Update: Early on in its development, the Mercedes GLK crossover was believed to be pegged as a left-hand drive only model thanks to its basis on the LHD-only 4-Matic platform, which it also shares with the C-Class. However, a senior engineer speaking recently with CAR disabused the world of that notion - for the most part. High demand in the U.K., Japan and Australia has led to a reconsideration, and Mercedes could spend the €50 million and two years it will take to make the 4-Matic ambidextrous.
Complications in the process arise from the complex drivetrain in the current 4-Matic platform, which involves unidirectional helical gears that send the engine's force out the right side of the package. Reconfiguring the layout for right-hand drive will likely require use of a chain drive to offset the transmission output to the left. The decision is still not final, but the source believes that RHD-market demand and future strategy will justify the decision with the corporate heads.
Original: The newest small crossover wagon in Mercedes’ lineup might not get a right-hand drive variant. Despite high expected demand in RHD countries, the GLK is built on the left-hand drive C-class 4Matic platform, and Mercedez-Benz has no plans to make a RHD variant available. Nevertheless, Mercedes-Benz Australia will push for the change at a conference in Stuttgart, Germany this week.
Built on the LHD-only C-Class 4Matic platform, the GLK is not likely to receive a RHD version because the conversion would require significant engineering investment, reports GoAuto. Some believe the investment would be worthwhile in the long haul, but clearly corporate headquarters is not yet in agreement. While a Mercedes-Benz exec is quoted as understanding that the chances of getting the conversion approved are “less than 50-50? it will nevertheless be pursued. The GLK would compete with BMW’s X3, Audi’s Q5 and Volvo’s XC60 in RHD markets if approved. If it is not, those competitors will have an easier time.