Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class SUV
No Video Content
What's New for 2012
There are no significant changes for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 is the second-cheapest Mercedes you can buy in this country, and yet you'd never guess it by the way it looks, feels and drives. Close the GLK's doors and the metallic thump is reminiscent of closing a bank vault - all that's missing is that spinning wheel thing. Drive over railroad tracks and the GLK feels as if it's made from a solid block of concrete - there's no jarring or jiggling greeting your backside. This sort of impenetrable feeling is a hallmark of Mercedes' current lineup and certainly makes any sort of anticipated GLK price premium seem worth it - though in reality, the GLK is actually quite competitively priced.
Aside from sharing that iron-clad feel with the C-Class sedan upon which it is based, the GLK's well-sorted steering and ride are remarkably similar as well. The C and GLK now differ in engine fitment, however, as the GLK350 soldiers on with its 268-horsepower V6, while the C350 has been upgraded for 2012. This isn't exactly a problem, as the GLK still offers class-competitive power, though fuel economy is below average.
The GLK's cabin is a chip off the old Mercedes block, with a distinct emphasis placed on the word "block." There's nary a curve in sight, with a design that harkens back to pre-1990s Benzes. When done up in black, it's quite austere and unmistakably German in its aesthetic. Whether you like the look or not will be a matter of preference, but the GLK's materials and construction are undeniably top-notch. An abundance of convenience, technology and especially safety features are available for further embellishing.
The main drawback to the GLK is that it may be a little too compact for some. Its backseat and cargo area are smaller than most vehicles in the class, making the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 better choices for families. For just a little more money, you could also step up to the much larger Acura MDX or Lexus RX 350. Yet for singles or couples with limited people- and/or stuff-hauling needs, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 is a well-made crossover that earns its hallowed three-pointed star.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class consists of only a single model: the GLK350. When equipped with all-wheel drive, it receives a 4Matic moniker.
Standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear foglamps, roof rails, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a cargo cover, Bluetooth, the COMAND electronics interface and a six-speaker sound system with a single-CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Premium 1 package adds a power liftgate, a panoramic sunroof (optional separately), rear parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver memory functions, front-seat four-way power lumbar adjustment, a compass and satellite radio (optional separately). The COMAND package adds a navigation system, a larger infotainment display, real-time traffic, digital music storage and voice controls. The Multimedia package is similar, but adds a rearview camera and an iPod interface (optional separately). A six-CD changer can be added to both of these packages.
The Lighting package adds bi-xenon headlamps, headlamp washers and LED running lamps. The Full Leather Seating package adds interior accent lighting and extended leather trim further available in special request colors. An AMG Styling package adds 20-inch wheels and special styling flourishes inspired by Mercedes' high-performance AMG lineup.
Stand-alone options include Mercedes-Benz "mbrace" emergency telematics, front and rear parking sensors, a trailer hitch, running boards, keyless ignition/entry, heated front seats, a rear-seat entertainment system and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system. Also available is a less advanced navigation system that includes iPod integration.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard. 4Matic all-wheel drive is optional.
In Edmunds performance testing, a GLK350 4Matic accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, an average time for this segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive. The highway number drops to 21 with 4Matic, which is on the low side for the segment.
The GLK comes standard with stability control, antilock disc brakes with brake assist and brake drying, active front head restraints, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and driver/passenger pelvic airbags. Parking sensors and Mercedes' mbrace emergency telematics are optional.
In Edmunds brake testing, a GLK 4Matic came to a stop from 60 mph in 119 feet - a good number for a compact luxury crossover.
In crash testing done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the GLK received the top rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side impact and roof strength tests.