Announced from 2011, Mercedes MLC was recently previewed by the Concept Coupe SUV at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show and few days ago a pre-production prototype has been spotted on the road.
In July 2011, Project C166 was approved at a Daimler board meeting. Project C166 is the codename of a Mercedes SUV coupe in BMW X6 style based on the platform of actual ML. Then, Mercedes shows Concept Coupe SUV at Beijing motor show in april this year, previewing the future SUV coupe based on ML which should use MLC name. But according to the new philosophy of Mercedes model names, ML will be rebadged GLE after facelift and MLC will start as a GLE Coupe.
A pre-production prototype of the model has been spotted on the road some days ago. Like in case of BMW X6, C166 will have an original body which will not share any exterior panels with ML.
Looking to these spy pictures, it seems that the production model is going to look something like 90 percent identical to the concept, with only a couple of stylistic details to differ between the final car and the Concept Coupe SUV.
Mercedes still hide the frame of the windows, the third lateral window and a part of the rear screen. Pictures looks tricky because create the impression that the doors will no longer sport the frameless windows that the concept car exhibited. But a luxury Mercedes coupe with four doors like CLS and all other two doors Mercedes Coupes has frameless windows and this solution was adopt also by BMW X6, the main and until now the only competitor of ML coupe.
Regarding rear part, it seems that rear screen will follow the bold aesthetic of the concept car. You can also spot a couple of differences when it comes to the wheels, the front bumper and the rearview mirrors, but overall the MLC should pretty much look like a more down to Earth Concept Coupe SUV.
The engine range will be taken over from actual ML. For Europe, diesels will play an important role with 2,1 litre bi-turbo 204 HP (MLC 250 BlueTec) and V6 3 litre 258 HP (MLC 350 BlueTec) but the new 3 litre bi-turbo V6 with 333 CP (MLC 400) and 4.6 litre V8 bi-turbo with 408 HP (MLC 500) are also expected in the petrol range. For USA, we expect the same engine like for the concept from Beijing – the V6 3 litre biturbo with 329 HP .
Top of the range will be the MLC 63 AMG with 5.5 litre turbocharged engine. Taking into consideration that MLC is positioned more sporty than ML, Active Curve System (ACS) from ML and GL which reduce the body roll in curves will also be available.
MLC will be build alongside the ML, GL and C-Class at the Tuscaloosa plant in Alabama, USA.
The MLC will most likely be unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, with production to commence at the beginning of next year as well.