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OverviewActive and passive safety: Surely one of the best SUVs aroundBody: Sturdy foundation ensures outstanding fundamentalsCompact model with genuine character: the new Mercedes-Benz GLK-ClassDesign: The trendsetter in a flourishing vehicle segmentDrive and suspension: Tremendously impressive both on and offHigh-class specification: Full range of standard equipment, attractive equipment packages*Interior and climate control: Hallmark Mercedes sense of wellbeing
Jul 15, 2008
An aesthetically appealing interior architecture which harmonises beautifully with the exterior's styling, a generous level of spaciousness offering ideal ergonomics, a pioneering operating concept, the refined specification, automatic climate control – the GLK-Class is designed to make driving it an experience that is as every bit as comfortable and relaxing as it is safe. The high-strength, robust body also does its bit to further heighten this feeling of wellbeing. The vehicle's unshakable foundation supplements the balanced level of comfort with minimum background noise and pleasant vibration characteristics.
The dimensional concept for the body allows excellent use to be made of the interior space whilst maintaining a compact vehicle footprint (4528 mm long x 1840 mm wide). The primary factors that help to boost the interior's roominess are the vehicle's generous height (1689 mm), its larger wheelbase (2755 mm), the steeply angled windscreen (50 degrees), the relatively wide track (1567 mm at the front, 1588 mm at the rear), as well as a propshaft tunnel that is narrow for a 4x4 model. This basic design enables a typical off-roader seating position, whose key comfort dimension is on a par with that of the considerably larger M-Class: the distance between the seat reference point and the heel reference point is 318 millimetres in the front and 347 millimetres in the rear. This combines with the perfect ergonomics of the seat designs to promise relaxed motoring for all, whether it's on a short trip into the city centre, a long journey of several hundred kilometres or when negotiating off-road terrain. The excellent accessibility of the GLK is likewise impressive. Large door opening angles (front: 65 degrees, rear: 73 degrees), the high roof edge and slender door sills make getting into the GLK a straightforward affair.
Ideal seating position, partially power-adjustable front seats as standard
Although the GLK is designed to offer a high standard of seating comfort all round, the ergonomics experts paid particular attention to the driver's workstation. Consequently, the driver's seat, steering wheel and the pedals – which have been adapted to make allowance for the steeper seating position – are all aligned along the same axis. This basic positioning alone is sufficient to create optimum ergonomic conditions. Ample adjustment ranges together with the generous amount of headroom (1010 mm) allow drivers of virtually any stature – even those over two metres tall – to find a comfortable seating position where they can easily reach the controls. The driver's seat's fore-and-aft position can be adjusted by 265 mm and its height by 54 mm, whilst the standard adjustment for the steering wheel allows it to be repositioned through 60 mm in an axial direction and 50 mm vertically. These are some of the best figures in this vehicle segment.
All models will initially go on sale with partially power-adjustable seats in the front, allowing the seat cushion height and backrest angle to be set at the push of a button. The driver's seat also includes a manual adjustable 2-way lumbar support as standard. In the case of the optional "fully electrical, 10-way seat adjustment" – which includes electrical 4-way lumber support adjustment for both the driver and the front passenger – the seats as well as the front head restraints can be brought into the correct position by means of the familiar 3-part adjustment switches in the door control panels. The built-in memory function enables previously programmed settings for the seat, steering column and exterior mirrors to be automatically restored at the push of a button. There is also an entry and exit aid which can be activated. The crash-responsive head restraints in the front are a novel new development, whose tilt angle can be adjusted in addition to their height.
The passengers in the rear can also enjoy a level of spaciousness which is generous by compact SUV standards. Apart from the ample headroom of 1012 mm, the shoulder room is also impressive at 1408 mm, as is the elbowroom (1440 mm) and the effective legroom (891 mm). The outer head restraints in the rear can be adjusted for height and tilt angle too.
Variable load compartment, copious amounts of load space
When loaded normally, i.e. up to the top edge of the rear seat backrests, the load compartment of the GLK is able to hold 450 litres with a loading width of at least 950 millimetres. Should extra transport capacity be required, the rear-seat backrests can be folded down, either individually in the ratio 1:2 or completely, producing an almost perfectly flat load area. This concept makes for considerably simpler usability compared to systems where the seat cushion folds too. Folding the entire backrest flat produces 1550 litres of load capacity, with the load compartment then measuring 1674 millimetres in length. As an extra safety feature, a red indicator on the release button clearly shows when one of the rear backrests is not properly locked into place.
The load compartment's contents can be hidden from sight thanks to the load compartment cover, while the load-securing rings featured as standard make it easier to fasten down items of luggage. The vehicle's specification also includes bag hooks, coat hooks in the tailgate trim, a 12-volt power outlet and a lamp at the side of the load compartment. Also to be found on the standard equipment list is an additional stowage compartment under the fold-up load compartment floor with a capacity of 86 litres. The compartment is split into smaller partitions by a removable stowage tub. Optional equipment features include the safety partition net as well as the EASY‑PACK tailgate, which can be opened and closed at the push of a button, either from the driver's seat or by using the locking system's remote control.
Full complement of comfort features, luxurious extras
The GLK-Class model range from the 125-kW/170-hp GLK 220 CDI 4MATIC upwards, boasts a high-class comfort specification even in standard guise (see list of equipment features). GLK customers furthermore have the option of upgrading their vehicle with the sort of comfort-enhancing features that are normally the preserve of more exclusive model segments. The list of options offered by Mercedes-Benz for the GLK-Class includes:
- Interior sports package: 3-spoke leather steering wheel with shift paddles, aluminium trim elements in the dashboard and in the front and rear door panels, stainless-steel door sills in the doors, interior lighting package, instrument cluster in matt silver with tube-style design, combined fabric/ARTICO man-made leather upholstery, sports pedals with stainless-steel look, selector lever in leather with chrome inlay
- "Leather appointments": leather upholstery, including rear armrests, in the colours black, alpaca grey, Como beige, macadamia beige, interior lighting package with air vent thumbwheel illumination, footwell lighting in the front, handle recess illumination, exit and warning lights in the front and rear doors, special floor mats front and rear, reversible mat in luggage compartment
- "Wood trim": "matt pine brown" or "burr walnut" for dashboard trim strip, four door control panels, shift console cover, ashtray
Further comfort features which are available to order separately for the interior:
- Automatically dimming interior mirror and exterior mirrors
- COMAND APS with 7.5-inch monitor positioned in centre of dashboard, integral radio, CD/DVD player, DVD/hard-disc navigation with tracking system for recording routes outside areas covered by digitised maps, telephone operation and off-road menu, can be combined with TV tuner and reversing camera
- Rear seat entertainment system with two 8-inch screens, radio remote control, 2 sets of IR headphones, aux-in socket for multimedia devices such as games consoles, DVD player
- Media interface
- Multifunction leather steering wheel
- Panoramic glass sliding sunroof, electrically operated
- Privacy glazing
- Heated front seats
A new LINGUATRONIC system with extended functionality, that is available as an option in conjunction with COMAND APS and Audio 50 APS, offers supremely convenient operation of the audio, communication and navigation systems. The voice-operated control now recognises whole-word commands, which can be spoken by anyone without the need to train the system first. The system is simply activated by means of a control on the right of the multifunction steering wheel, and can be used for: making a call by saying the telephone number, controlling the audio system, calling up the global address book and operating the navigation system.
A pleasant interior temperature whatever the weather
The standard comfort features include an elaborate system that maintains an ideal interior climate no matter whether driving in the depths of winter, the height of summer, through clouds of dust on dried-out tracks, or when pollen levels are critical. All GLK models comes with the THERMATIC 2-zone automatic climate control system, that allows separate temperatures to be set for the left and right of the vehicle. In the automatic mode, the blower speed is smoothly adjusted as a function of the difference between the actual and set temperatures. The system's electronic control gleans its information from an extensive network of sensors: in addition to two interior temperature pickups, the system also consults the exterior temperature pickup to help it calculate the optimum individual climate settings. A solar sensor, which measures both the intensity of the sun's rays and the direction they are coming from, improves regulation of the interior temperature by automatically adjusting the flow rate and temperature of the air.
For the passengers in the rear, there are two central air vents on the rear end of the centre tunnel trim; both the airflow rate and its direction can be adjusted separately. THERMATIC offers further convenience-enhancing features besides: if the air-recirculation button is pressed for longer than two seconds, any open windows as well as the tilting/sliding sunroof will close automatically (tunnel function) and all fresh air entering the interior will be directed via the combination filter. Pressing the button for around two seconds again will return the windows and sunroof to their previous positions and reopen the fresh air flap.
At low ambient temperatures, the heating circuit's heat exchanger keeps the interior snug and warm with its heating output of around 11.0 kW. In order to keep the warm-up phase short after starting the diesel engines in the GLK 220 CDI and GLK 320 CDI models from cold, an electronically controlled PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) heating element is used. In contrast to conventional systems, where additional diesel fuel is burned in a heater booster to shorten the warm-up phase, the PTC system has a far more neutral effect on the environment and is substantially more effective too.
An even greater scope of functions is available by opting for the THERMOTRONIC 3-zone luxury automatic climate control system. This system version features a climate control panel in the rear centre console which can be used to program or automatically regulate the temperature and airflow settings for the rear passenger compartment. There is also a REST button which can be pressed after the engine has been switched off to heat or ventilate the passenger compartment for about 30 minutes, depending on the temperature set at the control panel and the outside temperature.
Exemplary control and display concept
The control and display concept aboard the GLK is an innovative one, especially for the compact SUV class. Neatly arranged instrumentation, a fixed display for the infotainment system positioned centrally at the top of the dashboard and a range of multifunction steering wheels are all designed to take some of the hard work out of driving. New colours and vivid graphics further simplify usability without losing any of the familiar clarity. Vehicle functions such as the climate control settings continue to be controlled by means of classic switch elements, which are clustered together in clearly arranged groups.
The Entry instrument cluster is partnered by a 4-button multifunction steering wheel. The fuel level and coolant temperature are indicated in analogue gauges in the left-hand segment, where there is also a single-line display showing the outside temperature. The speedometer in the middle encompasses a two-line display signalling the odometer and trip meter readings. In the right-hand segment of the instrument cluster, further driver information is provided by the analogue rev counter and a display showing either the time or the selected 7G‑TRONIC gear. On models fitted with the Midline instrument cluster, a white backlit 4.5-inch display inside the circular speedometer increases the scope of information that can be shown. The multifunction display is able to visualise, for instance, a configuration menu for personalised vehicle settings, information from the maintenance computer, navigation, audio and trip computer data, along with telephone functions, messages from the tyre pressure monitoring system or tyre pressure loss warning system, and the engine oil level.
Where the optional COMAND APS infotainment system is specified, including a 7.5-inch colour screen, built-in radio, CD/DVD player, DVD/hard-disc navigation, telephone controls and off-road menu, the system's controller is positioned in front of the driver's armrest in the centre for optimum ergonomics. Control of the individual menus is intuitive, following the familiar and well-proven control logic used in the S-Class. Additional direct access buttons make it easier to call up the principal main functions.