Yet another batch of Mercedes reviews have managed to infiltrate the eMercedesBenz offices on this frigid Tuesday morning, with a grand total of three publications weighing in on Mercedes’ newest SUV – the highly publicized 2010 GLK350 4MATIC.
As is the case with all our Mercedes Review Roundups, you read excerpts highlighting precisely what reviewers thought of the new model immediately below, along with links back to the various publications’ full, action-packed articles.
Enjoy ladies and gentlemen.
2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4MATIC (via Motor Trend)
Reviewer’s rating: Unspecified
“Few Mercedes-Benz owners in the U.S. ever take their vehicles off-road, a reality the German automaker not only realizes but embraces. Thus, the GLK is targeted at affluent women — and it appears Mercedes has hit its mark. This baby Benz has clearly been refined for the on-road market.
Consider the evidence: The off-road package that Mercedes-Benz claims will allow the GLK to rival the Land Rover LR2 in off-road capability will not be available in the U.S. Neither will the two Euro-market diesel engines, despite their efficiency advantages. As if to drive the point home, our tester arrived wearing 20-inch wheels wrapped with Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires. While the sidewalls may have revealed a mud and snow rating, the tread hardly looked trail-ready. Clearly, the GLK350 is not meant to tackle much more than the occasional snowy drive to a condo in the mountains.
We’re okay with that, because while the GLK might not keep up with a Jeep Wrangler on the soft stuff, it will be far more pleasant to live with during the work week. Heated leather seats, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and a superb stereo will make the office commute and jaunts to the mall and supermarket more than bearable. The fully adjustable seats keep your backside happy on long drives, and the COMAND infotainment system is easy to learn and provides quick access to stereo, phone, and navigation. While the COMAND control knob operates much like BMW’s iDrive, the system is more user-friendly. Unfortunately, Mercedes has placed the knob at an odd angle behind the gear select lever, requiring an uncomfortable reach. Moving it just an inch farther forward, away from the edge of the armrest, would help immensely.
While the satellite radio and iPod interface will keep you entertained in traffic, the superb drivetrain will put a smile on your face when you finally get out of town. In the hills above Malibu, the 268-horsepower V-6, seven-speed automatic transmission, and 4Matic all-wheel drive system make the GLK350 a surprisingly sporty ride. While the steering is, in typical SUV fashion, rather slow (2.75 turns lock-to-lock,), it’s accurate. The big Pirelli meats offer impressive grip, and even when they began to let go, stability and traction control quickly reeled in the errant wheels. At the track, all that grip, plus surprisingly flat cornering, translated to an impressive 0.80 g of lateral acceleration and an equally impressive 28.1-second lap time around the Motor Trend Figure Eight.
The transmission rocks. While the GLK’s seven-speed auto allows for manual shifting by rocking the shift lever left to right, driver input really isn’t necessary. Switch the vehicle from Comfort Mode to Sport mode and the seven-speed will hold gears longer, allowing quick bursts between turns without ever changing cogs.
On the track, the 3.5-liter V-6 hustled the Benz to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds. Stops were equally impressive: 60 to 0 mph in just 124 feet. Brake-pedal feel left much to be desired, though. The first half of travel is mushy and provides little stopping power. Then, forces suddenly firm up considerably and the brakes bite hard. The GLK needs a more gradual, linear braking response.
To their credit, the brakes have a tough job. Despite its smallish size, the GLK tips the scales at 4214 pounds. Still, the GLK never feels like a porker. Merging and passing on the freeway are effortless, and the GLK can pull off a 15.0-second quarter-mile at 92.9 mph. The real penalty is fuel economy: The GLK carries an estimated EPA city/highway rating of just 16/22 mpg. And it only drinks premium.”
2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4MATIC (via Car and Driver)
Reviewer’s rating: Unspecified
“Associations with Mercedes-Benz and sticker prices typically involve an adjective equivalent to the word “high.” So it’s a bit of a surprise to find out that the 2010 GLK350 4MATIC starts at a not unreasonable $36,775, which is $3450 less than a 2009 BMW X3 sport-ute. A two-wheel-drive GLK, coming in April, will shed another $2000 off the window sticker. The competitive pricing—an Acura RDX SUV starts $2320 below the 4MATIC—is meant to lure “conquest buyers.” Mercedes-Benz predicts that 70 percent of GLK customers will be new to the German luxury brand.
The cost-wary might want to avoid some of the $6670 worth of extravagant options on our test car. Highlights include the $3350 Multimedia package (which includes navigation) and a $970 appearance package with 20-inch wheels and tires and chromed roof rails. Running boards add another $660 and are positioned to soil clean pants upon exiting the vehicle.
Mercedes has hit the mark perfectly with the GLK. The 3.5-liter V-6 puts out 268 horsepower, eight more than the X3. The 4219-pound curb weight is on the heavy side of the class average, but the seven-speed automatic allows for shorter ratios in the lower gears, resulting in a 0-to-60-mph time of 6.5 seconds. That’s dead even with the RDX, which was quickest in our most recent small-luxury-SUV comparo.
Despite 0.82 g of grip, the GLK doesn’t offer the carlike handling of the RDX or the X3. A soft ride is backed up by one-finger-light steering, and uneven pavement results in pronounced head toss. Though refined, the GLK drives more like its G-wagen looks than its C-class underpinnings.
Cargo space—23 cubic feet behind the rear seats, 55 cubes with the seats folded–isn’t as much as you’d get in the RDX or the X3. The rear seat has plenty of kneeroom, which is an improvement over the C-class. Mercedes doesn’t sell the wagon version of the C-class stateside, but the GLK fills that role perfectly, as long as you’re not looking for driving thrills.”
2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4MATIC (via SearchChicago)
Reviewer’s rating: Unspecified
“If I were ever going to own an SUV, it would be something like the all-new Mercedes Benz GLK350. It’s got a lengthy list of standards at a base level. It drives incredibly well. It’s small enough for comfortable city driving, yet large enough to have usable cargo space. And it’s attractive. Not to mention the Mercedes cachet. Oh, and the base price? It rings in at $34,775.
The five-passenger GLK-Class launches as a 2010 model, but the 4MATIC model is available now, and the base rear-wheel drive GLK350 appears at dealers in April. The GLK is slotted as the new compact entry-level SUV for Mercedes, with a price point to match. Upgrading to the M-Class increases the MSRP by $13K, and the GL-Class adds $24K over the GLK.
Without spending any extra money on options, a buyer is looking at standard features such as 19-inch aluminum wheels with all-season tires, dual chrome exhaust tips, roof rails, Bluetooth, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control adaptive brakes, six airbags and Agility Control suspension.
What isn’t included are some fairly basic features I’d expect at a luxury level. However, this à la cart menu is typical of a Mercedes. Here’s a heads up for you on some of those items you’ll have to pay extra for: an iPod integration kit ($375), park assist ($790), heated front seats ($740) and any color of exterior paint other than red, white or black ($720). The test vehicle was the 4MATIC version, which was greatly appreciated in this hideous weather we’ve been having. Base price with the all-wheel drive is $36,775, and believe me, for an extra $2K over the base model, it’s so worth it.
Powering the GLK is a 3.5-liter V-6, and this engine is superb. It delivers 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Mated to the seven-speed transmission, the power is smooth seamless and fast. Fast to the tune of 6.5 seconds for a 0-to-60-mph time. Not bad for a 4,036-pound vehicle.
Whether I was navigating through the mounds of snow in my alley or zipping down the highway, the GLK was perfectly acclimated to both situations. From the engine power to the actual ride-and-handling, I have zero complaints with how the test vehicle drove. It did exactly what I needed in every situation, and I couldn’t have been more pleased.
I was also pleased with the looks of Mercedes’ newest SUV. The GLK has strong straight lines and the bold Mercedes grille. It’s more than just a sawed-off version of the ML-Class and GL-Class SUVs. It has a more angular profile, and, in my opinion, it’s more attractive. The long nose combined with the chiseled hood lines and fender flares are distinct and modern.”