The FINANCIAL -- According to Daimler, 'I love the GLK’s powerful design, not to mention its incredibly spacious trunk, its exceptional comfort and the fact that it’s a Mercedes,” comments Kim Cattrall, one of the four stars of hit TV show Sex And The City and celebrity guest of the Mercedes-Benz press conference at the 2008 NAIAS (North American International Auto Show), who brought more than just a hint of Hollywood glamour to the COBO Hall. The world-famous actress made her stage entrance in the “Vision GLK” SUV study, where she displayed an impressive familiarity with the subject. “After all, I am one of the few people who have already had the opportunity to gather a generous amount of hands-on experience with the future GLK,” says Kim Cattrall in conversation with Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Management Board of Daimler Benz AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
This is because the GLK, which goes on sale in this fall (January 2009 in U.S.), has an automotive starring role as a “rough and ready character” in “Sex And The City – The Movie”, which is currently being filmed and is due for release in May.
As an entry-luxury SUV, the future GLK adds a fifth model to the successful Mercedes-Benz SUV range, offering customers a new entry point into the world of Mercedes-Benz all-wheel drive and securing yet another growth market segment for the Stuttgart auto manufacturer. “The forthcoming GLK is the right vehicle at the right time,” says Dieter Zetsche. “Firstly, it possesses a highly individual design that is a clear departure from the segment norm. Secondly, it brings together the strengths of our full-size models within an entry-luxury format that also has benefits in terms of fuel consumption.” This intelligent “right-sizing” sees Mercedes-Benz achieve – in parallel with its BLUETEC initiative – a further contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions within the SUV segment.
Vision GLK with new four-cylinder diesel and BLUETEC
The SUV study is presented in two visually distinct versions – as the elegantly sporty “Vision GLK BLUETEC” with on-road focus, and in the distinctly robust off-road version. In essence, these two studies preview the production version of the all new GLK class, which will go on sale in the USJanuary 2009. The new GLK also sets it own benchmarks in terms of environmental sustainability and efficiency. “Both versions of the Vision GLK are equipped with our highly efficient 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and our all-new four-cylinder diesel engine – a power unit that is both economical and, thanks to BLUETEC, extremely clean”, explains Daimler’s Head of Technical Development Dr. Thomas Weber. “From its 2.2 liter displacement, this high-torque engine generates 204 hp and a world class torque of 369 lb ft that is available from as low down the rev range as 1,600 rpm.”
This takes the new four-cylinder into performance dimensions that were previously the domain of three-liter six-cylinder diesels and large displacement V8 gasoline engines – and combines this with exemplary fuel economy. Weber again, “All this is made possible by innovations exclusive to Mercedes. For example, the latest in common-rail injection, new piezo injectors for 2,000 bar injection pressure, as well as two-phase turbocharging.”
Continuation of the BLUETEC offensive with six and four-cylinder engines
With its new four-cylinder diesel, Mercedes-Benz is driving forward its BLUETEC offensive, which was successfully launched two years ago in the USA with the E Class. The E 320 BLUETEC, which was introduced in October 2006, initially in 45 states, was honored shortly afterwards as “World Green Car of the Year 2007” and has since gained approval for California and the other states adopting Californian emission standards. The second half of 2008 will see Mercedes launch – once again in the USA first – three 50-state approved diesel SUVs in the R, M and GL Class. Like the new four-cylinder, these six-cylinder models are also equipped with the even more efficient BLUETEC System with additional AdBlue injection and SCR catalyst. “This means”, says Thomas Weber, “that our powerful and economical SUVs, too, are so clean that they meet the requirements of all 50 U.S. states”.
New generation SLK Roadster – consumption down and power up
Passion for automobiles and environmental responsibility harmonize perfectly at Mercedes, as also demonstrated in Detroit by the second Mercedes world premiere – the new generation SLK Roadster. Among the outstanding innovations to be found in the newly updated two-seater is the redeveloped gas engine under the hood of the SLK 350. The result – even more driving pleasure with up to ten percent lower fuel consumption.
One true masterpiece is the new hi-revving 3.5 liter V6 sports engine due for introduction in the US and other international markets in April. In the SLK 350 it generates 300 hp, which is 32 hp more than its predecessor with 268 hp. Despite this significant power increase, the SLK 350 boasts notably lower fuel consumption. In the automatic version, gas mileage has been increased by 2 mpg to 27 mpg.
Updated design and new Direct-Steer
The updated design of the new generation SLK conveys even greater sporting character and dynamism. Exterior accents are set by the redesigned front spoiler with more distinctive treatment of the air intakes and the front grille V-element, as well as a new diffuser-look rear spoiler. The interior receives a boost through a host of new details and exquisite materials, while the cockpit layout increases its focus on the driver.
Visual accents are set by the new three-spoke sports steering wheel, which represents yet another technical innovation. The newly developed Direct-Steer system with variable power assistance brings together agility and responsiveness on winding country roads with greater ease during parking maneuvers and improved high-speed safety. Based on the proven principles of speed-sensitive power steering, Direct-Steer is a purely mechanical system resulting in more direct feedback and increased steering precision. With the wheel in a central position, the steering parameters are set more indirectly for increased straight-line stability and, therefore, improved safety at high speed. At steering angles upwards of five degrees, the ratio rapidly increases and the steering becomes noticeably more direct.
Since its market launch in 2004, the current SLK has become the world’s best-selling premium roadster in its class, with an industry-leading record in residual values. Its average market share is 30 percent. “The SLK has been a success story from the very start. The new generation model bears all the prerequisites for further consolidating this leading position”, comments Dieter Zetsche. “A more dynamic look, even better equipment and even more refined technology.”