intelligent Light System (ILS), but also the intuitively controlled COMAND APS infotainment centre, a rear-seat entertainment system with two screens and THERMOTRONIC 3-zone automatic climate control.

Extremely attractive in stylistic terms, this vision of a future compact SUV, a vehicle packed with character, succeeds by combining the angular design of the original G-Class with typical design features from the contemporary Mercedes-Benz passenger car range. The interior of the Vision GLK FREESIDE complements the expressive body design and impresses with high-quality materials and an ergonomically coherent overall concept, instantly conveying that typical Mercedes ambience.

The Vision GLK FREESIDE is to undergo its first test of character at the NAIAS in Detroit. “The Vision GLK illustrates the logical way in which our extremely successful model strategy can be continued in the SUV segment,” commented Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG. Dr Zetsche has a very close connection with the compact and distinctive Vision GLK FREESIDE, based on his time as a vehicle developer back in the mid-1980s. One of Dr Zetsche’s areas of responsibility at that time was the development of the legendary G-Class. Looking back, he explained, “The needs profiles are different now. But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: if a Mercedes has a G in its name, it has to perform exceptionally in all conditions.”

Vision GLK FREESIDE: continuing a success story

Since the launch of the legendary G-Class in 1979, Mercedes-Benz has been a leader in the field of off-road vehicles. With the first generation of the ML-Class, which appeared in 1997, Mercedes-Benz marked out the contemporary sports utility vehicle segment. Including the latest generation of this model, which made its debut in 2005, this model series is one of the most successful premium SUVs in the world, with around 900,000 vehicles sold. The GL-Class in turn has occupied the top spot in the overall SUV world since 2006, its occupants travelling first-class whatever the conditions, whether on or off the road. The Vision GLK FREESIDE now demonstrates how the expertise garnered in the course of creating this sequence of models can be translated into compact format. The new compact character, in other words, is in the best of company – just like the production model, which is to be launched in autumn 2008.

Photos: Mercedes-Benz

(Jan 05, 2008)


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