What is it?

Mercedes-Benz’s edgy retort to the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Land Rover Freelander – the GLK.

The new mid-sized SUV sits on modified underpinnings from the company’s C-class 4Matic, and just like that car, the GLK has not been engineered for right hand drive and will not be sold in the UK. At least, not until 2011 when the German car maker says it plans to launch a right-hand drive version following what officials describe as “a major modification to the four-wheel drive system and a repositioning of the steering rack”.

The GLK slots in at the bottom of Mercedes’ SUV hierarchy, below the ML, GL and G-Wagen.

What’s it like

Surprisingly butch, considering its C-Class underpinnings. The moment your backside slides onto the GLK’s driver’s seat you are aware that the interior feels different from the soft-roader norm.

It all centres around GLK’s upright windscreen. Mercedes says it took inspiration from the G-class in creating its latest SUV, and this is not only reflected with the 50-degree rake of the windscreen but in many areas of the interior as well.

To call it old fashioned is probably going a little too far. The materials and trims are all very modern. But the shallow dashboard and upright seatbacks immediately remind you of 4x4s from the past. This is no real criticism, but it does mean that the Mercedes GLK takes a little getting used to first time out. That said, it is extremely comfortable over long distances.

Accommodation is quite generous, perhaps not class leading but thanks to the more upright packaging it’s better than the C-class estate. Large door apertures also ease entry – something that can’t be said for all rivals. With a nominal 450-litres below the luggage cover, the boot is not exactly commodious, but it has a low sill and flat floor even when the rear seats are folded away.

The range-topping GLK320 CDI boasts a 224bhp 3.0-litre common rail diesel. Despite having a hefty 1880kg to haul, the engine does an impressive job of propelling the bulky car.

Its prodigious 398lb ft of torque combines nicely with the slick action of the standard seven speed automatic gearbox to provide brisk off-the-line acceleration and impressive in-gear performance. Mercedes claims a 7.5sec 0-62mph time and a 137mph top speed, along with a combined fuel economy of 35.8mpg.

Predictably, it is the ride that impresses the most, though. Long travel and well matched spring rates ensure a first class ride, both around town and at higher speeds out on the open road.

A brief excursion away from the bitumen revealed the GLK is capable of delivering more in terms of off-road ability than most prospective buyers are ever likely to seek.

>> See more pictures of the Mercedes GLK

Should I buy one?

Sadly from British buyers, you can’t – for now at least. Which is a real shame as, on first impressions, this is a car that feels capable of running with the best in the pack.

Greg Kable

Join the debate

Comments
9

Re: Mercedes-Benz GLK 320 CDI

6 years 2 weeks ago

It certainly is not the prettiest sight, but this is what a compact SUV should be all about!

Being able to seat 5 occupants in comfort, and handle both the smooth and rough stuff with aplomb. That has been the hallmark of Mercedes-Benzes of old and I for one rejoice that it's finally back!

Not making it in RHD form for the first generation, however, is utterly unforgivable!

Re: Mercedes-Benz GLK 320 CDI

6 years 2 weeks ago

Not really sure why autocar have this as a headline review online.

The car in it's current form is never going to be avaliable for sale in the Uk or as a RHD model. I could understand say if it was something exceptional, or specific to one market (Japan/US) or news worthy but it's not!. Just another in a line of midi-SUV's.....

Plus i find the pricing strange- 36k??, add a few extras and you are in ML prices...

Re: Mercedes-Benz GLK 320 CDI

6 years 2 weeks ago

Yet another non-sensical faux-wheel-drive. Why would you require one at any price, never mind 36k. If you want to go off-road buy a Landie, if you want safety what's wrong with an ordinary saloon/estate and if you want a high driving position buy a van or a Penny Farthing.

Why is it not coming to the UK until 2011? Do Mercedes know something we don't about our fuel prices.....

Re: Mercedes-Benz GLK 320 CDI

6 years 2 weeks ago

Beautifully-put sotw. Only thing I'd add is why not keep it outside the UK till 3011?!

www.eco-trainer.net

Re: Mercedes-Benz GLK 320 CDI

6 years 2 weeks ago

Luckily in this country we have the freedom to make our own choices based on our own needs and, perhaps more importantly in this discussion, aspirations.

For the sake of argument, I don't have any need for a two door sports coupe- aren't they a waste of road space? They have the same footprint as a family saloon in many cases yet you can't get your luggage in, especially if you have a folding hard-top. If you want something fast, get an M5 and if you want something beautiful get a Quattroporte.

We all know that SUV's are 95% townie cars for school runs. We get that. It's irrelevant- just like the sector.

The fact that you don't have any need or desire to drive an SUV doesn't preclude anyone else from having the right to exercise their right to drive whatever they like without justifying it to anyone else.

Supercars are pointless aren't they. I mean what is the actual point of a 550 Maranello. Really?

btw. I hate this car. It's s**t. I'm not saying anything positive about it at all. I'm just defending my right to drive whatever I bloody well like.

Anyone want my soapbox. I'm finished with it now.....

Re: Mercedes-Benz GLK 320 CDI

6 years 5 days ago

A different spin on it perhaps?

There isn't really a lot of point of having this as head line from the aspect that it isn't coming to the UK for ages. Granted. However, the article was significant for me (probably more in the magazine than the web version) because of things like the exterior design and more significantly dash board design in this vehicle.

To me it this looks like an updated version of the design philosophies used in the old W124 series era cars. The narrow dash, the angular styling and allegedly the quality of the build, all hopefully pointers to future of the cars we will get in the UK.

May be this is where Autocar were heading?

Agreed, we need another off roader in this economic and environmental climate like a hole in the head, but if this signals Mercedes are going back to their core values of quality and integrity then great, I think it was worth reading.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Re: Mercedes-Benz GLK 320 CDI

5 years 51 weeks ago

Don't disagree with your point kerrecoe. But what I'm trying to do is help rid us of automotive irrelevancies. Sports coupes and supercars aren't irrelevant if they're purchased so that their core points can be enjoyed - sweet handling, lightning pace etc. My beef is that something that has off road ability as one of its main selling points should be used as such, and if it is not it should be left on the shelf.

www.eco-trainer.net

Re: Mercedes-Benz GLK 320 CDI

5 years 49 weeks ago

Wow - a car even uglier than the X3, X6 and Cayenne.

Are the German companies engaged in a competition to see who can make the ugliest car and still sell loads of them?

Re: Mercedes-Benz GLK 320 CDI

4 years 24 weeks ago

I was looking to buy the ML350 and the little extras brought it to £52k Big difference to the £39K of the GLK. Most important is better re-sale than the new Freelander HSE that runs in at £39k loaded, so will I part ex my freelander for a GLK. YES Only problem is now the girlfriend still wants a ML for the UK.

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