Crossovers of every size, shape, and price are popping up like weeds, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. The latest addition to the tidal wave of trucklets is the Mercedes-Benz MLC. Imagine a fastback version of the mainstream ML SUV, or essentially Mercedes' answer to the BMW X6, and you've got the idea. Compared to the X5, sales of the X6 are modest, and the MLC will also likely cater to a narrower niche than the more conventional ML. These spy shots show Mercedes is wasting no time cooking up a hotter AMG version of its not-yet-introduced, sloped-roof crossover, which is expected to follow the mainstream MLC by about six months.

Current speculation as to the timeframe for the official debut for the MLC is spring 2015 at the Geneva Motor Show, with the AMG following a few months thereafter. AMG's current mid-range and larger models are powered by a 5.5L twin-turbo V-8, but that engine is reportedly nearing the end of its life. The smaller C-class and SLK will reportedly get a new 4.0L twin-turbo V-8 based on the design of Mercedes' 2.0L I-4. It's unknown if this engine will also be used on the larger E, S, and SL AMG models, or in the AMG SUVs. Whatever the MLC AMG has under the hood, expect it to be a V-8 of some kind.

As is the case with the BMW X6, the MLC is expected to be priced slightly higher than the ML, with utility taking a back seat to style. Mercedes' plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which currently builds the ML and GL SUVs, is expected to also build the MLC.