With total disregard to the photographer standing a few meters away, the Mercedes engineers emerge and uncover the GLK prototypes. While the engineers chat, the anonymous photographer shoots away.

New pictures have emerged of the 2009 Mercedes GLK, the company's compact SUV, soon-to-be peer of the BMW X3 and Audi's coming Q5. At first glance the test car looks like a disguised GL, but in reality this prototype is considerably smaller than Mercedes' full-size sport-ute.

To give you a better idea of the GLK's size we have included in the photos below some never-seen-before shots of the GLK taken at Prague Airport. In addition to the entire prototype lineup including C-Class wagon, SL Facelift, and E-Class all present in the same parking lot, there are two GLK prototypes parked next to each other under car covers. With total disregard to the photographer standing a few meters away, the Mercedes engineers emerge and uncover the GLK prototypes. While the engineers chat, the anonymous photographer shoots away. What's special about these photos is that they give greater depth to the overall size of the vehicle when using the people standing and other cars parked nearby as a point of reference.

Translated, the name GLK means basically "short version of GL" as K is a diminutive of the German "kurz," meaning short. The GLK is using technical components from the all-new Mercedes C-class, and it will keep very close in design to the recently launched GL-Class. The GLK may debut as a 2009 model at the Frankfurt auto show in September 2007, while Geneva 2008 also remains a possibility.

Power is expected to come from a 3.5-liter V6 with Mercedes 4Matic all-wheel-drive standard. All versions are expected to have the 7G-Tronic TouchShift automatic transmission. Later on there could be a V8-powered GLK 63 AMG version. While the U.S. is slowly moving away from big SUVs, Mercedes is losing market share to small SUVs like the BMW X3. With this new GLK, Mercedes is hoping to get back on top again.

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