It will battle against the likes of the BMW X1 and Land Rover LRX in the brand new premium mini-SUV segment. It is also expected Audi will join the party with their rumoured Q3.

The lifespan of the Mercedes A and B class will soon be coming to an end, the poor effort by the automaker in their mid-cycle facelifts was enough evidence to realise that Mercedes had bigger plans for the bottom of their product portfolio.

These plans include a small soft roader which is expected to carry the label BLK, it is due for launch at the end of 2011 and will slot into Mercedes' product line up below the GLK. It will battle against the likes of the BMW X1 and Land Rover LRX in the brand new premium mini-SUV segment. It is also expected Audi will join the party with their rumoured Q3.

Mercedes are currently in discussions with BMW about co-developing the engines which would be used in both the BLK and BMW X1. A range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines are set to be offered, starting from a displacement of 1.6 liters rising to 2.2 liters. Optional four-wheel-drive will be available but the standard model is likely to offer just a front-wheel-drive system.

There is then the decision of what to do with the platforms of the current generation A-class and B-class. Rumours state up to three new models could be launched, one of these is expected to be a three door coupe based on the A class platform and there could even be an electrically powered model in the pipeline.

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