Mercedes-Benz will unveil its next model, the GLK compact crossover, at the Detroit auto show. Sort of. In Detroit, it'll be showing a pre-production model guised as a concept, dubbed the Vision GLK Freeside. The concept vehicle looks nearly identical to the undisguised production model recently caught by a spy shooter during the filming of "Sex and the City: The Movie" in Los Angeles.

All that seems to separate the Vision GLK from the spied vehicle are its 20-inch wheels the concept's off-color cladding that we can only hope won't be a production feature -- even GM has given that up. The vehicle is powered by a 170-horsepower, 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine featuring the automaker's Bluetec emissions-reducing technology.

When the production GLK arrives, it will reportedly come with two gas engine options, both of which are available on the C-Class (the vehicle is said to be based on a C-Class wagon), a 228-horspower 3.0-liter and a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. A diesel option along the lines of what powers the concept will likely arrive later, although no official announcement has been made. Mercedes claims the five-passenger SUV will be as off-road capable as its ML-Class, thanks largely to a new 4matic all-wheel-drive system.

Visually, the GLK is almost a scale-model of the full-size GL, but with crisper edges. Its front end and grille look much like those of the GL, including the twin "power dome" hood bulges. The rest of the crossover, however, has much sharper lines, particularly down the side of the car that lend it a sportier stance than its lumbering big brother. The chiseled fenders are flared to further enhance its aggressive look.

The GLK is an obvious response by Mercedes to the proliferation of compact crossovers on the market and will likely go head-to-head against the likes of luxury-leaning smallish 'utes such as BMW's X3 and Infiniti's EX35, among others.

Benz isn't talking production details quite yet -- those will probably be coming out at a later date. Regardless of where the production model makes its debut, expect the GLK to arrive either in late 2008 or early 2009 as a 2009 model and expect pricing to come in just south of $40,000.

Stay tuned to motortrend.com for all the latest Detroit show news leading up to and during the show press days, January 13-15.