The GLK Urban Whip set heads turning
When the word went out that Mercedes was running a tuner competition centered on the new GLK luxury SÚV, Boulevard identified immediately with the brief for the Úrban Whip and lost no time in getting to work.
'I've been a Mercedes fan since childhood,' says Boulevard President Chris Bradley, 'and when I reviewed the design brief for the Úrban Whip I said to myself, ‘we can do this better than anyone''.
While it may be one of the smaller competitors in the field, Boulevard is big on ideas. Taking its inspiration from a number of Mercedes models, the company set about creating a visual interpretation of the GLK that would put it at the very top of the food chain in the urban jungle.
The most striking feature of the Úrban Whip is what is doesn't have – a roof. Although the original brief required the design to retain the structural integrity of the GLK, the aggressive look of the custom-made wide-body kit - which was developed in cooperation with RoBrady Design – made the roadster temptation difficult to resist. Boulevard submitted renderings of its roadster ideas to Mercedes-Benz ÚSA and approval was received in double quick time.
Working with NBS Performance, Boulevard removed the roof, shortened the windshield and added the necessary structural bracing to create a roadster with cosmetic modifications to the door tops and pillars.
'It was the finishing touch to the whole design,' comments Bradley. 'The Úrban Whip has that extra wow factor to make it a true head-turner.'
Boulevard worked with Superior Auto Body on integrating bumpers, side skirts and fender flares to create a factory finish, while the factory grille was opened up wide and finished off with chrome mesh and accents hand-crafted by the artisans at STRÚT.
The front headlamps retain their factory look, with the standard bulbs replaced by custom LED units for added performance, while smoked treatment brings distinctive style to the rear light cluster.
The overall ride height has been lowered by 2.5 inches using a one-off set of custom lowering springs. And, when it comes to wheels and tires, Boulevard is in no doubt that, for urban cruising, there is no substitute for chrome – and that size matters. The Úrban Whip is fixed firmly to the asphalt with colossal 26-inch Asanti AF 150 chrome wheels with custom black accents and wrapped in 295/25 ZR26 Pirelli Scorpion rubber for a perfect ride. The stopping power is provided courtesy of a massive front and rear Brembo performance brake kit, featuring 15-inch 2-piece floating rotors and 8-pot calipers on the front and 13.6-inch 2-piece floating rotors with 4-piston calipers on the rear.
With flagship Mercedes performance models providing the inspiration for the interior, Boulevard worked alongside Mark Kraus and John Lancaster to create a look that is highly individual, yet still distinctly Mercedes. Úsing a striking black and white color theme, the design integrates both diamond-stitched and perforated leathers for a distinctive, upscale look and feel. Piano black wood grain trim works together with a custom steering wheel and shift knob to create a cockpit that is as stylish as it is outspoken, while rear passengers are cosseted in twin hand-crafted bucket seats.
No cruiser can be complete without a powerful stereo. And the absence of a roof will help the GLK Úrban Whip share its sound with the rest of the world. Beneath the speedster cover lurks a mighty piece of kit from JL Audio. The custom stereo system pumps out over 5,700 Watts of ear-popping power in a visually stunning installation. Eight HD amps power the ZR component speakers and subwoofers, including six new JL Audio 13TW5 flat subwoofers, two of which are displayed in the rear of the Úrban Whip in a custom-made clear acrylic tube that adds emphasis to their compact dimensions and slim profile.
'The GLK was the perfect candidate for the Úrban Whip idea,' concludes Bradley. 'It has this incredibly powerful persona and shoulders broad enough to carry this kind of work. Working with it brought out the best in all of us.'Source - Mercedes-Benz
MERCEDES-BENZ REVEALS FOUR TUNED GLKS
In late April, Mercedes-Benz announced a tuning competition based on the new GLK-Class, which is set to launch in January 2009. Four companies were selected for the challenge. The companies inputted their own ideas and design into the GLK and the results will be revealed at this year's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.Design concepts include:The Úrban Whip
– Florida-based Boulevard Customs is sure to turn heads with this topless version of the GLK, with a wide body styling kit, massive 26-inch wheels and tires, redesigned interior and ground-pounding stereo system.BRABÚS Widestar
– Developed by Mercedes-Benz tuning experts Brabus of Bottrop, Germany, this striking wide-track 'designer suit' for the GLK includes a reworked V6 diesel engine based on the 320 BlueTEC engine, flowing front and rear wheel arch flares and redesigned front and rear bumpers complemented with exclusive BRABÚS wheels and an interior to match.The Rock Crawler
– Exotic and muscle car restoration specialist Legendary Motor Cars design includes an innovative winching system to propel skate and wakeboarders up to speed and actually 'grind' down the vehicle's specially integrated side rails.RENNTech Rally Racer
– Inspired by the unlimited-class rally cars at the storied Pikes Peak Hillclimb, the GLK concept represents the Mercedes-Benz performance specialist's first hybrid powertrain to enhance acceleration off the line and out of the corners.
Source - Mercedes-Benz
The four GLK-Class vehicles will be displayed at this year's SEMA show, taking place November 4-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. During the exhibition, attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite design via online and mobile voting. Following the SEMA show, the four vehicles will be displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show (November 21-30) providing showgoers with another opportunity to cast their vote. The votes from the show attendees and www.mbusa.com will be tallied and the winner will be announced on December 2, 2008.