Competes with: BMW X3, Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX
Looks like: The new diesel option could make the GLK one of the most fuel-efficient luxury SUVs on the market
Drivetrain: 302-hp, 3.5-liter V-6; 190-hp, 2.1-liter inline-four diesel; seven-speed automatic transmission
Hits dealerships: This summer
For the 2013 model year, the Mercedes-Benz GLK compact luxury SUV gets a mild refresh that includes a restyled front end, a new dash and the addition of a diesel engine.
Starting with the biggest change, the GLK gets a 250 Bluetec trim for the model year. Mercedes says this four-cylinder diesel is the most powerful ever to reside in an SUV; the direct-injected 2.1-liter inline-four makes 190 horsepower and 369 pounds-feet of torque. The GLK250 Bluetec comes standard with permanent all-wheel drive.
The GLK350 uses the same 3.5-liter V-6 from three years ago, though now it produces 302 hp and 273 pounds-feet of torque (up from 268 hp and 258 pounds-feet of torque). The V-6 now comes with a stop/start system to improve gas mileage, and the trim is available with either rear- or all-wheel drive. Both engines are mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Up front, the headlights, front bumper, diffuser, grille and hood are restyled. The model now comes standard with LED daytime running lights and LED accent lighting lower in the bumper. The rear remains pretty much unchanged, though there's more chrome garnish and new LED lighting patterns in the taillights. New 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheels come standard.
The cabin features a completely redesigned dashboard that looks more upscale than the former GLK's plastic-looking interior. The dash has a large burl walnut wood trim piece, redesigned radio and multimedia controls, and large chrome-ringed radial air vents. The transmission shifter has been moved from the center console to the steering-wheel column, a modern styling element seen on recent Mercedes vehicles. This frees up space for cupholders.
Newly available features include an automatic-self parking option and blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning systems. A drowsiness detection system is now standard.
The 2013 GLK350 goes on sale this summer, with the GLK250 Bluetec following in early 2013.