Mercedes-Benz Prepares Lineup Of "On-Road" SUVs
The arrival of the Concept Coupe SUV created a nice little conundrum for Mercedes. The strong reception the Concept Coupe SUV received when it debuted at the Beijing Auto Show put Mercedes in a position to expand its SUV lineup. Now, the German automaker is considering doing just that by separating its SUV offerings to include a separate line for "on-road" SUVs.
The Concept Coupe SUV made that possible and it does look like Mercedes is seriously considering creating a line of coupe-styled SUVs that will differ from the ones that have off-road capabilities.
Speaking to Automotive News, Mercedes’ research & development chief Thomas Weber expressed the company’s thoughts of creating a four-door, coupe-styled model that will "appeal to customers who want a sporty-designed vehicle with a high seating position."
By taking this path, Mercedes would have a vehicle that would directly rival the BMW X6, which seems to have been the whole point of developing the Coupe Concept SUV. The production version of the concept, dubbed the ’MLC-Class’, is being touted as the company’s first foray into the "on-road" SUV segment, which could also include a coupe-styled version of the GLA compact SUV further down the road.
No timetable has been set on when the production version of the Concept Coupe SUV will be launched, but development is expected to commence next year the company’s plant in Alabama.
It’ll be interesting how much of the design of the Concept Coupe SUV will translate to the production version, but one thing we can be sure of is that it will retain its coupe-like design. That is, after all, the whole purpose of creating a separate "on-road" SUV lineup.
Click past the jump to read more about the Mercedes Coupe Concept.
Why It Matters
It matters because the BMW X6 has pretty much owned the coupe-styled SUV market since it made its debut in 2008. Not that the X6 is an overwhelming success, but Mercedes still wants a slice of BMW’s pie and if the production version of the Concept Coupe SUV proves to be a hit as we expect it to be, Mercedes will have a strong vehicle that may make the X6 sweat.
The arrival of a production version of the Concept Coupe SUV isn’t so much a question of ’if’ as it is ’when’. That much was bared by Mercedes CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche when he told Auto Express earlier this month that the whole objective of developing the concept was grounded on its intention to "secure new customers by opening up new segments for Mercedes-Benz."
The arrival of the Concept Coupe SUV at the Beijing Auto Show further strengthened the company’s position. In a word, the concept looked absolutely stunning. A steeply raked windshield flows rearward into the fast-falling rear roof section. The rear window pulls from the ‘rounded top’ look from the Mercedes Mercedes design handbook found on its other vehicles. The rear deck lid slopes from the rear window and quickly turns upward into an integrated spoiler. The wide taillight fixture stretches from one side of the SUV to the other, comprised of LED lights organized in an elegant design. Continuing down is a fluid-looking rear bumper with integrated chrome-tipped tailpipes.
Performance numbers weren’t disclosed but with the X6 in its sights, the production version of the Concept Coupe SUV, tentatively dubbed the ’MLC’, will likely receive the same 4.6-liter, twin-turbo V-8 from the ML550, one that nets 402 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. A massive 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V-8 from the ML63 AMG is also a possibility and this one has an impressive 518 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque on top.
With either engine option, the MLC would definitely give the BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne a run for their money.
Source: Automotive News