Mercedes refreshed its entry-level GLK-Class SUV for 2013 with nearly 1,000 new parts, the automaker says. Models include the V-6 GLK350 and diesel-powered GLK250 Bluetec. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional.
Slotting below the M-Class, the five-seat GLK competes in the crowded entry-luxury SUV field, which had just a few models a decade ago. Today, it includes the BMW X3, Lexus RX, Cadillac SRX and at least half a dozen others.
The GLK's creased exterior bears the same angular profile as its predecessor, but Mercedes updated various elements. The headlights have LED daytime running lights — popular among cars of all types — encircled here with chrome. Two silver louvers stretch across the grille, which mounts Mercedes star emblem across the center. Redesigned roof rails, new taillights with LED piping, and LED illumination around the license plate round out the major exterior changes.
Nineteen-inch wheels are standard. Options include aluminum running boards, a panoramic moonroof and 20-inch wheels. An AMG appearance package, named for Mercedes' performance division, includes more aggressive bodywork, a unique grille and unique LED daytime running lights.
The GLK keeps similar dashboard shapes as before, with a redesigned steering wheel bordered by new, circular air vents. The instruments include a 4.5-inch color display, while the dashboard has a 5.8-inch screen atop the center controls. Dual-zone climate control and power-adjustable leatherette seats are standard, with genuine leather and LED dashboard lighting optional. Heated seats, iPod/USB stereo compatibility and a 7-inch dashboard screen with a navigation system and backup camera are optional. So is a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.
Mercedes moved the shifter for the seven-speed automatic to the steering column; the resulting space in the center console now has cupholders.
Fold the backseat down, and maximum cargo volume totals 54.7 cubic feet. That's on the low end of this segment: The RX, Volvo XC60 and Lincoln MKX have more than 65 cubic feet, but it reflects the GLK's smallish size, with overall length measuring a few inches short of most competitors.
Under the Hood
The GLK350's direct-injection V-6 makes 302 horsepower and 273 pounds-feet of torque. That's up 34 hp and 15 pounds-feet, but it doesn't change the SUV's estimated 6.5-second zero-to-60-mph time, Mercedes says. The automaker also says the diesel four-cylinder in the GLK250 is the most powerful of its kind; it makes 190 hp and 369 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines use a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Automatic idle-shutoff saves fuel in stopped situations, maintaining systems like the climate control and restarting the engine as you take your foot off the brake. Electromechanical steering — versus the prior hydraulic setup — saves fuel, too.
Nine airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard. Lane departure warning and mitigation systems, a forward collision warning system and a blind spot warning system are optional.
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