It´s still top secret, but there is a 99 percent chance that the new Mercedes GLK will be available in right-hand drive form by mid-2010. CAR Online has spoken to a senior engineer on the programme and has the inside line on Merc's junior 4x4 - a shrunken, and rather angular, mini M-class.
It would be the first right-hooker M-B passenger car with 4-Matic, paving the way for future 4WD versions of the C-class and the next E-class. The project engineer we spoke to, who preferred not to be named, said: 'We looked at the numbers, and we listened to the importers. There is clearly demand for the GLK from such high-margin markets as the UK, Japan and Australia. Trouble is, converting the hardware costs about €50m and it will take approximately two years.'
A right-hand drive GLK: not an easy job...
'Sadly, it´s not simply a matter of swapping driveshafts and adding a diff,' added our tame engineer. 'Due to packageing constraints, and since the uni-directional helical gear currently drives the front wheels from the right-hand side of the transmission housing, we need to develop a new application offset to the left which will likely be chain-driven.
'Of course, it makes sense to look at the big picture and to include the C-class, the next E-class and all derivatives in this advanced 4-Matic
If the proposal gets approved, the first rhd GLK mules will leave the prototype shop later this year.
To read our previous scoops on the GLK, click here
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