The Vision GLK FREESIDE and Vision GLK TOWNSIDE are two breeds of the same vehicle which are set to take the SUV world by storm. Both of these studies are celebrating their world premiere at the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. Whereas the Vision GLK FREESIDE is an all-rounder that showcases the capabilities of today’s SUV vehicles both on and off the road, the TOWNSIDE version is designed to make its mark with dynamic performance on the tarmac. By presenting two such different profiles, Mercedes-Benz is seeking to demonstrate the tremendous potential of the compact SUV study.
The Vision GLK FREESIDE and Vision GLK TOWNSIDE provide a stylistic preview of a future compact SUV model bursting with character. What makes them just so fascinating is the way they fuse different design worlds. The two studies incorporate elements taken from the original angular design of the G-Class, whilst at the same time impressing with design features typical of today’s Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. Both stem from the same gene pool, yet each distinguishes itself with a personality all of its own. In the words of Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG: “The Vision GLK FREESIDE and TOWNSIDE reveal new possibilities for the logical progression of our extremely successful model strategy in the SUV segment.”
The FREESIDE and TOWNSIDE take trademark SUV characteristics, such as solidity and off-road capability, and unite them with refined motoring culture on “regular” roads. In both cases, the agility control suspension promises exceptional driving dynamics and agility, coupled with exemplary ride comfort plus pioneering standards of active safety. The GLK FREESIDE version brings the off-road abilities more to the fore with its special detachable body parts and rugged underride guard, while the Vision GLK TOWNSIDE with sports suspension unleashes its strengths in tarmac terrain. Forming the backbone of both variants is a highly robust bodyshell that forms a solid basis for a number of other key characteristics too: handling stability as well as vibration and acoustic comfort, which are equally as impressive under all driving conditions, plus passive safety, which is up to the brand’s usual impeccably high standard.
Responsive performance is guaranteed in both model versions regardless of the conditions thanks to the latest generation of economical and eco-friendly BLUETEC four-cylinder drive units under the bonnet, which operate in unison with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission and the new 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The compact-sized concept models also feature a number of technical highlights which are normally the preserve of the more exclusive vehicle categories. Quite apart from the PRE-SAFE anticipatory safety concept and the ILS Intelligent Light System, these include the COMAND APS infotainment centre with its intuitive operating concept, a rear-seat entertainment system including two screens, plus THERMOTRONIC 3-zone automatic climate control.
The interiors of the two studies match the expressive design of the exterior, and present an enticing mix of high-grade materials plus an ergonomically coherent overall concept. Both instantly convey that characteristic Mercedes feel of wellbeing, but interpret it in two completely different styles. The Vision GLK FREESIDE immerses its occupants in an ambiance of luxury and comfort, with white leather appointments and wood trim elements in a matte finish. The light aquamarine leather upholstery and brushed aluminum trim elements in the interior of the TOWNSIDE, on the other hand, set a more sporty tone.