Say it ain’t so Dieter! Mercedes has announced that it is following in the ungainly and ill-footsteps of the BMW X6 Crossover with its own SUV Coupe at one point called the MLC.
Mercedes has been on a roll with its concept styling. The S-Class Convertible and the CLA shooting brake in particular are everything that you would want in an expensive German luxury car. The MLC on the other hand shows that everyone, even the Germans, makes mistakes.
Expensive mistakes, too. The MLC is going to sell for $60,000.
I have been trying to figure out the best way to describe the look of this car for a while. A couple of things come to mind. It definitely looks like a squished M Class. But the MLC also looks like a C Class that has been put in platform shoes. Neither of these descriptions quite gets at just how bad it is, though. What it really reminds me of is a Hot Wheels car, well actually a knock-off hot wheels car. The shape is right but the proportions are all wrong.
And as for the X6, this car’s chief competitor has shown us the bizarre styling has practical as well as aesthetic consequences. The car is like a reverse Tardis, larger on the outside than on the inside. For such tall cars the rear headroom is shockingly bad. A tall toddler in their car-seat would be complaining.
Perhaps Mercedes will have worked around this problem, but I won’t be holding my breath. I will be saving that for when I find myself crammed in the back of one of these.
Underneath its twisted and mottled exterior, the MLC is mechanically indistinguishable from the ML-Class. Though, while historically this would have been another black mark on the car, the recent ML has done well for itself. With its predicted exorbitant price tag, you can expect the MLC to feature the top engines from the ML, including probably an AMG offering.
The more efficiency and environmentally-minded engines don’t seem likely to show up in this high-priced homunculus, though. And, frankly, why would they? The people who are going to buy this car are doing so purely as a lifestyle choice. The word ‘practical’ would offend them and make the car less appealing.
Even so, if the X6 is any guide, there aren’t going to be many potential buyers, at least in the United States and Europe. It’s possible that with the Chinese’s love of luxury the MLC might find a more welcoming home way back east. But for the sake of East/West relations, I hope they just stick with the lovely ML250 BlueTec diesel.
Main Photo source: Car and Driver