By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.9
The 2012 GLK350 has some big shoes to fill as the junior member of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family. To the delight of its larger siblings – the Mercedes M-Class and GL-Class – the compact GLK offers the modern styling, upscale amenities and advanced safety features one should expect from a luxury vehicle. Developed on Mercedes-Benz's best-selling C-Class platform, the 2012 GLK combines the comfortable ride quality and enticing technology of the C with the versatility of a small SUV.
If you desire traditional SUV features, such as a spacious cargo area and an elevated seating position, but you want it in a smaller, more practical package, the 2012 Mercedes GLK is a good choice.
Those looking for a luxury SUV with sedan-like mpg might find the superior fuel economy of the Audi Q5 and Land Rover Evoque more appealing.
There are no significant changes slated for the 2012 GLK350 versus the 2011 model.
Driving Impressions The GLK's well-balanced chassis and sharp suspension tuning provide enjoyable driving on curvy roads. On the highway, we found the GLK's well insulated cabin dissipates the majority of road noise,...even when equipped with the panoramic sunroof. The only engine choice is a 3.5-liter V6 that delivers ample power for typical daily driving, but lacks the crisp throttle response and fuel efficiency found in most modern V6 engines. The 7-speed automatic transmission provides silky smooth gear changes along with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual-style shifting. The electric power-steering system, however, offers an inordinately sensitive feel that requires constant supervision on the highway.
harman/kardon LOGIC7 audio system
This impressive audio system features impeccable sound quality with 11 speakers, including a subwoofer, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and 6GB of storage for your music.
COMAND multimedia controller
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK's COMAND multimedia controller is conveniently located for simple operation of the audio, navigation and communication functions. Combined with the dash-mounted LCD screen, the COMAND interface allows for streamlined information retrieval to help keep your eyes off the LCD and on the road where they belong.
The GLK's interior architecture features a simplistic, yet elegant design with sharp lines and attentive ergonomics. Despite its entry-level price point (for the brand), the GLK's superb fit and finish and high-quality soft-touch materials uphold Mercedes-Benz's reputation for fine craftsmanship. The 5-passenger GLK350 features a 60/40 split rear seat and a generous, for its size, 54.7 cubic feet of cargo space. While the front seats are not as comfortable as its Lexus RX and Audi Q5 challengers, they do feature 8-way adjustability and ample bolstering for spirited driving. Controlling the GLK's abundance of high-tech features is Mercedes-Benz's intuitive COMAND multimedia interface.
Complementing its stout, aggressive stance, the Mercedes-Benz GLK features strong character lines, angled wheel arches and a 2-bar chrome grille. Large windows combined with slender structural pillars provide exceptional outward visibility. The available AMG Styling Package adds aluminum roof rails and LED daytime running lights, and replaces the standard 19-inch wheels with massive 20-inch twin 5-spoke wheels. Despite its tall appearance, the 2012 GLK is as easy to step in and out of as a traditional sedan.
The GLK350 is the only 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK version offered. Standard equipment includes roof rails, 19-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, Burl Walnut interior trim, MP3/WMA interface, 8-way power-adjustable front seats, and Bluetooth hands-free phone capability. Significant safety features include nine airbags, Neck Pro front headrests to help reduce the severity of whiplash injuries, hill-start assist to prevent unintended rollback on steep inclines, and an Automatic Brake Drying system for improved braking in moist conditions.
The 2012 GLK350 offers Mercedes-Benz's 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD) system, aluminum interior trim, a panoramic roof, sonar proximity warning system for those difficult parking situations, Xenon headlights (up to three times brighter than conventional halogen headlights), an 11-speaker harman/kardon sound system, and conversational voice recognition software to wrangle multimedia commands.
Ten years ago, a 3.5-liter V6 pumping out 268 horsepower would have impressed most prospective buyers. However, with today's modern V6 power plants, 300-plus horsepower engines with admirable fuel economy are the norm. While the GLK's outdated V6 returns meager fuel economy, it does provide smooth power delivery and a quiet operation. Matched to the GLK350's lone engine choice is a 7-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Logic technology that monitors your driving style and alters shift points accordingly.
268 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg (RWD), 16/21 mpg (AWD)
By Greg on Saturday, September 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I'm still waiting for something, anything, to go wrong. Repairs are still near zero. I get compliments from everyone who sees or rides in my GLK. Other drivers keep their distance, even in parking lots. Maybe it's the red color. Maybe it's the wax job. Or maybe it's the MB symbol."
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By 3rd time on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Outstanding handling in snow and rain"
Cons: "Std equip should include back-up camera"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Great handling vehicle with more than ample get-up-and-go. Back-up camera and blind spot monitors should be standard on this vehicle given Mercedes stated emphasis on safety."
10 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Ed on Friday, July 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,300overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Drove from SC to North Dakota and back over three weeks--personal road trip for pleasure. Excellent handling in all situations. Great around town car, my primary use. More interior storage would be nice."
9 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Mercedes on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive."
Cons: "One small rattle in the muffler."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I can't get her to drive my "free" company car because she loves this car. It has eaten the tires after 25K miles but she is mostly in town. Great car. Lots of fun. AWD is nice for that one snow every three years."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Phil on Saturday, June 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Electronics is outstanding, powerful,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this SUV for one year and would recommend it to anyone. You feel like you are driving a sports car with its power and suspension. I bought this SUV for the winter months, my summer car is a Porsche Turbo Carrera."
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Riley007 on Friday, June 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, small 4 WD SUV"
Cons: "Eco, windows, cheap plastic running lights"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have had my GLK 350 for 10 months and I still hate it. I had a 2012 GLK 350 that I really liked and I traded it for a 2014 and I regret that. The Eco option drives me insane; the heat turns off in the winter and the AC in the summer. You have to manually disable Eco every time you start the car or it stalls at traffic lights and in traffic. BMW will disable the Eco option, but Mercedes refuses to. I will NEVER buy another Mercedes with Eco, it is very, very annoying."
8 people out of 9 found this review helpful