Mercedes is among the most conservative of car makers, but the Urban Whip was as out there as they come
The annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) extravaganza in Las Vegas has been the reason for some utterly bonkers cars over the years, and arguably none more so than the Mercedes GLK Urban Whip by Boulevard Customs.
A cross between an SUV and a speedster, the Urban Whip was one of four GLK-based projects unveiled at SEMA 2008, alongside the Brabus Widestar, Renntech Pike's Peak and the Rock Crawler which was made by Canada's Legendary Motorcar Company.
Taking its inspiration from a number of Mercedes models, the company set about creating its interpretation of the GLK, the most striking feature being the lack of a roof. Although Mercedes' original brief required the design to retain the structural integrity of the GLK, the aggressive look of the custom-made wide-body kit (developed in conjunction with RoBrady Design) made the roadster look too tempting for Mercedes to resist.
Working with NBS Performance, Boulevard removed the roof, cut down the windscreen and added the necessary structural bracing to create a roadster with cosmetic modifications to the door tops and pillars. Boulevard worked with Superior Auto Body on integrating the bumpers, side skirts and wing 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 STRUT.
Although the headlamps retain their factory look, the standard bulbs were replaced by custom LED units for added performance, while the rear light clusters got a smoked finish for that extra dash of distinction.
The ride height was lowered by 64mm using a one-off set of custom lowering springs, while colossal 26” Asanti AF 150 chrome wheels with custom black accents were fitted, wrapped in 295/25 ZR26 Pirelli Scorpion tyres. Stopping power was provided courtesy of a massive front and rear Brembo performance brake kit, featuring 381mm 2‑piece floating discs and 8-pot callipers on the front and 344mm 2-piece floating discs with 4-piston callipers on the rear.
With flagship Mercedes performance models providing the inspiration for the interior, Boulevard came up with a striking black and white colour theme, with both diamond-stitched and perforated leathers for a premium look and feel, things helped further by the use of piano black wood grain trim, while rear passengers were cosseted in twin hand-crafted bucket seats.
No urban cruiser is complete without a serious sound system which is why beneath the speedster cover the GLK Urban Whip featured a 5700-watt stereo system with eight amps, ZR component speakers and subwoofers, along with six JL Audio flat subwoofers.
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