KBB Editors' Overview
By Zach Vlasuk - Updated Date: 3/1/2012
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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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.
What's New for 2012
There are no significant changes slated for the 2012 GLK350 versus the 2011 model.
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.
Notable Standard Equipment
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.
Notable Optional Equipment
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.
Under the Hood
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)
The 2012 GLK350 SUV has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $36,000 for the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) model, and tops out near a whopping $60,000 for a fully loaded 4Matic GLK 350. We expect our Fair Purchase Price values to reflect real-world transaction prices within a few hundred dollars of sticker price. As for resale, we project that the 2012 GLK350 will hold strong 5-year residual values, better than the Land Rover Evoque, nearly equal to the BMW X3, and just below the Infiniti EX35 and Audi Q5.