Mercedes-Benz has created an unconventional presentation idea under the heading “Tuner Challenge”. Ahead of the equally unconventional SEMA Show in the gaming hotspot of Las Vegas, the Stuttgart company announced a competition for tuning firms. The object of desire – the compact GLK-Class.
The four most convincing concepts were selected and the winners given the opportunity to implement their proposals. This process saw the creation of GLK models that are as leading-edge as they are unorthodox, and that now take centre stage in Mercedes’ participation at this year’s SEMA Show. “Widestar”, “The GLK Urban Whip”, “The GLK Pikes Peak Rally Racer” and “The GLK Rock Crawler” will attract attention even at SEMA, which is not exactly short on highlights and is becoming increasingly important as a trendsetting springboard for the European tuning scene.
This presentation also represents the GLK premiere on the North American market, where sales are scheduled to begin in January 2009.
“Our GLK is a character bursting with expressiveness, and a new model for us within a young market segment in the U.S.,” comments Mercedes-Benz Head of Design Gorden Wagener.
“We selected SEMA in Las Vegas as the backdrop for its first appearance in North America because we want to take advantage of the show’s glamour and to underscore the highly individual character of the GLK. An SUV with an edge that is so refreshingly alternative, demands a somewhat alternative setting.”
• With its GLK Pikes Peak Rally Racer, RENNtech from Lake Park, Florida has created a motorsport vehicle inspired by the unlimited class of the legendary Pikes Peak Hill Climb in Colorado. The drivetrain of the RENNtech GLK is complemented by a hybrid module that guarantees excellent acceleration figures.
• BRABUS, based in Bottrop, Germany, represents the German element of this tuning fraternity and presents the Widestar, a production-ready, high-performance on-road vehicle that also pays tribute to the distinctive refinement
of vehicles bearing the three-pointed star.
• GLK Urban Whip is the name given by Boulevard Customs from St. Petersburg, Florida to its creation, which makes its entrance with a significantly widened bodyshell, massive 26 inch wheels and a mighty on-board entertainment system that, according to the figures, is likely to have an impact at full blast of seismological proportions.
• The team at the Legendary Motorcar Company from Ontario, Canada, which is more commonly associated with the restoration of American muscle cars, created The GLK Rock Crawler. The exotic design for snow and sand includes a winch system that can provide wakeboarders and snowboarders alike with the necessary impetus.
The base vehicle for Boulevard Customs, Legendary Motorcar and RENNtech
is the series production GLK350 with a 3.5 litre V6 engine generating 200 kW/272 hp, while BRABUS opted for the diesel-driven GLK 320 CDI 4MATIC. The base versions of all models are equipped with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission.