German automaker Mercedes-Benz is set to go toe-to-toe with its close competitor and compatriot BMW as a brand new model with striking similarities to the X6 is confirmed to be in production.
The MLC SUV coupé will be the latest addition to the manufacturer’s popular M-Class range – known as ML-Class in North America, hence the new vehicle’s reported name – making the class five models strong. The news comes from two high-level executives within Mercedes-Benz, who consider there to be ample room in the marketplace for a new luxury crossover.
The huge commercial success of BMW’s X6 is clearly the reasoning behind this move from the fellow German giant, with some five years having passed since the car’s initial release and sales continuing at strong rate. Despite rumours that the MLC’s design will be that of an M-Class, but within a new shell evocative of the BMW X6, the car will be a true competitor in terms of function, and will likely incorporate similar technologies to the established BMW.
A crossover coupé with many of the desirable traits of an SUV, the five-door BMW X6 boasts four-wheel drive, all-weather performance, high ground clearance and a spacious interior. In addition to these functional advantages over a traditional coupé, it has great style advantages over a typical SUV, with dramatic curves and a sloping roof giving the car a sleek, streamlined look which Mercedes-Benz will surely look to match.
The MLC will be produced primarily in Daimler’s large plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where expansion works costing some $2 billion will see a new area opened up and dedicated to the new model, as well as the C-Class. 400 new jobs will be created as a result of the MLC, with a reported $350 million dollars having been dedicated to production of the SUV coupé by Mercedes-Benz.