The grand rehearsal at the beginning of this year already made heads turn, when the striking Vision GLK entered the SUV stage and was celebrated as a compact character actor marking a new design approach in this vehicle class. At the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz is going a step further and adding the Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID to the line-up. This study illustrates the possibilities of the “TrueBlueSolutions” strategy in the compact SUV segment, true to the guiding Mercedes-Benz theme of producing the world’s most efficient and clean drive systems. The Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID achieved this goal by combining the new BLUETEC four-cylinder diesel engine generation with a hybrid module. This combination generates an overall output of 165 kW/224 hp, and a torque of 560 Nm. Superior performance can be taken as read in view of these figures. And yet the Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID returns a fuel consumption of only 5.9 l per 100 km.
With its TrueBlueSolutions strategy, Mercedes-Benz is preparing the way for the introduction of the world’s most economical and clean vehicles. As in the case of the VISION GLK BLUETEC HYBRID, ultra-modern and efficient diesel engines with innovative BLUETEC emissions control, hybrid modules and intelligent energy management are among the centrepieces of this trailblazing generation of drive systems. The study for this compact characterful SUV has a combined output of 165 kW/224 hp and generates a combined torque of 560 newton metres, the world’s highest in this class. This enables the VISION GLK BLUETEC HYBRID to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds; its maximum speed is 215 km/h. Despite these performance figures, this multi-talented newcomer consumes an average of only 5.9 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres, and achieves the world’s lowest CO2 emissions in the SUV segment, with 157 grams per kilometre.
In conjunction with highly efficient BLUETEC emissions control and AdBlue injection, the GLK BLUETEC HYBRID meets the world’s most stringent exhaust emission limits, such as the American BIN5 and the European EU6 standards.
“With the refinement, driving pleasure, outstanding economy and effective environmental friendliness that is typical of our brand, the VISION GLK BLUETEC HYBRID ideally represents our ideas on future model generations in the world of SUVs”, says Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Corporate Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
Mixed double: state-of-the-art BLUETEC engine and hybrid module
In the hybrid drivetrain, a completely new four-cylinder CDI diesel unit with a displacement of 2.2 litres acts as the internal combustion engine. In terms of exhaust emissions technology, thanks to the latest BLUETEC technology with AdBlue injection, this diesel engine is already among the world’s very cleanest power units. The technical highlights of this extremely compact and refined CDI unit with a geared camshaft drive mounted on the flywheel side include fourth-generation common-rail direct injection with an injection pressure of 2000 bar, innovative piezoelectric injectors and a two-stage turbocharger system. The compact hybrid module – a disc-shaped electric motor between the CDI engine and the automatic transmission – improves both the environmental compatibility and the effectiveness of the drive system. The electric motor acts as both a generator and starter, and performs convincingly in two important respects: firstly it contributes decisively to fuel economy, and secondly it significantly enhances driving pleasure by virtue of the so-called boost effect.
The electric motor backs up the internal combustion engine during the fuel-intensive acceleration phase by contributing its maximum torque of 160 newton metres. As a result the occupants experience an effortless rush of power right from the start. In addition the system features a comfortable start-stop function which switches the engine off in certain circumstances – for example when the car is stopped at traffic lights.
The driver only needs to operate the accelerator in order to set off again. As the engine starts within milliseconds, the VISION GLK moves off with no delay. This direct starting also helps to minimise emissions and fuel consumption.
When it comes to braking, the procedures are reversed: the electric motor acts as a generator, feeding the electrical energy obtained by what is known as the “recuperation” process into an efficient yet compact lithium-ion battery. This energy can be retrieved when needed – for the next “boost” phase, for example. All these processes take place fully automatically, thanks to intelligent drive management.
Striking body design counters stylistic uniformity
With the VISION GLK BLUETEC HYBRID, a distinctive character is entering the SUV stage whose special appeal lies in a combination of the four-square original design of the legendary G-Class and the typical design features of today’s Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. Crisp lines and large taut body surfaces come together with the bodyshell characteristics of practical off-roaders, such as short overhangs, an upright front end, slim A-pillars, a steep windscreen and tight roof contours. For the first time, this body design enables typical off-roader advantages to be transferred to the more road-oriented, compact SUV class. An excellent view of the vehicle body and good all-round visibility go together with the raised seating position to enhance day-to-day suitability and ensure relaxed driving even in dense city traffic. The appealing design concept is reinforced by the special “alubeam blue” paint finish, whose incomparable depth further underlines the sporty aspects of the bodyshell design. Specially produced 20-inch light-alloy wheels and muscular wheel arches enhance the powerful aura of the Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID even further.
Interior: High-end atmosphere meets good ergonomics
The comfortable, high-quality interior of the Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID excels with a modern interpretation of surface styling, an impressive quality of materials and precise finishing. The dominant feature is the dashboard, which visually extends into the door panels, lending additional width to the generously dimensioned interior. An elegant, central section in brushed aluminium trim covers the entire width and divides the layout into three vertical levels. The upper section of the dashboard is lined in black leather, encompassing the instrument cluster and the fixed COMAND APS central display. The lower area of the interior and the seats accentuate the sporty nature of the study with leather upholstery and linings in a light shade of aquamarine, which echoes the colour effects of the “alubeam blue” exterior paintwork. Dark-blue piped seams provide a visually effective contrast. The driver’s armrest and the COMAND APS controller are located in ergonomically ideal positions.
The occupants are protected by a comprehensive safety concept based on an extremely rigid passenger cell and energy-absorbing deformation zones at the front and rear. In addition to airbags, sidebags and windowbags, the protective features include a driver kneebag and active head restraints.