Superlative performance comes courtesy of the powerful yet economical and eco-friendly four and six-cylinder engines. The BlueEFFICIENCY version of the GLK 220 CDI features the new entry-level four-cylinder diesel engine from Mercedes-Benz, which develops 125 kW/170 hp yet only consumes 6.9 l/100 km (34.08 mpg/US, 14.49 km/l) of diesel fuel. And the unshakeable foundations of the GLK-Class are similarly impressive. The highly robust body is key to the pioneering passive-safety setup, the extremely low noise levels, the exceptional degree of interior comfort – to produce that typical Mercedes feeling of wellbeing – and the high value retention. Furthermore, exemplary appointments and attractive equipment packages make the GLK stand out from the compact-SUV masses. Plus state-of-the-art systems such as the leading-edge PRE-SAFE® safety concept and the Intelligent Light System (ILS) are available in this market segment for the very first time.
With its poised, confident presence, the mere look of the GLK-Class leaves one in no doubt about its intent to conquer the compact premium SUV segment. It is arguably the most sophisticated of all takes on this particular theme. And it displays echoes of the G-Class, the founding father of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family. Design chief Prof. Peter Pfeiffer takes up the story: “With the G-Class we created a style icon that has been a benchmark in SUV design for the past 30 years. Combining this bold concept with the latest Mercedes-Benz design idiom makes the GLK a vehicle of genuine character.” No other model in the world of compact SUVs, past or present, comes close to matching the GLK’s distinctively expressive appearance.
The body is beautifully proportioned (length 4528 mm/178 in, width 1840 mm/72 in, height 1689 mm/66 in), while there is a special allure in the interplay between the classic angular shape and the typical design features found in all contemporary Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. Here the unmistakable design idiom, consisting of taut lines and large, expansive surfaces, is combined with the typical body features of a practical off-road vehicle, such as short overhangs, an upright front end, slim roof pillars, a steeply raked windscreen and taut roof lines.
Rather than being a stylistic end in itself, however, the body design allows the typical advantages of an off-road vehicle to be introduced to the more road-oriented compact-SUV category for the first time. Large angles of approach and departure plus good ground clearance make off-road ventures a sheer joy. The outstandingly clear layout of the body and good all-round visibility, combined with the raised seating position, enhance everyday practicality and ensure relaxed driving, even in dense city traffic.
The distinctive looks of the body are seamlessly continued inside the GLK-Class. On the one hand, the contemporary treatment of the surfaces brings the latest in Mercedes design to the interior. On the other hand, the GLK offers a high-quality and comfortable interior with impressive materials and precise detailing. Occupants enjoy a profound sense of wellbeing when on board – a hallmark of all Mercedes vehicles. The dashboard is the dominant feature here, visually extending into the door panels to lend additional width to the generously dimensioned interior.
Further eye-catching features include an elegant trim level highlighted by a fabric that matches the seat upholstery, specified as standard. Alternatively, GLK customers can opt for various wood or aluminium highlights here and in the door operating panels at the front and rear. The upper section of the dashboard encompasses the instrument cluster and the static central display. Meanwhile the driver’s armrest with an integral stowage compartment and the controller for the optional COMAND APS infotainment system are located in ergonomically ideal positions between the front seats. Control of the individual menus is intuitive, following the familiar and well-proven control logic used in the S-Class. Additional shortcut buttons make it easier to access the most important main functions.
In terms of spaciousness, the GLK matches vehicles that are much bigger on the outside. The interior architects at the MTC have succeeded in achieving seating-comfort dimensions on a par with those of the much larger M-Class – for example the distance between the heel reference point and the seat reference point in the GLK-Class is 318 mm (front) (12.51 inches) and 346 mm (rear) (13.62 inches). Front and rear headroom are also comparable at 1010 mm (39.76 inches) and 1012 mm (39.84 inches) respectively. The boot, including an additional compartment beneath the load compartment floor, holds at least 450 litres (15.89 cubic ft). When the 1/3:2/3-split rear seats are folded forwards, the boot capacity increases to max. 1550 litres (54.73 cubic ft.), the load compartment length to 1674 mm (65.90 inches).
The level of equipment available for the GLK-Class is at premium-segment standard, including details normally only to be found in the higher vehicle categories. Standard-fit comfort-enhancing features include the THERMATIC 2-zone automatic climate control system, a steering column adjustable for height and reach, front seats with electrically adjustable height and backrest angle, including seat inclination adjustment, manual lumbar support with 2-way adjustment for the driver’s seat and the Audio 20 sound system, including a radio/CD combination with integral Bluetooth interface for mobile phones, a microphone for the hands-free system and a central 5-inch colour display. Further features include power windows all round and cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC.
The GLK-Class model range is equipped to an exceptionally high standard. There are also two equipment packages to choose from, allowing customers to tailor the GLK to their own requirements. Among other things, the exterior sports package consists of 19-inch 7-spoke light-alloy wheels, stiffer sports suspension lowered by 20 millimetres and a chrome package with roof rails in aluminium. Alternatively, customers can select the off-road styling package, featuring 17-inch light-alloy wheels, robust off-road pads and simulated underguards on the front and rear apron as well as the chrome package as standard. The only difference is that this version has matt black roof rails, in keeping with the off-road look.
The off-road engineering package – with DSR switch, a “G” switch for activating a special off-road program and a heavy-duty, weight-optimised underguard and underbody protection in Gemtex – is also available as an optional extra. If the COMAND APS system is specified, the navigation system has a useful extra feature designed specifically for off-road vehicles. If the vehicle enters an area not covered by digitised maps, the driver can activate a tracking system to save the vehicle’s route. This means that GLK drivers can always find a way back to their starting point, based on the principle of Ariadne’s thread.
Customers can also opt for the THERMOTRONIC 3-zone luxury automatic climate control system (for the first time in this market segment), genuine leather appointments, fine wood trim elements or the rear-seat entertainment system with 2 screens, radio remote control, 2 sets of radio headphones per screen and an Aux-In socket for multimedia devices such as games consoles. LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control makes the COMAND APS system even easier to use, while the fully electrical, 10-way seat adjustment feature with memory package simplifies the process for setting preferred seating positions. Items that can be ordered for all models include 20-inch light-alloy wheels and the electrically operated panoramic glass sliding sunroof. Further options that come highly recommended include the Intelligent Light System (ILS), featuring five light functions (cornering light function, country mode, motorway mode, active light function and enhanced fog lamps), which are activated in specific driving situations, or the EASY-PACK tailgate, which can be operated at the push of a button.