MONTVALE, N.J. – The Mercedes-Benz GLK, a compact SUV, goes on sale in January 2009 in 4Matic four-wheel-drive form. A rear-drive version will come over from Mercedes’ Bremen factory in April 2009. Both 2010 models will carry a base price “with a 3 in it,” Mercedes execs said, according to But while the Audi Q5 bears a striking resemblance to the larger Q7, the GLK most resembles a Benz’ seven-passenger GL-Class. When it comes to size, though, the GLK will be the smallest activity-oriented vehicle in the company’s lineup as its interior space is less than that of the C-Class Wagon.

But the GLK sits higher, with a higher driving position and more vertical volume than the C-Class Wagon. The coefficient of drag is 0.35.

U.S. versions of the GLK will come only with a 3.5L V-6 with 268 horsepower, a seven-speed automatic, and an interior dressed in burled walnut at launch. The gas-powered version hits 60 mph in about 6.7 seconds, according to company estimates. Other engine options are a possibility, including the likelihood of a version of the 2.0L diesel that will be the mainstay powertrain for the GLK in Europe.