Mercedes-Benz has revealed its facelifted GLK compact SUV ahead of the car’s official unveiling at this year’s New York Auto Show. Although this model remains an LHD-only proposition, it appears that Mercedes-Benz has seen the errors of its ways and is in the process of offering right-hand drive for the next-gen model.
The facelifted car features a re-styled nose with LED-accented headlamps, revised foglamps and new taillamps. A new diesel engine also joins the GLK line-up in the guise of a twin-turbo 2,1-litre unit earmarked for the GLK250 CDI BlueTec 4Matic. Developing 150 kW and a whacking great 500 N.m of torque, this engine will be joined by the recently updated 3,5-litre V6 currently doing service in the facelifted C-Class (225 kW/369 N.m).
All good and well, you may be thinking, but because it remains left-hand drive it remains tantalizingly out of our grasp. That may not be the case for too long as Mercedes is looking to rectify the situation.
Because the current GLK is underpinned by the C-Class platform, its design was constrained by the fact that the all-wheel drive C-Class models featured a front-wheel drive shaft that would have intruded into the GLK’s right-hand footwell when used in that application. A right-hand drive solution would have necessitated significant and expensive modifications to the floorpan and drivetrain rectify.
Having watched the likes of Audi and BMW gobbling up the premium compact SUV market with the Q5 and X3, Mercedes-Benz has admitted that it made a mistake by going LHD-only with the GLK and is now in the process of ensuring that the underpinnings of the next-generation all-wheel drive C-Class models (due in 2014) will be engineered to accommodate both LHD and RHD set-ups.
The next car, codenamed X205, is currently under development and will emerge in 2015.
With regards to local availability, we recently spoke with a Mercedes-Benz SA spokesperson who stated that there had been a great deal of vociferous demand for an RHD GLK from Australia and South Africa. Pending development and homologation costs, there is a good chance that the next-gen GLK will find its way here during the course of 2015.