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|Spied: 2010 Mercedes-Benz CLK|
|Written by AutomotiveTraveler Spy Staff|
|Thursday, 31 July 2008 10:57|
AutomotiveTraveler is making its weekly rounds in California desert, hunting down vehicles as they undergo extreme hot weather testing in one of the world's most punishing environments. This time we caught a caravan of Mercedes engineers on their lunchbreak, and of all the fine dining establishments available in the region, our friends from Stuttgart chose to dine at Mickey D's. Next time, try Tokyo House Japanese Restaurant down the street; from our our past visits to the California high desert we can tell you that the lunch specials are the best in town.
Today we were rewarded with not just a Big Mac, but with these glimpses of a heavily disguised Mercedes-Benz. At first glance we thought might have been a CLS-style 4-door coupe version of the current C-Class, but it is in reality, the next CLK. Judging by the effort that they've taken to cover the C-pillar and rear-wheel arch, it appears they're doing their best to make it look like they are disguising a rear door and applying a CLS-style four-door sport sedan treatment to the smaller C-Class platform. But that just fooled us at first. We tip our hat to the team in Germany that fabricated the rear camo package.
As several more knowledgeable Mercedes-Benz experts pointed out, the front door is simply too long to allow for anything other than a suicide rear door; highly unlikely. But the real key is the apparent lack of a B-pillar, indicating a true hardtop which could also serve as the foundation for a convertible version. The question yet to be asked and answered is will it be a soft top as on the current CLK or a retractable hardtop. (If you download the larger, high-resolution images from the C-Class image gallery, more of the details will come into clearer focus.)
In addition to the cover around the C-pillar, the test team has taken great pains to hide the character lines along the hood and doors, and are disguising features on the nose and mirrors as well. Our vantage point did provide us a clear shot at all the front fascia elements, including a large opening in the lower valance leading us to believe that this is the V8 variant.
Previous overhead views seemed to indicate a panoramic glass roof will be part of the program. This vehicle will probably be premiered at 2009 Frankfurt Motor show as a 2010 model, as this level of camo is usually found on vehicles 12-18 months from production reveal.
Check out additional images of the upcoming 2010 Mercedes-Benz CLK as well as the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, shot last week, in the Automotive Traveler image gallery.