By Brian Armstead
When Mercedes-Benz launched the then new GLK in 2009, the auto industry was still in a bad way. Sales were down in every segment, and some questioned the sanity of Mercedes for launching a premium, small, SUV.
But hindsight is always 20/20, and the segment is now rife with competitors, most notably the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. Both are solid vehicles, but both need to be very afraid of the 2013 GLK 350, which is better in every way than its predecessor.
Let’s start with styling. Where the 2009 GLK looked like a mini G Wagen (which Mercedes says is the bloodline vehicle for the GLK), the 2013 model still has the G’s rugged appeal, but also features the swoopy look that now adorns many Mercedes, including the SL550 sports car. The front of the GLK features new headlights with LED daytime running lights, a new bumper and grille. Redesigned roof rails and sculpted door panels enhance the side profile. At the rear, LED tail lights are now standard, and chrome plated tailpipe trim adds design flair. New 19” wheels are also standard, while 20” wheels are optional and part of two packages – the Appearance Package and the AMG Styling Package. The AMG package also adds AMG front and rear skirts, AMG grille with two chrome louvers, AMG LED daytime running lights and aluminum roof rails.