STUTTGART, GERMANY – Mercedes-Benz has released images of and details about its all-new GLK, a compact crossover vehicle that will compete head-to-head with the BMW X3 and upcoming Audi Q5, according to the Web site

Scheduled to go on sale this fall in Europe and early next year in North America and China, the five-passenger GLK will debut at the Detroit auto show as a concept called Vision GLK Freeside. It joins the G, GL, ML and R-Class in the company's rapidly expanding utility-vehicle portfolio. Mercedes says the concept is "close to series production."

Built on C-Class underpinnings, the GLK concept sports a seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, plus 4Matic all-wheel drive. The vehicle is powered by a 2.2L four-cylinder turbodiesel rated at 175 horsepower, and rides on 20-inch wheels and tires. The production model will offer U.S. buyers a choice of V-6 gas and diesel engines.

Technical highlights include adaptive headlamps, driver-adjustable suspension, speed-sensitive power steering, electronic stability program, automatic slip reduction and downhill speed regulation.

Among the features on the concept are a full complement of airbags — front, side, window and driver-side knee — as well as Mercedes' PreSafe system, three-zone automatic climate control, COMAND infotainment center and rear-seat entertainment system with twin screens.

The Vision GLK Freeside is painted diamond white magno with a matte clearcoat; detachable body parts are finished in gloss sterling silver. Inside, the vehicle is trimmed in black leather and contrasting matte white leather with black piping, chrome and wood accents.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials