The Mercedes-Benz GLK crossover becomes roomier and sheds its old-fashioned square shape for a more modern design when it becomes the GLC this fall.
It will have a longer wheelbase and wider track, giving it more interior room and making it more competitive with the BMW X3 and Audi Q5.
The redesigned compact crossover goes on sale in the fourth quarter. Spy photographers have began capturing the GLC undergoing testing.
The name changes to GLC under Mercedes’ revised nomenclature. The C indicates it is close in size to the C-class sedan -- which also grew in size, with the launch of the CLA compact sedan.
Mercedes-Benz is making the GLC bigger and more luxurious because the GLA compact is now the brand’s entry crossover.
The compact crossover segment has gotten more crowded with larger and better-equipped competitors since the GLK first went on sale in 2009.
The current vehicle was designed as the baby brother of the iconic boxy G-wagon with distinctively masculine styling.
The redesigned GLC has the aerodynamic and flowing lines evident on redesigned Mercedes models without sharp corners and an almost coupelike rear.
Mercedes has said the GLC’s interior and features will be more upscale than the GLK’s.
Much of the GLC’s technology and layout are expected to carry over from the C-class sedan. That includes the active and safety features packaged as Intelligent Drive and advanced infotainment and connectivity systems.
The GLC likely will have a large screen for communications and vehicle controls and a touchpad that reads finger-written numbers and letters.
As the GLC moves upward in size and content, its price is likely to increase by several thousand dollars to separate it from the GLA.
The base GLK350 starts at $38,825, including shipping, for 2015.
U.S. sales of the GLK peaked at 35,000 last year. Deliveries fell 36 percent in the first two months of 2015 to 3,179.