The Mercedes MLC has been spotted, and the spyshots appear to show Mercedes putting a current ML through its paces at the Nürburgring, but they actually show a test mule for the company’s X6 rival – tipped to be called the Mercedes MLC.
These spy pictures give you an idea of how the car could look; it’ll be a little longer, wider and lower than the ML. That’s why the test car’s wheels are pushed out wider, beneath extended wheelarches. The Mercedes MLC is also likely to be a strict four-seater, which is why the test mule has been fitted with a pair of race seats and little else inside.
What you can’t see from the pictures is that this car was spied testing alongside a number of current BMW X6s – indicating that the handling and powertrain performance will be closely benchmarked with the BMW.
The Mercedes MLC is scheduled for a 2015 release date and is expected to feature a sharper, more assertive look than the ML on which it’s based. There will be a large front grille, flared wheelarches and a curved crease in the side, as on the new S-Class, plus it will feature a gently sloping, coupé-style roofline. Inside, expect a plusher version of the ML’s layout, with sports seats and a greater range of customisation for the interior trim and fittings.
The MLC is expected to be offered with Mercedes’ latest safety technology too, including the option of adaptive LED lights, adaptive cruise control and autobrake. All models will be four-wheel drive, while the engine range will mirror the ML line-up. That means four and six-cylinder diesels will be available, with the potential for a petrol V6 should there be sufficient demand.
Mercedes will also offer a performance hybrid model that’s likely to combine 0-62mph in less than six seconds with fuel economy in excess of 40mpg.
The only transmission on the Mercedes MLC is expected to be the new 9G-Tronic nine-speed auto. And as this can cope with up to 1,000Nm of torque, it will also be used on an MLC 63 AMG, powered by the firm’s 5.5-litre bi-turbo V8. Topping the range could be a 6.0-litre V12 MLC 65 AMG.