Mercedes decided to join the group of smaller luxury SUVs that has been BMW X3 domain for the last years. And with Audi also developing a small SUV, the Q5, it will be crowded in that class.

Expanding off-road line up

Mercedes is expanding their Off-road line up with two new models.

GL Bluetec

First one out will be the Bluetec version of the GL 420. Revealed as a concept at the Detroit Auto Show, Mercedes is now testing the real car in cold weather conditions. The production GL 420 Bluetec will keep the same big grille as on the concept, but the wider fender flares and the 21 inch wheels are not planned for the production. With the GL 420 Bluetec Mercedes shows that even large high-performance SUVs can offer economical fuel consumption and extremely low emissions. With its powerful V8 diesel delivering 290 bhp and 700 Nm of torque, the GL 420s anticipated fuel efficiency is just 9.8 litres per 100 km ( 24 mpg ). Seen here on these spy photos from Sweden, the bigger grille is disguised with some duct tape.

GLK

Next SUV to be released will be the little brother of the GL, the smaller GLK, based on the new C-Class Station wagon 4-matic. Mercedes decided to join the group of smaller luxury SUVs that has been BMW X3 domain for the last years. And with Audi also developing a small SUV, the Q5, it will be crowded in that class. Power is expected to come from four and six cylinder engines, both petrol and diesel and later on there could be a V8 powered GLK 55 AMG version too. All versions are expected to have the 7 G-Tronic, TouchShift automatic transmissions. The GLK will be built in Bremen/Germany alongside the C-Class, rather then in the US plant that builds the ML and GL. The price is expected to start at about 35.000 Euros when it will hit the showrooms in late 2008.

SPY PHOTOS: Mercedes GL Bluetec and GLK