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This is Mercedes’ answer to the successful BMW 1-Series. Set to be called the BLK, the new model is expected to attract younger buyers to the brand by offering sharp looks and a more affordable price than other models in the range. And there will be hatch and convertible versions, as well as the coupé revealed here.

Up front, the newcomer gets a nose derived from the sporty version of the latest C-Class saloon, with a prominent three-bar grille and large three-pointed star badge positioned in the middle.

The model pictured is the Sports Coupé, which replaces the current
compact hatch of the same name. It gets a rakish tailgate, LED rear lights and neatly sculpted flanks. The BLK is based on a modified C-Class platform, and so will offer a traditional front-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout.

Inside, the cabin features higher-quality materials and more standard kit, including climate control, an MP3 player socket and Bluetooth phone connection. Engines will also be taken from the C-Class range. The line-up will be topped by a 3.5-litre petrol V6 for the BLK 350, while diesel options will include Mercedes’ latest low-emission Bluetec powerplants.

The BLK is due to arrive in 2011, with the hatchback and sports coupé appearing first, followed by the drop-top version.
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