Updated: New images

The new Mercedes-Benz GLK is set to make its debut at this weekend’s Beijing Motor Show but the first images and details of the car have already been leaked. The compact SUV was first previewed at the Detroit Auto Show back in January in concept form and as expected the final production car remains almost identical to the original show car.

Designed to go up against the BMW X3 and upcoming Audi Q5, the new GLK shows a dramatic improvement in quality over Mercedes’ previous SUV models despite being an entry-level offroader. Pictured here is the U.S.-spec GLK350, which is set to go on sale early next year as a 2010 model.

The car will be available with both RWD and 4Matic full-time AWD powertrains and in ‘350 guise will be powered by a 268hp 3.5L V6 engine. With an estimated kerb weight of just over two tons the car should be able to reach 60mph from rest in about 6.5 seconds and earn a 23mpg average fuel consumption rating. European versions will also be available in 220CDI diesel and BlueEfficiency guises as well as a 320CDI as well. There's no word yet if RHD models will be available but earlier reports claim it's highly likely.

The GLK will be built at Mercedes’ Bremen plant in Germany and will be available with a host of upmarket features including Sienna Pine wood trim, chrome detailing, an optional COMAND interface, a panoramic sunroof, SIRIUS satellite radio and bi-xenon headlights. Other features include standard 19in alloys, two-zone automatic climate control, an adjustable steering column, electrically adjustable front seats, Bluetooth connectivity and a 5in color display.