Feel the (Oil) Burn: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTec 4MATIC Starts at $39,495
With the price of diesel fuel now hovering at just a few cents more than premium gasoline, there’s little incentive for luxury buyers to skip the oil-burning trims of their favorite rides. As an added incentive, Mercedes-Benz is charging $500 less for the new 2013 GLK250 BlueTec 4MATIC—the latest of the three Benz SUVs to offer a compression-ignition engine—than the standard GLK350 4MATIC. And to turn up the heat on the competition, the $39,495 base price undercuts the gasoline-powered BMW X3 xDrive28i by $1030, the latter of which beat the GLK’s overall sales in 2012 by a much larger number.
As rated by the EPA, the GLK250 boasts 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. That’s impressive, considering it comes standard with 4MATIC all-wheel drive, and while it’s the same city number as Audi’s upcoming Q5 hybrid, it’s 3 mpg better on the highway. The 2.1-liter turbocharged four-cylinder pumps out a worthy 369 lb-ft of torque and 200 horsepower. A stop-start system is also standard; the tow rating is 3500 pounds. Like all BlueTec models, the GLK250 is fitted with a urea-based injection system that cleans up the sooty emissions.
- First Drive: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTec / GLK350
- Instrumented Test: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI
- Instrumented Test: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 / GLK350 4MATIC
But given how Volkswagen is able to avoid using a urea-injection system with its 2.0-liter TDI models, we wonder why Mercedes needs to offer the pricey emissions system (which requires the owner to refill a separate tank every few thousand miles) on such a small engine. We also wonder why Mercedes didn’t drop in the gasoline-powered 1.8-liter four-cylinder from the C250, cut the price by another two grand, and call it a day.
As with all 2013 GLKs, expect to find a plusher interior (customers complained that the previous generation’s interior was not up to Mercedes standards) and a grandma-style column shifter that replaces the one on the floor (at least you get a fancy storage bin). If it were our choice, we’d rather spend another $2000 on the beastlier Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel and tow a bigger boat.