All photos by Mercedes-Benz
If you’re looking for a luxury crossover vehicle, you should definitely include the 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4MATIC in your short list. While the 2011 model hasn’t changed much from the 2010 version, the vehicle has everything you would expect from a Mercedes. The GLK350 is the smallest and least expensive SUV in their lineup, but it’s one of the best options you’ll find in the small crossover segment.
You’ll immediately recognize the GLK350 as a Mercedes with the distinctive emblem on the front grill, but the vehicle has a sporty feel to it that you don’t often find from their vehicles. It retains the Mercedes elegance but it leaves the impression that that it’s ready for some fun. It looks very natural in the photo below towing the jet skis, and I can see more active buyers enjoying the vehicle.
The design isn’t as aerodynamic and bubbly as some of the other offerings in this segment, but that’s a refreshing departure. I liked the sharper lines and the more vertical feel of the design.
The interior of the GLK350 is impeccably crafted as you would expect from a Mercedes. The 8-way power-adjustable seats were very comfortable, even if it took me a while to find the controls on the door as opposed to the side if the driver’s seat. I liked the new steering wheel and the overall feel of the dash. The room in the back seat was adequate, and the cargo volume with the 2nd row seats down is 54.7 cubic feet.
The vehicle is loaded with technology. The controls were pretty easy to use, but with most of today’s vehicles you have to spend some time with the manual if you want to enjoy all the features as so many are packed in. I particularly liked the central COMMAND controller, which is a large “master dial” you’ll find at the end of the driver’s armrest, making it easy to bounce around the numerous menu programs. Our vehicle was loaded with the Premium Package and the Multimedia Package.
The ride had the solid feel that fans of German engineering have come to love. It’s nimble and sturdy all at the same time. I had the Mercedes for a week and it was a joy to drive. It handled every condition with ease, from winding roads and city driving to accelerating on the freeways. It’s also very quiet and I loved the tight turning radius.
The GLK350 has good power with a 3.5-liter 24-valve V6 engine, with 268 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 258 ft-lbs of torque from 2400 rpm. You can kick up the performance of the vehicle a bit in the Sport setting. The 7G-TRONIC 7-speed automatic transmission offers smooth and quick acceleration. Standard features include the 4MATIC Permanent All-Wheel Drive, ESP (Electronic Stability Program), ABS and ASR (Acceleration Skid Control).One of the few drawbacks for this vehicle is fuel economy, as it gets just 16-mpg city and 21-mpg highway. On the plus side, it’s loaded with every safety feature you can imagine with 9 airbags.
The 350GLK starts at $35,500 MSRP and the model we drove was decked out and listed at $45,985 (you can also select a rear-wheel drive version that will save you $2,000 off the price). For a luxury crossover the price is well worth it, and I can see this vehicle appealing to a wide range of target buyers as it meets so many needs and is appropriate for so many different situations. So it’s very practical while offering top line luxury with a sporty feel.
Click the thumbnails below to see full versions of each photo.