2012 Mercedes-Benz M-ClassEnlarge Photo
About a month ago reports surfaced claiming Mercedes-Benz was planning to launch its own coupe-like crossover to target the BMW X6 and Acura ZDX. The rakish crossover, most likely to be called a GLS to signify its upmarket positioning, is expected to be based on the same unibody platform as the recently revealed 2012 M-Class and launched onto the market by 2014.
This means that the vehicle will almost certainly be produced at the same plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where the automaker builds the M-Class, as well as the GL-Class and R-Class vehicles. You’ll note that Mercedes-Benz recently announced a $2 billion investment plan to upgrade the plant to build the new M-Class as well as the next-generation C-Class in 2014.
It’s likely the money will also go towards the installation of tooling for the rumored GLS coupe crossover as well as the replacements for the GL-Class and R-Class models.
As for the GLS, Mercedes-Benz has always envisioned launching an expanded family of M-Class based models, according to inside sources.
However, competition in this segment is expected to be rife in the next couple of years with Audi also rumored to be planning its own version, a vehicle already being called the Q6. Additionally, Porsche’s new Cajun crossover, which may also come in a sporty three-door bodystyle, is expected to drop in 2014 as well.
[Automotive News -- sub. req.]