It seems the tables have turned and Mercedes is going after a market which has been first explored by BMW with the X3. DaimlerChrysler is now shifting more development resources from the now defunct smart formore micro SUV in favour of this X3 competitor likely to be called the MLK-Class or possibly the MLX-Class (which would be a dig on BMW). This smaller sized premium SUV will naturally be intended for the North American market. With no signs of the dollar getting stronger any time soon the MLX-Class will be built alongside the M-Class, R-Class and G-Class in Alabama. Look for the introduction late 2007 - early 2008.
Usually we see the opposite with BMW following in the footsteps of Mercedes-Benz. Especially with the recent announcement by Dr. Helmut Panke, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG about two completely new BMW models for 2008. The overall description given by Dr. Panke fits so closely to the Mercedes R-Class and CLS-Class that one can’t help but think there is some kind of cooperation between the two rivals. But now Mercedes is on the receiving end.
Coincidentally, VW has recently stated the coming of a Jetta based wagon variant while spy photos of a Golf based SUV have emerged. Do we have a conspiracy theory or is the bandwagon just starting to roll. Most likely the later.
Looking at these photos what is different from the M-class?
· Single air-intake on the bonnet below the wipers, running the whole width of the car (while on the M-class there are two separate intakes)
· Rounded edge of upper rear corner of the rear side doors (while they are angular on the M‑class)
· Sharp-edged hip line underneath the side windows (while this area is smooth and round on the M-class).
· Car is narrower and shorter compared to the new M-class
· Less prominent wheel arches compared to those of the new M-class
· Diagonally rising top-edge of rearmost side-window (between c- and d-pillar) (while this edge follows the roof-line on the M-class)
· Smaller roof-spoiler compared to the M-class
· Differently shaped taillights and section for registration plate
· No such lip on the inner top corner of the taillights (like the M-class has)