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Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class Performance

Test drivers say the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 offers plenty of power, but most prefer the diesel-powered GLK250 BlueTEC for its combination of strong power and impressive fuel economy. Reviewers like the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class’ composed handling and responsive steering, but some complain that its ride can feel a bit jarring.

  • "The gas-powered GLK350's broad torque band and flexible 7-speed transmission enable it to command strong acceleration during city driving while maintaining comfortable engine rpms during highway cruising. But don't let images of black-smoke-spewing diesels keep the GLK250 BlueTEC off your shopping list. This diesel variant is remarkably quiet, quick and clean." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "The addition of the BlueTEC turbodiesel in the GLK250 offers another reason to seek out this baby Benz: class-leading fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "The GLK's competitors, the Audi Q5, BMW X5 and Acura RDX, are all quite sporty. While the GLK does offer a carlike driving character, it isn't as agile as its rivals." -- MSN (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 has a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 302 horsepower. The diesel-powered GLK250 BlueTEC comes with a twin-turbo 2.1-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 200 horsepower. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. According to the EPA, the base GLK350 earns 19/26 mpg city/highway, which is low for the class. However, the diesel-powered GLK250’s EPA-estimated 24/33 mpg is outstanding for the class.

Reviewers say the GLK350 delivers swift acceleration off the line. However, most agree that the diesel-powered GLK250’s combination of rapid acceleration and excellent fuel economy make it the better choice. Still, a few note that it can feel a little slow from a stop. Test drivers report that the seven-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly.

  • "Both models come standard with a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic gearbox." -- Left Lane News
  • "While the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK350's V6 delivers brisk acceleration that borders on exciting, the diesel engine is truly impressive for its combination of stout pulling power and fuel economy indicative of a compact car. Although the diesel can feel a bit flat-footed when you're pulling away from a stop, it soon hits its stride and is notably refined and silent." -- Edmunds
  • "Despite its rather diminutive size, the diesel engine's 369 lb-ft of torque translates into a quick burst of speed whenever needed." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "The power boost for the V6 for the new model year is evident in the effortless launches onto open roads and the eagerness with which the rig takes off from a standstill." -- AutoWeek (2013)

Handling and Braking

According to reviewers, the 2015 GLK-Class has well-controlled handling and responsive steering through turns. However, most say its ride can be harsh, and they note that rivals like the Acura RDX offer a softer suspension. A few automotive journalists also point out that the GLK-Class has strong brakes. The GLK350 comes with rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive, and the GLK250 BlueTEC comes standard with all-wheel drive.

  • "Drive 100 yards down the road and you can't help but marvel at the feeling of solidity the GLK exhibits. The ride is mostly supple; although more severe bumps and ruts can be felt, the sharpness of the jolt is ably absorbed. Some consumers might find the ride quality too firm, but we think the GLK's crisp, controlled handling more than compensates. That said, the Acura RDX and Volvo XC60 are reasonable alternatives if you want a softer ride." -- Edmunds
  • "A well-balanced chassis and taut suspension are hallmarks of a great driving car, and the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK has the formula down pat. At freeway speeds, the GLK glides calmly over expansion joints and uneven road surfaces, never losing its composure. When the road changes to twists and turns, the GLK's precise steering and big wheel/tire combo help it round curves with confidence." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "The tradeoff for a slightly bumpy ride is that GLK does offer good responsiveness when dodging potholes and minimal squat and dive when accelerating or braking at intersections." -- CNET (2013)
  • "The stiffer suspension and 20-inch wheels of the AMG versions added a more sporting feel, but didn't seem to improve handling quite as much as they degraded the ride. The brakes are strong with good pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
Review Last Updated: 8/27/15

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