This might look like one of the many prototypes we previously saw for the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC, the replacement for the GLK small SUV, but it’s actually a prototype for a performance-oriented GLC variant due out next year.

We’re not talking about a dedicated performance model from Mercedes-AMG, though that's expected at some point as well, but rather one of the tuner's tamer models sporting the 43 designation.

This means the vehicle should be labeled a GLC43 and powered by the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 found on other 43-series models. The list already includes the C43 Coupe, C43 Cabriolet, E43 and SLC43.

Note, a prototype for a GLC43 Coupe has also been spotted, a model likely to debut alongside this GLC43. Common to both should be a peak output of 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, 4Matic all-wheel drive and a 9-speed automatic transmission.

As shown in the spy shots, the vehicles will also benefit from lowered suspension, sportier body kits and uprated wheels, tires and brakes.

Look for a debut of the GLC43 and GLC43 Coupe in the first half of 2016. Both should be on sale in the third quarter of that year, as 2017 models. Key rivals will be the BMW X4 M40i and Audi SQ5.


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