With a new design, exclusive appointments, pioneering assistance systems and efficient and agile engines, the new generation of the GLK underscores its claim to leadership of the compact SUV market segment. The newly designed exterior lends this car full of character greater poise, combining the straight lines typical of all-terrain vehicles with the design idiom of the current Mercedes-Benz saloons. High-quality materials, new interior appointments, fully revised trims and the new infotainment systems are all conducive to a truly delightful driving experience in the GLK. The 2012 GLK comes up trumps with a range of state-of-the-art assistance systems and comprehensive BlueEFFICIENCY measures such as the standard-fit ECO start/stop function. BlueTEC diesel emission control is available for the compact SUV for the first time, enabling compliance with the EU6 emissions standard. "In the GLK we have a dynamic lifestyle SUV offering a winning combination of intelligent technology and character in abundance," says Dr Joachim Schmidt, Member of the Management Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales and Marketing. "It will further bolster our SUV portfolio, making a vital contribution to Mercedes-Benz's global growth in this market segment."
The GLK offers outstanding driving dynamics, excellent driving safety and superlative ride comfort. In addition to the rear-wheel drive versions, the 4MATIC models with permanent all-wheel drive demonstrate an intrepid spirit even in the most adverse conditions – both on- and off-road. Like all SUV and all-terrain vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, the GLK is a thoroughbred, no-holds-barred off-road operator. Meanwhile, the forefather of all modern-day Mercedes-Benz SUVs which lent its name to the GLK – the G-Class – is now in its 33rd model year and is also undergoing a thorough facelift.
New interpretation of the classic GLK design
The exterior lends the GLK added poise. The body combines classic elements of all-terrain vehicles with the design idiom of the current Mercedes-Benz saloons. Stringent lines, expansive surfaces and the smooth-surfaced, volume-emphasizing front and rear areas harmonise with the hallmark GLK body features which are typical of functional all-terrain vehicles. These include short overhangs, the upright front end, slender roof pillars, a steep windscreen and the taut roof line. The body design is not a stylistic end in itself. Rather, it applies the advantages typical off all-terrain vehicles to the compact SUV class. Accomplished ATV-specific features such as approach and departure angle and ground clearance enable off-road ventures at any time. The neatly designed body and the good all-round visibility combined with the seat position enhance suitability for everyday use and provide for relaxed driving.
There is no longer any differentiation between different types of bumpers with specific on-road and off-road packages. Beneath the newly designed headlamps, all models offer LED daytime driving lights in a chrome clasp as standard. The radiator grille with two slats and central star follows the design idiom of all current passenger car models. The slats are painted silver, with chrome inserts optional. The headlamps embody a new interpretation of the signature Mercedes lamp design. On the basic model with reflection-type headlamps, a chrome torch feature spans the two reflectors. On models featuring the Intelligent Light System (ILS), the headlamp comprises the projection unit, a reflector and the torch with LED fibre-optic cables for the position light, above which the turn signal indicators consisting of individual LEDs are located. The roof rails in a totally new design are particularly striking in the side view.
The rear bumper lends a bold, sporty character to the GLK's rear end with its width-emphasizing lines and delicate tail lights. The new-style underride guard – optionally in chrome – and the chrome-plated tailpipe trims which also come as standard catch the eye here. The tail lights have undergone a complete revamp in terms of both appearance and functions. Fibre-optic cables and LEDs are also employed to provide the GLK's rear end with a unique and characteristic night design, the new licence plate LED lamp providing a finishing touch.
As part of the model facelift, the designers have also developed new wheels in size 43.2 cm (17-inch), 48.3 cm (19-inch) and 50.8 cm (20-inch), which are available in various paint finishes or with a high-sheen finish. An aerodynamically optimised 43.2 cm (17-inch) wheel is available for the first time.
The AMG Sports package for the GLK
For GLK customers who appreciate sporty elegance a comprehensive AMG Exterior Sports package is available, boasting hallmark design features from the renowned customisation company. These include AMG front and rear apron, the specific radiator grille with two chrome slats, AMG LED daytime driving lights, 48.3 cm (19-inch) AMG 5-spoke light-alloy wheels and a sporty suspension setup. The features are based on the extended Exterior Chrome package.
GLK interior: even classier setting, high feel-good factor
The newly designed GLK interior offers design, a quality feel and a choice of materials on a par with higher classes of vehicle. The interior designers at the Mercedes-Benz Design Studio in Sindelfingen have undertaken a complete makeover of the dashboard, for example: a wide trim in aluminium or optionally in wood spans the entire width of the dashboard. The new round vents and additional trim elements in silver shadow also catch the eye. A high-end colour display is optionally available for the instrument cluster. A three-spoke sports steering wheel, new upholstery colours and seat designs plus indirect ambient lighting featuring LED fibre-optic technology, which is available on the GLK for the first time, further enhance the feel-good atmosphere inside the car. The models with the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission are fitted with the DIRECT SELECT lever in ergonomically convenient position on the steering column tube. This frees up space in the centre console for a stowage compartment, which is provided with a precision-finished frame in silver shadow and can be closed by means of a retractable cover.
The Interior Sports package which was available for the predecessor model has been upgraded, with sports seats featuring in the GLK for the first time. Other components are the 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel in nappa leather, black sports seats in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre with stitching in alpaca grey (alternatively real black leather upholstery), door centre panels in ARTICO man-made leather with diagonal stitching, shift lever in nappa leather with chrome surround and sports pedals in brushed stainless steel.
Infotainment: better entertainment, better information
The GLK is fitted with the Audi 20 CD radio as standard, with the following functions:
TFT display with 14.7 cm (5.8") diagonal
mp3/wma/aac-compatible CD drive
USB interface incl. CD cover display
AUX-IN socket in the centre armrest
Bluetooth® interface with hands-free function and audio streaming for music transfer
The GLK goes online with special infotainment offerings, offers its occupants concert-hall acoustics and provides new entertainment facilities for rear passengers:
Apple iPad® rear integration Plus. The convenient, ergonomic and crash-safe docking station for the iPad® is optionally available in the rear of the GLK. The mount can be tilted and turned by 180°, all connections remaining accessible. In addition, the battery can be charged via an integrated USB interface with the aid of a charging lead
Central colour display in the instrument cluster offering photorealistic quality
Becker® MAP PILOT: fully integrated navigation module with 2D/3D map display, navigation information shown on the display of the Audio 20 CD, operation via central controller and acoustic output of driving recommendations via the vehicle's loudspeakers
COMAND Online multimedia system: fast hard-disc navigation with high-resolution 17.8 cm colour display, free use of the integrated Mercedes-Benz apps and call-up of internet sites, LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system, USB interface and AUX-IN socket in the centre armrest, telephone module with Bluetooth® (SAP profile) in the armrest for telephony and internet connectivity
In conjunction with COMAND, a TV tuner for digital TV reception (DVB-T) is being offered in the GLK for the first time
Harman Kardon® Logic 7® surround sound system including 7-channel DSP amplifier and 2-channel booster with a total output of 510 W in conjunction with 12 high-performance loudspeakers, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS
Assistance systems take the GLK to the top of its market segment
Assistance systems familiar from the S- and E-Class enable a further improvement in active safety and driver-fitness safety in the new GLK and take the compact SUV to the top of its market segment. Optional equipment includes the ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection system or the PRE‑SAFE® anticipatory safety system. Additional assistance systems, including active variants, are optionally available. One example here is Active Parking Assist, enabling fully automatic manoeuvring into and out of parking spaces. To facilitate manoeuvring when visibility is poor there is a backup camera with guide lines or – for the first time from Mercedes-Benz – a 360° camera. This feature uses image information from four cameras in the front and rear areas and in the exterior mirror housing to generate a bird's eye view of the vehicle and its surroundings. The undistorted image is presented to the occupants in real time on the central COMAND display. In addition to the functions of the backup camera, it also enables monitoring of the areas to the side of the vehicle and in front of the vehicle, thus helping to avoid inadvertent collisions during manoeuvring. Guide lines provide additional assistance, the 360° camera marking the vehicle's movement range according to the steering wheel angle.
Additional systems are optionally available as individual items or in special packages. The Driving Assistance package Plus comprises DISTRONIC PLUS including BAS PLUS, PRE-SAFE® Brake, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist. The Parking package combines the described 360° camera including Active Parking Assist for automatic manoeuvring in and out of parking spaces and PARKTRONIC. The Lane Tracking package includes Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist. The Offroad Engineering package continues to be available, ensuring that the vehicle is well able to assert itself away from paved roads with Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR), off-road driving programme (adaptation of transmission shift points and accelerator characteristic), simulated "Gemtex" underguard in tough plastic and a raised suspension. Another new development is the Offroad Engineering package in combination with ILS. Offroad Light is available here for trips in difficult terrain. Specific headlamp settings provide for better off-road orientation by more widespread illumination of the field of vision.
Efficient, clean, powerful: the GLK's drive
The modern range of engines provides for drive comfort and attractive performance in all GLK models in conjunction with low emissions and fuel consumption. In all, there is a choice of six diesel models and one petrol engine. The key data* at a glance:
kW/hp at rpm
Nm from rpm
0-100 km/h (s)
l/100 km NEDC combined
GLK 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY
GLK 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY
GLK 220 CDI 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY
GLK 220 BlueTEC 4MATIC
GLK 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC
GLK 350 CDI 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY
GLK 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY
* provisional data () figures for manual six-speed transmission
The GLK 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC boasts the most powerful four-cylinder diesel engine in the SUV world. The direct-injection engine rated at 150 kW (204 hp) and generating 500 Newton metres of torque from 2143 cc enables the GLK to perform superbly. Key merits are the engine's torquey character, its top speed and its flexibility. Despite its formidable performance, this GLK model is extremely frugal when it comes to fuel consumption: on average, the compression-ignition engine consumes 6.1 to 6.5 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres (combined NEDC fuel consumption, provisional figure). CO2 emissions stand at 159-169 grams per kilometre. Similarly to the GLK 220 BlueTEC 4MATIC model, it also complies with the EU6 emissions standard and the US BIN 5 standard.
The two rear-wheel drive models GLK 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and GLK 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY with six-speed manual transmission are even more fuel-efficient. Both versions get by on 5.5 – 5.6 litres of diesel per hundred kilometres (143 - 147 g CO2/km). The top performer among the diesel versions is the GLK 350 CDI 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY. 620 Newton metres of torque provide the V6 compression-ignition engine with exceptional power delivery from low revs.
The GLK 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY petrol-engine model makes its mark with the groundbreaking technology of the leading generation of V engines from Mercedes-Benz. At the heart of the BlueDIRECT technology package lies the third-generation spray-guided direct petrol engine with piezo injectors. In combination with multi-spark ignition, this technology offers further potential for fuel savings.
BlueEFFICIENCY measures for further reductions in fuel consumption
The excellent fuel economy of all GLK models is underpinned by a comprehensive package of BlueEFFICIENCY measures as well as by this state-of-the-art engine technology. In addition to the ECO start/stop function that comes as standard, these measures include the seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission. Low-friction axle drives, electric steering and tyres with low rolling resistance also play their part in reducing fuel consumption.
7G-TRONIC PLUS, standard on all 4MATIC models of the GLK, boasts even lower converter slip and optimised efficiency. A central role is played by the new torsion damper, which effectively eliminates torsional eccentricities and vibrations in the transmission. The lower the rpm and the lower the number of cylinders, the more severe these can be. This results in a conflict of aims between comfort and fuel-efficient operation. Mercedes-Benz developers resolved this by using what is known as a twin-turbine damper, which is also fitted with a centrifugal pendulum on the diesel models. Depending on the rpm, this moves the centre of mass and allows comfortable operation even in the most economical operating range. Furthermore, the optimised damping allows a marked reduction in the slip of the torque converter lockup clutch even under low loads, which also contributes to fuel savings. This technology also allows an even faster response to driver commands via the accelerator pedal. Friction-optimised bearings and new transmission oil thermal management also help reduce fuel consumption.
The standard-fit ECO display in the instrument cluster further enables the driver to check his driving style with regard to the prevailing fuel consumption level, and to modify his driving behaviour as necessary.
Exemplary active and passive safety as standard
The revamped GLK again incorporates the integral safety concept in keeping with Mercedes-Benz's brand philosophy, which is based first and foremost on real accident scenarios. The GLK's highly robust occupant cell provides an effective foundation for the occupant protection systems in conjunction with the front and rear deformation zones. The GLK offers the following items of equipment as standard:
Airbags for driver and front passenger, kneebag for driver, pelvis bag for driver and front passenger, sidebag for driver and front passenger, windowbag for driver, front passenger and rear passengers
Seat occupancy recognition for front passenger seat
ISOFIX child seat anchorage points in the rear and Top Tether attachment points on the rear of the rear seat backrest
5 head restraints, height- and tilt-adjustable for driver, front passenger and in the rear, crash-responsive NECK-PRO head restraints for driver and front passenger
3-point seat belts including mechanical belt height adjustment and belt force limiter for driver and front passenger plus automatic belt height adjustment on the outer rear seats, belt status display for rear seats in the instrument cluster
Active safety is supported by the following items of equipment:
ADAPTIVE BRAKE including Hill-Start Assist, HOLD function, brake drying in the wet and priming
AGILITY CONTROL suspension with selective damping system
Antilock Brake System (ABS)
Acceleration Skid Control (ASR)
Brake Assist (BAS), assisting the driver with additional brake power when emergency braking is detected
Direct-Steer system with speed-sensitive power assistance and variable steering ratio
STEER CONTROL, supports the driver in unstable driving conditions by triggering an impulse which can be felt on the steering wheel, prompting countersteering by the driver in the correct direction
ESP® Electronic Stability Program including trailer stabilisation
4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive with 4ETS electronic traction system (except for GLK 200/220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY)
Tyre pressure loss warning
Complete model programme, impressive equipment variants
The GLK offers a standard of equipment and appointments on a par with the premium segment, including details which are generally the reserve of higher classes of vehicle. With a total of seven model versions, the GLK furthermore offers one of the most comprehensive model ranges in the compact SUV segment*:
All models come as standard with a comprehensive range of equipment and appointments designed to optimise safety, comfort and agility for the occupants or to relieve the strain on the driver both on long trips and in urban traffic. The standard scope of interior appointments includes electrically adjustable front seats with height and backrest adjustment, a folding armrest for driver and front passenger with stowage compartment, a folding rear armrest with double cup holder and stowage compartment, THERMATIC 2-zone automatic climate control, 12 V sockets in the centre console and the luggage compartment, power windows all-round with one-touch control and automatic reversing function and a trip computer with current consumption indicator.
Rain sensor, Headlamp Assist, central locking with infrared radio remote control, cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC variable speed limiter (except for GLK 200/220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY) and outside temperature indicator still all feature as standard, as does green-tinted heat-insulating glass all-round, heated, electrically adjustable exterior mirrors in body colour with aspherically curved glass and integrated indicator and 43.2 cm (17-inch) 7-spoke light-alloy wheels.
The scope of individualisation options for the new GLK models covers virtually every conceivable wish, particularly with regard to the broad choice of metallic and non-metallic paints and the vast range of interior options. In all, there is a choice of ten metallic and non-metallic paints and two special paint finishes in diamond white BRIGHT metallic and luzonite grey.
The interior guarantees the hallmark congenial Mercedes atmosphere and can be appointed in a variety of styles ranging from sporty to classically elegant. The spectrum of single-tone interior options ranges from alpaca grey through various beige tones to black, while the available two-tone design leather finishes are black/corteccia, black/porcelain and black/light brown.
Mercedes offers the most diverse range of SUVs
The most diverse range of SUVs in the premium segment comes from Mercedes-Benz. A total of five model lines are available in this globally growth-oriented market. R-, M- and GL-Class round off the successful family alongside the compact GLK and the classic "G" all-terrain vehicle.
The G-Class is the longest-serving model series from Mercedes-Benz, and has been in production now for 33 years. Originally designed back in 1979 as a vehicle for tough off-road use, the G-Class has undergone an astounding evolutionary process. Over the course of 33 years, Mercedes-Benz has refined the initially functionally oriented off-road specialist, providing it with a high-class interior and on-road handling on a par with the Stuttgart-based automobile manufacturer's premium saloons. The G-Class is recognised here as the top model among the luxury off-road vehicles, also providing the gene pool for the other successful SUVs from the Mercedes-Benz brand. The G-Class has been voted off-roader of the year countless times over the past decades – most recently last year.
The R-Class is the model available in the largest number of different variants, its greatest merits being the exceptional comfort which it offers on long journeys and its highly variable interior with up to seven seats. The most successful Mercedes-Benz SUV, with sales topping 1,000,000, is the M-Class, which was premiered in 1997 and is regarded as the forerunner of all modern premium SUVs. The third generation was presented in 2011. It offers impressive performance both on- and off-road and has become established as a champion of efficiency: the ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC gets by on 6.0 litres of diesel per hundred kilometres (NEDC fuel consumption).
The beginning of 2012 marked another milestone for the SUV models from Mercedes-Benz. From the market launch of the G-Class 33 years ago until the end of 2011, over two million models were delivered to customers. The SUVs account for around one fifth of Mercedes-Benz's global sales. The USA is by far the largest market for the entire SUV family, including the M-Class, the GLK and the GL-Class. The second-largest market for off-road vehicles as a whole is China, followed by Germany. The G-Class off-road classics are the most popular choice on the domestic market in Germany, while the R-Class enjoys the strongest demand in China.
Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Series, Test Vehicles Management, Sports Communications