Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo-Diesel 2.1L I4
Power:
200 HP / 369 LB-FT
Transmission:
7-Speed Auto
0-60 Time:
7.9 Seconds
Top Speed:
130 MPH
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,321 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
54.7 CU-FT (max)
MPG:
24 City / 33 HWY
Base Price:
$38,590
We got our first taste of the refreshed 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK lineup last summer, once again affirming our belief that it's easy to fall in love with the littlest Benz CUV. There's something sort of charming about the boxy, rugged-looking luxury crossover, and while it won't set the world on fire in terms of driver engagement, it's a solid front-runner in the segment.

In addition to the GLK350 – in both rear- and all-wheel-drive forms – Mercedes-Benz has now launched this GLK250 BlueTEC model, packed with a brand new 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine and offered exclusively with the automaker's 4Matic all-wheel drive. With improved fuel economy and torque-tastic diesel characteristics, this oil-burning GLK could easily be the star child of the company's small CUV lineup. We hit the roads northwest of Ann Arbor, MI to find out.

Driving Notes
  • Mercedes' new 2.1-liter turbo-diesel engine is good for a healthy 200 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. This is the first application of Merc's new four-pot diesel here in the US, but we'll soon be seeing it in the E-Class later this year. Compared to the GLK350, the diesel engine has 102 less horsepower but 96 more foot-pounds of twist. What's more, the torque thrust is delivered at just 1,600 rpm in the BlueTEC, compared to 3,500 rpm in the GLK350.
  • That said, the GLK250 is significantly slower off the line than its naturally aspirated counterpart. Hitting 60 miles per hour in the BlueTEC takes 7.9 seconds, compared to only 6.4 seconds in the GLK350. Of course, the diesel model is slightly heavier than its petrol-drinking kin – 4,321 pounds here versus the 4,079 of a 4Matic-equipped GLK350.
  • Where you really win, though, is fuel economy. Mercedes-Benz rates the GLK350 4Matic at 19/24 miles per gallon (city/highway), but the BlueTEC increases those numbers to 24/33. That bests all other competitors in the class, for now. (Remember, there's an Audi Q5 TDI on the horizon...)
  • On the road, the 2.1-liter diesel is perfectly matched with the more relaxed dynamics of the GLK. Even with the more powerful 3.5-liter V6, this CUV isn't one to be hustled, but we rather like the refined characteristics of the Merc from behind the wheel.
  • There is a very small amount of turbo lag at takeoff, but once you hit the meat of the torque band, you'll never be at a loss for power. The seven-speed automatic transmission is a smooth operator, and has a sport mode that's more eager to fire off downshifts for spirited driving.
  • Steering feel is generally good, but doesn't offer as much feedback as a BMW X3. That said, the suspension is extremely well-sorted for a small luxury CUV application, providing just the right amount of feedback without ever being too abrasive, even on these large 19-inch wheels wrapped in 235/50R19 Continental 4x4 Contact tires. The brakes, however, feel weak in this GLK. You really need to sink your foot deep into the pedal to achieve adequate stopping force.
  • The interior of this GLK is as nice as it ever was. Thanks to that upright, boxy shape, and a tall glasshouse, the cabin feels very open and airy, especially with the shade retracted on that panoramic sunroof. It's an attractive interior, too, even in the dark hues of our tester. Everything is nicely organized and material quality throughout is nothing short of premium.
  • Naturally, a full host of infotainment and safety technology is available, including Mercedes' MBrace2 system. The interior is quite functional, too, with spacious rear accommodations and up to 54.7 cubic feet of storage with the bench folded flat.
  • The GLK250 BlueTEC 4Matic starts at $38,590, which falls in the middle of the $37,090 GLK350 and $39,090 GLK350 4Matic. Our fully optioned tester rang in at $50,485, and before you guffaw, know that an Audi Q5 Hybrid starts at $50,900 – that's without a single option box ticked.
  • Considering the cost savings over the GLK350 4Matic and the huge bump in fuel economy, we don't expect that the average GLK buyer will miss the added off-the-line oomph of the 3.5-liter engine all that much. This BlueTEC model is easily the best GLK yet.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 47 Comments
      e4rd4all
      • 1 Year Ago
      "the diesel model is slightly heavier than its petrol-drinking kin – 4,321 pounds here versus the 4,079" That's not slightly in my eyes.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Scooter
        • 1 Year Ago
        I almost agree with you until this generation. The front end looks more cartooney. Last gens was more silky and grownup.
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can't wait to see a comparison between this and an upcoming Q5 diesel.
      atc98092
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Q5 diesel is coming, but it won\'t have better mileage. It will have a V6, not a 4, and the same engine in the Touareg is 23/29MPG. Most reporters in Fuelly.com report a combined MPG of 25. Don\'t think the Q5 will be much better.
        Kronos
        • 1 Year Ago
        @atc98092
        True, though the Touareg is almost 20% heavier than the Q5. Fuel economy ratings from the UK market show the Q5 gets about 20% (no surprise) better than the Touareg.
      Rob
      • 1 Year Ago
      I found the rear cramped in the GLK, like kids under 10 only cramped. We really had our heart set on a GLK bluetec until we checked out the rear seat. Now its down to the Touareg or new GC, which are obviously bigger. Really loved the VW but waiting for a GC to come in stock to test drive. GLK is still a looker though, IMO.
        Dam plm
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rob
        Hey Rob.We have a 2013 Touareg TDI Lux and we couldnt be more amazed with it. Here are the reasons why it won hands down. 1. The power-train warranty: 10 year, 100,000 mile. 2. The dealership is literally 5 min away and VW has the most and longest experience in diesel service then any others here in the US 3. We actually tow with it (has class IV hitch) and at 6620lbs it barely feels like you have something on the back. 4. Of the 27,000 miles on it, we never had issues with it. No rattles, no weakness like other people say about VW. 5. The Mpg is like this: 24-26 city and HW is more like 30-33. around 80 we get 29.8mpg. 6. The deal was amazing. msrp was 54,200...we got it odo for 51K. No one couldnt beat their price and their service (Gunther VW of Coconut Creek) . 7. Its built in Bratislava, Slovenia and they are just as well built like the German Cayenne (Ive compared these two and I can testify of their built quality.) 8. Permanent 4wd which we use it in NC winters/off-road and when taking the boat out of the slippery ramp works flawlessly and without hesitation. 9. This engine feels more alive and spirited then the others. 9. We got it in Aug last yr and the Jeep wasnt even out. 10. I like the aggressive front fascia with the leds shaped in U and the refinement of the whole package. 11. Great work horse with the right attitude sums it up. Read the rest of my post on Motortrend. Im the same guy. Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/suvs/1307_luxury_diesel_suv_comparison/viewall.html#ixzz2SdZLuBvO
        Shahul X
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rob
        Yea the least cutsey of the "cute utes." I like the GC diesel...cool car... Id pass on the Vw's...check the dependability scores....eeeesh
          Matt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Shahul X
          Because Fiat and Jeep are so well-regarded in the reliability department... Neither the diesel JGC nor Touareg will be above average in the reliability. At least VW mechanics know how to work on diesels; good luck getting your italian diesel repaired by your typical Jeep tech. The two vehicles are more alike than different. The Jeep has more off-road capability, the VW has better road manners (better steering feel/handling/braking). I'd take either over the diesel crossover options from MB or BMW.
      dude
      • 1 Year Ago
      RDX is better looking, performing, and value......who would buy this? oh thats right little becky wants a benz for her sweet 16
        Dave Hamby
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dude
        It's also based on an inferior transverse engine platform with inferior dynamics built by a company with no heritage. And better looking? Looks are subjective, but any of the Acuras of the past 5 years have to be some of the most hideous things on the road. No thanks.
        Shahul X
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dude
        or you can buy a Honda CRV, same car.... who buys Acuras?
          clquake
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Shahul X
          It's really not the same car, but if it helps you sleep at night you can keep telling yourself that. Upgraded engine, suspension, transmission, interior, none of the body panels interchange, retuned awd. The V6 engine even has better heat dissipation technology than a Honda version. And yes, I have a very good friend who designs/engineers the engines for Acura. He knows I'd hit him with my car if he lied to me about this stuff.
          makasay
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Shahul X
          Acura outsells Audi and Infiniti... by a lot
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        clquake
        • 1 Year Ago
        That's the first time I've ever known anyone to call a MB crude!
          NightFlight
          • 1 Year Ago
          @clquake
          @ EVnerdGene How about something that is charged by dirty coal? That's crude. Please keep your garbage off of AB and stick to your forums or AB Green.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @clquake
          anything that burns oil is indeed crude
      canuckcharlie
      • 1 Year Ago
      despite the improved fuel economy the overall operating cost wont be cheap
        pmpjunkie01
        • 1 Year Ago
        @canuckcharlie
        If you want cheap you shouldn't consider driving a Benz!
      Zoom
      • 1 Year Ago
      Man, throw a manual transmission in this and I'd be over it like white-on-rice.
      e4rd4all
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think this makes sense when compared to the GLK350, but that's because the GLK350's engine is gas hog. Most other small sport and cross over utility vehicle can get nearly 30 highway or better without the extra cost of running a diesel.
        Snark
        • 1 Year Ago
        @e4rd4all
        Or, you can get the same fuel economy, more power and space, and much more capability out of a diesel Grand Cherokee that costs $8k less. And that's just one way I can think of to spend $50k on a vehicle, or combination of vehicles, with decent daily fuel economy, space, power, and a bit of capability.
      Vien Huynh
      • 1 Year Ago
      50K??? For GLK250?????
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Vien Huynh
        It is fully loaded. How is this surprising in the least? Go max out a Q5 or X3 and see what happens.
        clquake
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Vien Huynh
        Are you new to MB?
          Vien Huynh
          • 1 Year Ago
          @clquake
          I mean GLK's pricing
          Vien Huynh
          • 1 Year Ago
          @clquake
          I'm new to benz pricing, I never play with GLK configurator before.
        Frank Bevalaqua
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Vien Huynh
        I agree - 50K plus every time you go to the Mercedes dealer for service they will bend you over
        Kumar
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Vien Huynh
        Never priced out a Benz before? Regardless, it's rare (might as well cap that RARE) to see a base model handed out to writers/bloggers to test drive. You want to highlight the nice stuff, not leaving testers wishing for more when they are reviewing your product.
      EVnerdGene
      • 1 Year Ago
      FUV x DIEsel = double negative? Send to AutoBlogGray
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