Mercedes-Benz described its concept GLK Bluetec hybrid as "a distinctive character...whose special appeal lies in a combination of the angular original design of the legendary G-class and the typical design features of today's Mercedes-Benz passenger cars". Certainly not the prettiest thing we've ever seen. Be that as it may, the news is under the hood where M-B combines a completely new, 224-hp (DIN) turbocharged 2.2-liter clean-diesel Bluetec CDI four-cylinder engine with a lithium-ion-battery-based propulsion system.
M-B is claiming exactly what we would expect - a huge whack of torque and fantastic fuel economy. It is also claiming a lower CO2 emissions figure than any other SUV on the planet - 157 grams per kilometer, not enough to meet the EU's prohibitive 120 grams/km proposed for 2012 new cars, but impressive nonetheless. It also meets the world's toughest exhaust emissions standards, such as our own BIN5 and EURO 6 numbers.
The compact hybrid module - a disc-shaped electric motor between the CDI engine and the automatic transmission - acts as both a generator and starter. It backs up the internal combustion engine during the fuel-intensive acceleration phase, has a start-stop function at traffic lights, and stores electricity during braking in a lithium-ion battery pack.