Future Mercedes-Benz Models

Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

Scheduled to go on sale this fall in Europe and early next year in North America and China, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GLK is an all-new compact SUV. It joins the G, GL, ML and R-Class in the company's rapidly expanding utility-vehicle portfolio. Mercedes says the concept shown at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show is "close to series production." Built on C-Class underpinnings, the GLK sports a seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, plus 4Matic all-wheel drive. The production model will offer U.S. buyers a choice of V6 gas engines and eventually a diesel. Technical highlights include adaptive headlamps, driver-adjustable suspension, speed-sensitive power steering, electronic stability program, automatic slip reduction and downhill speed regulation.

Mercedes-Benz SLC

When you're trying to fly under the radar, Viper bodywork is usually not the way to do it. Apparently the engineers at AMG see it a little differently. Maybe it's because the mule they were working on in Death Valley is an early version of the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLC, a supercar that no one will ever confuse with the Dodge Viper. A successor to the current Mercedes-Benz SLR built by McLaren, the SLC is a collaboration between Mercedes AMG and HWA, an outside engineering firm that builds the Mercedes DTM racing cars. HWA is also owned by Hans Werner Aufrecht, one of AMG's founders, so the construction of the SLC is about as close to an in-house project as you can get. Like the SLR, the SLC will have its traditional proportions with a long nose and short deck. Judging by the wheelbase of this test mule, the SLC could be as outlandishly large as the current SLR. It's hard to miss the giant drilled rotors shining in the desert sun, and the wheels and tires look as if they meet exotic specifications as well. The rest of this test mule is nothing more than a place to sit for the engineers, so the other visible details don't tell us much. Like the SLR McLaren, the new car's power will come from an AMG-engineered V8 like the SLR, but we don't expect to see a supercharger or a pair of turbos, as AMG seems to be moving toward naturally aspirated engines. Even without the help of forced induction, expect to see as much as 600 horsepower from a 6.2-liter V8. With that much power, the V8 might be too much for Mercedes' 7Gtronic automatic, so AMG might have to look elsewhere for a transmission with more than five speeds. Production is still a ways off - probably not until late 2010 at the earliest - so there's plenty of development time left before this project reaches its conclusion. In the meantime, don't be surprised to see a concept version of the Mercedes-Benz SLC in the next year or two. We're guessing it won't look anything like a Viper.

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