The redesign for 2013 involves nearly 1,000 new parts that include bolder front and rear bumpers, new headlights and a more graceful front grille. Inside, the new dash features eyecatching burl walnut trim that now spans the entire width of the cabin as well as shift controls relocated to the steering column.
Smaller and lighter than its well-known SUV siblings, the 2013-model GLK is also equipped with a new direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine with 302 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, an innovative ECO Start/Stop system, a more fuel-efficient seven-speed automatic transmission with Direct Select and electromechanical steering. A fuel-sipping four-cylinder diesel model, the GLK250 BlueTEC, will arrive early next year.
A number of innovative Mercedes-Benz safety features are available for the first time on the GLK, including standard ATTENTION ASSIST and optional DISTRONIC PLUS with PRE-SAFE Brake, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. The new electrically assisted steering also makes possible optional Active Parking Assist.
Falling asleep at the wheel causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S., and the ATTENTION ASSIST system can alert drivers to the first signs of drowsiness. Now standard equipment on the 2013 GLK, a steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving.
Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning, and a "Time for a rest?" message with a coffee cup icon appears in the instrument cluster. ATTENTION ASSIST is a great example of new technology that doesn't need to be expensive to save lives.
A new option for the 2013-model GLK, Blind Spot Assist uses dedicated radar sensors to monitor both blind spots behind the vehicle. Whenever a turn signal is activated with a vehicle in the blind spot, the driver gets visual and audible warnings. A separate option, Active Blind Spot Assist incorporates an intervention feature, in which ESP braking automatically helps correct the car's course if the driver doesn't heed the initial warning.
Another new option, Lane Keeping Assist makes use of a special computer to analyze images from a multi-purpose camera in the windshield to recognize lane markings. This system alerts the driver by simulating rumble strip vibrations in the steering wheel if the car drifts from its lane without the turn signals on. A separate option, Active Lane Keeping Assist (as well as Active Blind Spot Assist) incorporates an intervention feature, in which ESP braking automatically helps correct the car's course if the driver doesn't heed the initial warning.
Also new for 2013, Adaptive Highbeam Assist uses a windshield-mounted camera to control the vertical tilt of both the low- and high-beam headlights. The system is engaged by turning the headlight switch to "Auto" and turning on the high beam setting. Whenever there are no other vehicles in front, the high beams come on automatically, with the lights increasing gradually rather than suddenly. Since drivers no longer have to think about controlling the high beams, Adaptive Highbeam Assist makes it safer and easier to drive in the dark.
For the first time on the GLK, an optional DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control system uses radar sensors to help maintain a pre-set following distance behind the vehicle ahead. The system can actually brake the car to a full stop and accelerate it again. DISTRONIC PLUS works at speeds up to 125 mph and can be especially helpful in stop-and-go traffic.
Short-range 24-gigahertz radar sweeps the first 66 yards in a fan-shaped 60-degree pattern, working in tandem with a narrower 18-degree beam of 77-gigahertz radar. The two radar frequencies complement each other to cover a full range of more than 220 yards - longer than two football fields.
All cars equipped with the optional radar-based DISTRONIC PLUS system reap the benefit of another revolutionary Mercedes-Benz safety feature - PRE-SAFE® Brake. To reduce accident severity, the latest version of PRE-SAFE Brake applies full braking automatically in emergencies.
When PRE-SAFE Brake senses an impending collision with the help of DISTRONIC PLUS, the system sounds three warning tones. About 1.6 seconds before impact is likely, partial braking is automatically initiated, and PRE-SAFE occupant protection measures are activated. If the driver still fails to react, full-power braking is initiated 0.6 seconds before the collision, reducing the impact and effectively acting as an "electronic crumple zone."
Also optional, PARKTRONIC uses six ultra-sound sensors in the front bumper and four in the rear bumper to detect obstacles in the system's field of view. The system provides audible warnings and displays the proximity of obstacles using bar graph displays - one on the center dashboard for the front and another for the rear that's visible in the rear-view mirror.
The new electro-mechanical steering assist helps make the GLK a very dynamic SUV, and also makes possible Advanced Parking Assist, which works with PARKTRONIC to provide stress-free parallel parking. Below about 20 mph, a "P" icon appears in the dash to show that an electronic parking space search is active. Whenever a parking space is found that's at least one meter (39.4 inches) longer than the car, an arrow appears next to the "P" icon. When reverse is engaged and the driver confirms Advance Parking Assist is desired, the system initiates automatic steering as the driver controls acceleration and braking at speeds below 7 mph. The system can provide up to five corrections, after which the wheels are straightened.
If the car is parked using Active Parking Assist, the system can also provide a helpful automatic exit feature. When "D" or "R" is engaged, the car asks whether the driver wants automatic exiting. If the driver says "yes," the system steers automatically to exit the parking space, while the driver controls the accelerator and brake.
Classed as a mid-size SUV, the GLK is a key member of the successful Mercedes-Benz SUV family that includes the full-size M-Class, which spurred the trend toward more car-like SUVs, as well as the larger GL-Class and the rough-and-tough G-Class. The Mercedes-Benz GLK is just the right size for today's active couple, whether they're making a cross-country trip or running errands across town.
About 10 inches shorter than the M-Class, the GLK is also a few inches shorter than its primary competition - the Acura RDX, Infiniti EX and Lexus RX as well as European models such as the BMW X3 and the Land Rover LR2. At first glance, the GLK appears to be a smaller version of the GL, but a closer look reveals a modern interpretation of the iconic GClass. In sharp contrast to the relatively soft forms of other similar vehicles, the striking, angular nose of the GLK sets it apart from the competition. From its steeply raked windshield to the integrated rear spoiler on its tightly styled roof section, the bullish shape of the GLK suggests power and agility.
Following its 2009 debut in the small sport-utility category, the new GLK became one of the most fuel-efficient Mercedes-Benz vehicles ever produced, and it's also the most agile member of the Mercedes SUV family. With available 4MATIC full-time four-wheel drive and respectable ground clearance for off-road driving, its optional integrated running boards, roof rack and skid plates emphasize the versatile SUV character of the GLK.
Smaller and lighter than its well-known SUV siblings, the Mercedes-Benz GLK brings a special combination of agility and comfort to the SUV market. Like nearly all Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, the GLK features four-wheel independent suspension worthy of a sports sedan.
Standard Agility Control suspension provides the benefits of both soft and stiff shock absorbers. Each twin-tube shock absorber is fitted with a hydraulic by-pass piston that acts like a very soft shock absorber to effectively dampen road noise and tire vibration. However, over bumpy or uneven roads, the by-pass piston is out of the picture, preserving the outstanding steering and handling response of a stiffer shock absorber.