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Review: 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350

Cars, Reviews, SUVs  /   /  By Alex Kramer


  • 306 hp 3.5-liter V6 engine makes for one peppy compact luxury crossover
  • Smooth shifting 7-speed automatic allows for excellent highway fuel economy of 26 mpg
  • Well-balanced suspension provides comfort and performance, and optional 20-inch wheels and summer tires offer plenty of grip
  • Distinctive exterior design helps distinguish the GLK from the competition
  • Interior is well equipped and features top notch materials and build quality, as you’d expect from a Mercedes Benz


  • There is quite a bit of body roll when cornering, and the brake pedal has way too much dead travel, hampering overall sportiness
  • Cargo space is limited, making the GLK a less than practical choice, especially for a crossover
  • Price with options is very steep ($50k+) for what is really a rather small vehicle

2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 interior

With compact crossovers becoming increasingly popular, Mercedes Benz decided to give its baby CUV a significant refresh for 2012. A more powerful 3.5-liter V6 resides under the hood, and the interior and exterior have been redesigned.

The GLK350 shines the most when cruising on the highway, where its well-balanced suspension and quality interior make for effortless driving. Although the price is a bit steep, and the practicality limited, the GLK350 is a credible alternative to a smaller luxury sedan, especially for those requiring all-weather capability.

Mercedes-Benz GLK350 infotainment system

What others are saying about the 2012 GLK350:

The folks at Road and Track commend the new engine and the performance it provides: “Assisted by the permanent all-wheel drive from the 4Matic, Mercedes says the GLK350 will achieve 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds, quick for a crossover and great for tollbooth exits… From local speeds to highway, on flat land to ascents, the GLK 350 proves very capable despite its 4079-lb. curb weight.”

Although not exactly a high-performance vehicle, we agree that the new engine offers plenty of power. An aggressive-looking set of optional 20-inch wheels and tires, combined with all-wheel-drive, make sure that each and every horsepower is turned into forward motion.

2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4MATIC

Car and Driver has positive praise for the exterior redesign: “The chunky styling that distinguished the last GLK has now been softened, with a curvy new fascia setting a more graceful tone.” The interior is also a definite step forward: “The dash looks nicer than the boxy, plasticky piece in the pre-refresh GLK, and should represent the same leap forward in material quality we saw in last year’s update to the cabin of the C-class.”

Even though it’s one of the smallest vehicles in the Mercedes Benz lineup, we definitely agree that the new GLK exudes the same quality and craftsmanship that you would find in larger, more expensive models.

CNET concludes that the GLK350 is a “solid choice as a comfortable and capable urban crossover.” However, after commenting extensively on the various options available on the GLK350, they also observe that “it’s not hard to end up with a $60,000-plus GLK350.” We were also quite amazed at how quickly the options add up; you would have to exercise significant restraint to keep the sticker price in the $40k range.

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