Mercedes-Benz says there are nearly 1000 new parts in the 2013 GLK-Class, as the crossover benefits from visual upgrades, more equipment, and mechanical upgrades. The refreshed GLK-Class will make its public debut in April at the New York auto show.
The changes begin with a new nose that is designed to make the Mercedes crossover resemble the company's most recent sedan and coupe models. New headlights have LED running lights, and the two-bar grille has been slightly restyled with chrome inserts; the lower grille is surrounded by a thick chrome trapezoid. At the other end, the GLK wears new taillights that use LEDs and light pipes, a redesigned chrome skid plate, and new exhaust tips. The license plate also is now illuminated by LEDs, and the standard 19-inch five-spoke wheels have been overhauled.
Under the hood, Mercedes has gifted the standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine with a little more power. Thanks to a higher compression ratio and direct fuel injection, peak outputs climb from 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque to 302 hp and 273 lb-ft. The engine gains Mercedes ECO stop-start system to save gas. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard, and now has a lower-slip torque converter and a different type fluid to help improve fuel efficiency.
For even more efficiency, a new GLK250 BlueTec model will arrive in early 2013. It uses a turbodiesel 2.1-liter inline-four engine rated at 190 hp and 369 lb-ft. Mercedes says the diesel should provide "extremely frugal" fuel economy. Currently, the GLK350 is rated by the EPA at 16/22 mpg city/highway.
The final mechanical update is a move to electromechanical steering assist, instead of the previous hydraulic-assist setup. Mercedes says the GLK's steering remains "precise and responsive"; it offers speed-sensitive assist and has a variable ratio.
Finally, the five-seat interior of the GLK receives a bevy of updates and tweaks. The shift lever has been relocated from the center console to the steering column, which frees up space for two more cupholders beneath a sliding cover. The dashboard air vents above the radio have been changed from rectangles to dramatic circles that mimic those on the 2013 Mercedes SL-Class roadster. A single piece of burled wood trim now spans the entire width of the dashboard.
New technology options include the Lane Tracking package, which features Lane Keeping Assist and a blind-spot warning system; and the Driver Assistance package, which has pre-collision braking, Active Lane Keeping Assist, and Active Blind Spot Assist; and the Active Park Assist self-parking system. Among the other changes to the 2013 GLK are the addition of two new paint colors, new upholstery and leather colors, and the addition of LED fiber-optic ambient lighting to the Full Leather package.
The 2013 GLK350 hits dealerships this summer, and the GLK250 BlueTec will debut in early 2013. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale dates.