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Car of the Week: Mercedes MLC

Next year the German company will launch a new luxury crossover that will bring a big helping of bling to the practical SUV sector.


New Mercedes-Benz Coup�� SUV

JUST AS you thought the world was safe from oversized Chelsea tractors, Mercedes has come storming back with this, the MLC (ML coupé). Next year the German company will launch a new luxury crossover that will bring a big helping of bling to the practical SUV sector.

Previewed here in concept form, it features an extravagant four-door body with a coupé-style low roofline that is built on the rough ’n’ tough underpinnings of the company’s ML 4×4.

The new model will take Mercedes into the niche territory that is currently the preserve of BMW’s X6. The X6 is a particular favourite with Russian oligarchs, and can often be spotted parking with all the subtlety of a ram raid on the congested streets of Knightsbridge.

Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler and head of Mercedes, revealed the MLC at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting, saying: “We aim to secure new customers by opening up new segments for Mercedes-Benz.”

The MLC will dwarf popular SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai. The cabin will seat five, and a wide range of four-cylinder, V6 and V8 petrol and diesel engines will be offered, in addition to a hybrid model.

In an effort to make the MLC handle more like a sports car than an off-roader, Mercedes is said to be fitting it with the Magic Body Control suspension system, first seen on the S-class, the company’s flagship. A novel feature is active curve tilting, which in effect leans the car into a bend, much like a motorbike. The advantage for such a heavy vehicle as the MLC would be to make it feel more like a speedboat than an ocean liner.

Prices are likely to start from £50,000. The concept makes its debut at the Beijing motor show next weekend.

Factfile

Price:
£50,000-£90,000 (estimated)

Engine range:
4-cylinder, V6, V8 and petrol/electric hybrid

Release date:
On sale 2015