DETROIT – For those wondering what new luxury vehicles tough new U.S. corporate average fuel economy standards might spawn, Mercedes-Benz offers a preview: a compact cross/utility vehicle powered by a potent 4-cyl. turbodiesel that delivers a whopping 369 lb.-ft. (500 Nm) of torque.

At the 2008 North American International Auto Show here, Actress Kim Cattrall, star of the “Sex and the City” HBO series and upcoming movie of the same name, helps introduce the Vision GLK, a concept version of the small CUV that will launch this fall in Europe and in the U.S. in January 2009.

The GLK, which has a cameo role in the new “Sex and the City” movie, will be the fifth, and smallest, CUV in Mercedes’ lineup.

Daimler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche says the new CUV will get 35 mpg (6.7 L 100/km) thanks to the diesel mill, although he does not specify whether that is highway or combined fuel economy.

“The forthcoming GLK is the right vehicle at the right time,” Zetsche says. “Firstly, it possesses a highly individual design that is a clear departure from the segment norm. Secondly, it brings together the strengths of our fullsize models within an entry-luxury format that also has benefits in terms of fuel consumption.”

The all-new 2.2L 4-cyl. diesel engine incorporates the latest piezo-injector technology, 2-phase turbocharging and 29,000 psi (2,000 bar) injection pressures to deliver 204 hp.

The new diesel also features Mercedes’ urea injection system, dubbed AdBlue, and a SCR catalyst that enables the mill to meet the toughest emissions standards.

The system will be added to Mercedes’ diesel-powered R- M- and GL-Class vehicles in the year’s second half, meaning even the auto maker’s largest diesel-powered vehicles can be sold in all 50 states.

dwinter@wardsauto.com