To help pump up sales of the all-new GLK-Class SUV, Mercedes-Benz Canada has launched a microsite to help potential owners interact with their new car, even before they purchase it.
The GLK 350 4MATIC, which went on sale in January, features a rugged yet urban look with a 268hp V6 and a 7-speed automatic transmission that will propel the mid-sized SUV to 100km/h (62mph) in just 6.7 seconds. The transmission features both Comfort and Sport shift modes, so owners can customize their driving style.
The site asks the question, “Where Do You See Yourself?” and lets visitors interact through a personality profiler that helps them build their own stylish GLK wallpaper and then download it. Other images and videos can also be viewed and downloaded.
As expected, the microsite features important technical information and all the important features of the new GLK.
Mark Forsyth, Manager of Interactive Marketing and CRM at Mercedes-Benz Canada, notes: “A key objective of the site was to provide prospective customers with an emotional connection to the GLK, as well as to celebrate the style and uniqueness that the vehicle clearly possesses. This is one of our youngest and edgiest vehicles to date and we wanted to offer an experience that echoes the values of this demographic.”
To find out more visit:
2010 GLK350 4MATIC:
Full GLK info and specs after the jump:
Mid-size model with character: the new Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
Supreme six-cylinder comfort comes to the premium mid-size-SUV segment
The smooth-running 268 hp V6 engine under the hood of the GLK350 4MATIC is ideally suited to the enormous flexibility of the GLK. It makes its mark with impressive performance combined with moderate fuel consumption. Performance figures are similar to those of a sports car, with an electronically limited top speed of 210 km/h and acceleration from 0-100 km/h estimated at 6.7 seconds.
Standard seven-speed automatic transmission
The 3.5 litre V6 engine is matched to a 7-speed automatic transmission, which includes Comfort (C) and Sport (S) shift modes. The “C” drive mode prioritizes smoothness and economy combined with high performance, while switching to the “S” mode selects a significantly sportier set-up.
The standard 7-speed automatic transmission comes with a special function that decouples it when stationary. This technical feature reduces the transmission forces when the vehicle is stationary with a gear engaged. This eases the load on the engine, which not only reduces fuel consumption, but also improves vehicle acoustics, passenger comfort and idling characteristics. The limited-slip clutch is engaged the instant the driver releases the brake, enabling the vehicle to pull away smoothly and without any delay. This is achieved by controlling a mechanical clutch to produce a defined level of slip. The clutch itself was designed for operating with constant slip.
The trendsetter in a thriving vehicle segment
Starting with its refined appearance, the GLK-Class is making a clear statement of its leadership intentions within the premium mid-size SUV segment. The influence of the G-Class – the forefather of all Mercedes-Benz SUVs – is unmistakable. As Head of Design, Gordon Wagener, remarks, “The GLK combines the purist design of our style icon, the G-Class, with the latest Mercedes-Benz design language to give it true character.”
Distinctively powerful and dynamic personality
No other model in the world of mid-size SUVs, past or present, comes close to matching the GLK’s distinctively expressive appearance. The exterior is perfectly proportioned (length 4,528 mm (178.3 in.), width 2,016 mm (79.4 in.), height 1,669 mm (66.9 in.)), while the interplay between the angular form and the typical design features found in all contemporary Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles is inspired. The clear design language combines crisp lines and large, taut surfaces with the exterior features of a functional off-road vehicle including short overhangs, an upright front end, slender roof pillars, a steeply angled windshield and flat roof lines.
The exterior design is not purely an exercise in styling, it is more about transferring typical off-road benefits into the more on-road oriented mid-size SUV category. Large approach and departure angles combined with generous ground clearance make excursions off the beaten track something to look forward to. The fact that the driver enjoys both an excellent overview of the vehicle’s exterior and good all-around visibility courtesy of the raised seating position boosts everyday practicality and makes for relaxed driving, even in dense city traffic.
Powerful and expressive – the front of the GLK-Class
The most eye-catching feature at the front of the GLK-Class is the powerful radiator grille with its distinctively styled frame, leaving no doubt that this is a Mercedes-Benz SUV. Painted in a “matte brilliant silver” finish, the radiator grille features two distinctive chrome louvers. Additional chrome trim provides a contrast to the radiator grille mesh, which is coloured in matte black like the air intake grille and front fog lamp covers below it to lend further emphasis to the vehicle’s sporting character. The standard clear-lens projection-beam headlamps create a visual link between the upright front end of the vehicle and its muscular flanks.
Muscular profile with classic SUV proportions
The side view of the GLK-Class is reminiscent of the iconic G Class and its contemporary interpretation; the GL-Class. The model’s family ties are plain to see from the short overhangs, upright front end, steeply angled windshield and the taut roof lines terminating in a distinctive rear spoiler.
Finished in an optional matte-luster aluminium look, the roof rails provide a visual interplay with the body-coloured side skirts and the chrome trim strips along their upper edge. Stainless-steel running boards with raised black studs are available as an option.
The high-gloss black facings on the side windows give the impression of a one-piece glass surface. Running along the beltline below the side windows is a chrome-plated trim strip, which merges into the contours of the front fender and rear sidewall. This creates a coherent link between the vehicle’s front, side and rear sections.
The profile view is dominated by a powerful shoulder line, which emerges from the front wheel arch and converges on a point in the rear. This distinctive line clearly identifies the GLK as a new-generation Mercedes-Benz. The expressive surface styling continues through the muscular wheel arches where, regardless of wheel size, the alloy wheels are almost flush with the outer edge of the wheel arch. The GLK350 4MATIC comes standard with 19-inch 10-spoke wheels, with 20-inch wheels sporting a 5 twin-spoke design available with the optional Sport Package.
A fitting finale – the rear of the GLK-Class
The rear end of the GLK-Class rounds off the balanced exterior design, with the individual styling elements coming together to create a perfect overall form. The rear spoiler carries on the taut roof lines and brings the vehicle to a smooth conclusion with an uninterrupted spoiler lip. The tail light units form a further connecting element between the flanks and the rear. Not only are they a key identifying feature of the current Mercedes-Benz design language, their horizontal structure adds further emphasis to the broad, imposing appearance of the vehicle’s rear end. LED indicators come with the optional bi-xenon lighting package, boasting a brilliant, crystalline finish that further enhances the high-end appearance. The stainless-steel load sill guard, which effectively protects the painted bumper from damage when loading the vehicle, is flush-fitted and adds a further touch of visual appeal to the rear.
The sporting theme is continued at the back with chrome strip inserts and a standard dual exhaust with two rectangular chrome tailpipes.
Interior complements exterior styling
The interior of the GLK-Class is a seamless continuation of the distinctive exterior design, transferring the modern surface treatment of the current Mercedes-Benz design language into the cabin. The high quality comfort of the interior boasts high-end materials and precision detailing. The ambiance is typical Mercedes-Benz, while the quality feel of the interior is on a par with that of the GL-Class.
The dash is a dominant styling element, whose form follows through into the door panels, lending additional breadth to the generously proportioned interior. A large horizontal trim panel divides the main body into three sections. With its large, taut surfaces, precision-finished edges and clearly defined chrome seam, this element sets the styling tone for the rest of the interior.
The upper section of the dash spans the instrument cluster and the fixed central display in a single sweep, and is finished in matte black regardless of the interior colour to prevent distracting reflections in the windshield. Like the transmission tunnel, the lower section of the dash is coloured in accordance with the interior in either black, gray or beige. The launch model receives trim panels finished in aluminium trim as standard.
Interior and climate control
Distinctive Mercedes-Benz ambiance
Driving the GLK-Class is every bit as comfortable and relaxing as it is safe. The GLK-Class features an interior aesthetic that harmonizes beautifully with the exterior styling, featuring generous proportions with perfect ergonomics, a pioneering operating concept and high-end equipment. The feeling of well-being is further enhanced by the high-strength and robust body shell. The solid underpinnings enhance the well-balanced comfort with minimal background noise.
The dimensional concept for the body shell facilitates excellent use of interior space while maintaining a compact vehicle footprint (4,528 mm (178.3 in.) long x 1,839 mm (72.4 in.) wide). The primary factors boosting interior spaciousness are generous vehicle height (1,669 mm (66.9 in.)), the longer wheelbase (2,755 mm (108.5 in.)), the steeply angled windscreen (50 degrees), the relatively wide track (1,574 mm (62.0 in.) at the front, 1,577 mm (62.1 in.) at the rear), as well as a narrow transmission tunnel. This concept facilitates a typical SUV seating position, whose key dimensions are on par with the considerably larger M-Class. The distance between the seat reference point and the heel point is 318 mm (12.5 in.) in the front and 347 mm (13.7 in.) in the rear. This combines with the ergonomic seat design to guarantee a relaxed driving experience for all occupants, regardless of the length of the journey. The excellent accessibility of the GLK-Class is equally impressive. Large door opening angles (front – 65 degrees, rear – 73 degrees), the high roof line and slender door sills make getting into the
GLK-Class a straightforward affair.
Ideal seating position with standard 10-way power-adjustable front seats
Although the GLK-Class is designed to offer a high standard of seating comfort all around, the ergonomics experts paid particular attention to the driver’s “workstation”. As a result, the driver’s seat, steering wheel and pedals (which have been adapted to allow for the more upright seating position) are all aligned along the same axis. This basic geometry alone makes for excellent ergonomics. The 10-way power front seats, together with generous headroom (991 mm (39 in.) allows drivers of virtually any stature (even those over 198 cm (6’ 6”)) to find a comfortable seating position where they can easily reach the controls.
Rear passengers also enjoy a level of spaciousness that is generous by mid-size SUV standards. Aside from the ample headroom of 1,009 mm (39.7 in.), the shoulder room is also impressive (1,401 mm (55.4 in.)), as is the elbow room (1,440 mm (56.7 in.)) and the effective leg room (1,023 mm (40.3 in.). The outer head restraints in the rear can also be adjusted for height and tilt angle as well.
Variable load compartment, plenty of load space
When loaded normally, i.e. to the top edge of the rear seat backrests, the load compartment of the GLK-Class has a capacity of 660 litres (23.3 cu. ft.) with a loading width of at least 950 mm (37.4 in.). Should extra transport capacity be required, the rear-seat backrests can be folded down, in either a 1/3:2/3 split or completely to produce an almost perfectly flat load area. This concept is considerably easier to use than systems with folding seat cushions. Folding the entire backrest flat produces 1,549 litres (54.7 cu. ft.) of load capacity, with the load compartment then measuring 1,674 mm (65.9 in.) 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 contents of the load compartment can be hidden from sight thanks to the cargo cover, while standard-fit load-securing rings make it easier to fasten down items of luggage. There are also bag hooks, a 12-volt power outlet and a lamp at the side of the load compartment. Standard equipment also includes an additional 86 litre storage compartment under the fold-up load compartment floor. The compartment is split into smaller partitions by a removable storage tub. The optional power tailgate can be opened and closed at the push of a button from either the driver’s seat or by remote control.
Full range of comfort features, luxurious extras
The GLK-Class boasts extremely high-end comfort features as standard. GLK customers also have the option of upgrading their vehicle with comfort-enhancing features normally reserved for more exclusive model segments.
A new Voice Control system with extended functionality is available as part of the optional COMAND APS and offers highly convenient operation of audio, communication and navigation systems. The voice-operated control now recognizes whole-word commands, which can be spoken by anyone without the need to train the system first. The system is activated via a control on the right of the multifunction steering wheel, and it can be used to make a call by saying the telephone number, to control the audio system, to call up the global address book or to operate the navigation system.
A pleasant interior temperature, whatever the weather
Standard comfort features include a sophisticated system for maintaining an ideal interior climate in the freezing cold, stifling heat, through clouds of dust on dried-out tracks, or even extreme pollen levels. The GLK-Class comes with dual-zone automatic climate control that allows separate temperatures to be set for the left and right of the vehicle. In automatic mode, the blower speed is smoothly adjusted according to the differential between actual and set temperatures. The system’s electronic control takes its information from an extensive network of sensors. In addition to the two interior temperature sensors, the system also consults the exterior temperature signal to help it calculate the optimum individual climate settings. A solar sensor, which measures both the intensity of the sun’s rays and their direction, improves regulation of the interior temperature by automatically adjusting the flow rate and temperature of the air. There are two central air vents in the back of the centre console for rear seat passengers, and both the airflow rate and its direction can be adjusted separately.
Pioneering control and display concept
The GLK-Class boasts a control and display concept that is particularly innovative within the mid-size SUV class. Clearly arranged instrumentation, a fixed display for the infotainment system positioned centrally at the top of the dash and a range of multifunction steering wheel controls are all designed to take the load off the driver. New colours and vivid graphics further simplify usability without losing any of the familiar clarity. Vehicle functions such as climate control settings continue to be controlled via classic switch elements, which are clustered together in clearly-arranged groups.
The instrument cluster contains a white backlit 4.5-inch display inside the circular speedometer that increases the scope of information that can be shown. The multifunction display includes a configuration menu for personalized vehicle settings, information from the maintenance computer, navigation, audio and trip computer data, telephone functions, messages from the tire pressure loss warning system and the engine oil level.
The optional COMAND APS infotainment system includes a 7.5-inch colour screen, built-in radio, CD/DVD 6-disc changer, hard-disc navigation with 4 GB hard drive enabling direct storage of MP3 files and a PCMCIA interface. The control knob for this system is centrally positioned in front of the driver’s armrest 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 key functions.
Robust underpinnings ensure outstanding characteristics
The sturdy, robust body shell of the GLK-Class is not only the prerequisite for exceptional standards of active and passive safety; it also forms the foundation of well-balanced vibration and acoustic comfort. Its lightweight construction helps to reduce fuel consumption yet still guarantees lasting durability. At the same time, the monocoque structure can twist its way through off-road terrain and handle sand, mud or gravel tracks. Just like all Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, the GLK-Class has the makings of a classic.
Intelligent body shell reinforcement for when the going gets tough
The body shell of the GLK has been carefully matched to the mid-size SUV’s broad usage spectrum. It is composed primarily of state-of-the-art high-strength and ultra-high-strength sheet steel, which accounts for 47 percent of the overall weight. The load-bearing points, which are the connection points between body shell and chassis, are substantially reinforced to preserve the excellent driving dynamics and active safety under all handling conditions. These structural measures have the added benefit of enhancing the vehicle’s acoustic and vibration characteristics, which both set new benchmarks in the mid-size SUV segment. Additional reinforcements can be found in the floor assembly, the transmission tunnel and the links to the body pillars. The firewall is made up of four sheet sections with material thickness that varies in accordance with the individual peak loads, thereby maximizing stability while minimizing weight. The lower sections of the firewall are 1.25 mm thick, while those at the top measure 0.8 mm. The dash is supported by a straight square-profile aluminium section, which is bolted to both A pillars, substantially strengthening this area of the body shell. A further strut braces the casing of the steering column against the firewall, preventing steering wheel vibration when the engine is idling.
The entire front end of the body shell is bolted to the front structure, enabling cost-effective repairs to be carried out following collisions without the need for welding work. The front-end assembly is comprised of an extruded aluminium section, a single-piece crash box made from aluminium which connects to the front longitudinal members, as well as a multi-part sheet steel framework that houses the headlamps, the bumper, the washer fluid reservoir and the hood catches. An integral beam made of high-strength steel functions both as axle and engine mount and provides the anchor point for certain wheel location components, the steering box and the engine bracket. The rear-end assembly consists of an ultra-high-strength flexible steel bumper bracket with welded crash boxes made from reinforced sheet metal.
Effective corrosion protection for a long vehicle life
Effective corrosion protection is particularly crucial for SUVs. This is exactly why the GLK-Class features a precision network of protective mechanisms based on 100% galvanization. Instead of coating the entire body shell with an even coating of zinc applied by electrolysis, the overall protection is significantly improved by selectively coating components to different thicknesses. In addition to 100% galvanization, corrosion resistance is further enhanced by a protective coating in all cavities, body shell flange sealant and a special paintwork system. The various layers applied in the paint shop at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen include phosphate, cathodic dip priming, a coating of paint primer, the coloured base coat and finally the top coat featuring nano technology for a more scratch-resistant finish. In view of its environmental impact, development engineers dispensed with a PVC underbody seal, opting instead for full underbody paneling. The paneling system also offers aerodynamic benefits, can be easily replaced when damaged, and protects the underbody against stone chips.
Extensive testing procedures – introducing the dynamic MEKO program
During its development, the GLK-Class had to withstand the rigors of the Mercedes-Benz dynamic corrosion endurance test program known as MEKO. This exposes the GLK-Class to the most extreme climatic conditions in the world, such as constant exposure to cold and salt spray in Canada, the tropical humidity of Thailand, or the extreme temperature fluctuations and the associated condensation in Dubai. Then there’s the searing heat of the South African sun coupled with longer journeys along dust roads and gravel tracks. The automotive testing specialists also incorporated a whole series of dynamic load tests, including driving on rough roads, along mud, dirt and gravel tracks, through torsion sections, at high speeds and through water.
Only by subjecting the body shell and its component parts to constant levels of mechanical stress can the effectiveness of the extensive corrosion protection be truly put to the test. Over a period of 16 weeks, the test subjects have to endure a daily torture program in climate chambers with alternating phases of salt spray and humid heat and dry heat followed by dynamic load cycles. The test drivers have the weekend off, but the vehicle punishment continues relentlessly, as they face up to Arctic cold, tropical heat or continuous rainfall in climate chambers.
Once the Mercedes-Benz corrosion endurance test program has concluded, the body shell is dismantled right down to the smallest part in order to inspect the results. It is only by disassembling it in such meticulous fashion that the effectiveness of the corrosion protection in the body flanges and cavities can subsequently be examined and optimized where necessary.
Best aerodynamics in the SUV segment
Achieving good aerodynamics and soothing aero-acoustics posed two of the major challenges during the development of the GLK. Normally, a basic body structure with an angular design and steeply inclined front windscreen would preclude a smooth airflow pattern around the vehicle. By systematically eliminating the sound conduction paths into the passenger compartment, aerodynamics engineers succeeded in keeping wind noise levels low, especially at higher speeds. The principal measures include:
• Strengthening the body-in-white and implementing effective sealing.
• A door sealing concept featuring double sealing all around and triple sealing in key areas.
• Strengthening critical areas of the outer skin to reduce low-frequency wind noise.
• High-quality anti-drumming coatings on sound-emitting sheet-metal surfaces.
The panoramic sunroof comes with an all-new air-deflecting mesh that suppresses booming when driving with the sunroof fully open and keeps the interior virtually draught-free, despite the large size of the opening. Although it features large exterior mirrors and enlarged air intakes, the GLK boasts a low drag coefficient of cd = 0.35, putting it among the best in this segment. This outstanding figure can be attributed to the painstakingly detailed work carried out by the aerodynamics experts. The optimization of the bodywork focused on the streamlined styling of the front and rear skirts and tail light assemblies, as well as optimization of the sealing around the radiator and airflow within the engine compartment to make efficient use of available cooling air. The detailed design carried out on the A-pillar, the water deflector and the large exterior mirrors also had an important role to play. Drag in the vicinity of the vehicle’s underbody and wheel arches is reduced by the large underbody paneling incorporating an aerodynamic diffuser at the rear, and by specially shaped wheel spoilers.
The outstanding handling stability, especially when traveling at higher speeds and in crosswinds, is assisted by the favourable distribution of aerodynamic lift between the front and rear axles. Safety is boosted by effectively minimizing the build-up of dirt on the exterior mirrors, as well as on the side windows and rear windshield. The gutter on the A-pillar has been specially designed to prevent water from overflowing onto the side window, even in persistent heavy rain. The exterior mirror housing gathers water in a groove running around its circumference before directing it outwards to a defined drip point. The rear windshield is kept clean by a windshield wiper that is automatically activated whenever the front windshield wipers are switched on and reverse gear is engaged.
High-intensity headlamp system as standard
The GLK-Class comes equipped with a powerful H7 headlamp system, including
an H7 main beam that features the proven free-form reflector technology. The standard front fog lamps are integrated into the front bumper trim, while indicator repeaters in the exterior mirror housings, each comprising four LEDs, ensure that the driver’s turn signals are even more clearly visible from the front and side. In addition, Bi-xenon headlamps are available as an option.
Active and passive safety
The best SUV in its class
During development of the active and passive safety features in the new GLK-Class, Mercedes-Benz took its cue from the findings of the company’s own accident research program. Initiated over 60 years ago, this program has made a decisive contribution to the ongoing evolution of automotive safety. Alongside this wealth of experience, the development process also draws on the latest findings from investigations into actual accidents, detailed simulations and exhaustive testing, and all of this information is translated into concrete protective measures.
The cohesive approach taken to achieving a high standard of safety is particularly evident in the integral safety concept that Mercedes-Benz has once again implemented in the new GLK-Class. This groundbreaking safety philosophy is not so much about compliance with crash test regulations, but rather about all aspects of driving that impact the safety of the vehicle occupants and other road users. The Mercedes-Benz safety concept divides these different aspects into three phases:
1. Active safety:
Avoiding danger, timely warning and assistance.
2. Passive safety:
Providing the necessary protection.
3. Following an accident:
Damage limitation, rapid assistance.
Comprehensive restraint system for best possible occupant protection
In combination with the front and rear crumple zones, the high-strength passenger cell of the GLK-Class provides a highly efficient foundation for the occupant protection systems. The sophisticated restraint system offers the best possible protection. Depending on the nature and severity of the collision, six air bags can be selectively deployed to reduce the forces exerted on occupants. The individual components include:
• Adaptive, two-stage air bags for driver and front passenger.
• Front side air bags in the front (standard).
• Head protection curtains across both seat rows from the A-pillar to the C-pillar.
• Active Head Restraints for the driver and front passenger.
• 3-point seat belts for all five seats.
• Belt tensioner and adaptive belt-force limiter for driver and front passenger, belt tensioner and single-stage belt-force limiter for outer rear seats.
• LATCH child seat attachments.
• Belt height adjuster for driver and front passenger.
ARAMIS: central control unit for the restraint systems
In the GLK, the task of deploying the driver and front-passenger air bags, side air bags, head protection curtains, belt tensioners and Active Head Restraints in line with the nature and severity of a collision is handled by the ARAMIS central control unit. This electronic safety “command centre” can detect the nature and severity of the impact in a matter of milliseconds, and then trigger the restraint systems as required based on the calculated prognosis of the impact’s severity. The ARAMIS control unit gathers the necessary information from an elaborate network of sensors, including two up-front sensors on the front bumper bracket, two lateral satellite sensors near the base of the B pillars, as well as supplementary pressure sensors in the doors. In addition, ARAMIS can activate individual functions which are able to defuse an accident situation following the actual impact. Certain portions of the vehicle’s electrical network can be isolated from the battery, the engine shut off, the hazard warning lights and crash-responsive emergency lighting switched on, the doors unlocked, and the side windows lowered by 2 inches.
High-strength passenger cell, energy-absorbing front and rear-end structures
The excellent protective abilities of the GLK350 4MATIC are underpinned by a monocoque sheet-steel body shell featuring a high-strength passenger cell with front and rear-end structures that deform in the event of a crash, enabling as much of the impact energy as possible to be absorbed.
The following measures have been implemented at the front end of the body shell to ensure outstanding energy absorption. The individual assemblies and components combine to provide a total of three load paths for absorption and distribution of the impact force:
• An integral beam made of high-strength steel, incorporating certain wheel location components, the rack-and-pinion steering box and the engine mount, channel forces directly into the floor structure. In particularly severe frontal collisions, the integral beam itself crumples to absorb additional energy.
• Mid-level collision plane comprising longitudinal members with optimized design and materials.
• Purpose-designed wheel arch reinforcements form a third supporting structure above the front longitudinal members to further boost deformation resistance in the event of a frontal collision.
• A strut made from ultra-strength steel running between the shock absorber tower and the windshield cross member on the driver’s side serves to distribute forces originating from the top longitudinal member, minimizing displacement of the steering column and pedals.
• Additional impact-absorbing elements include the extension of the longitudinal members and specially-designed pedal-base cross members for protecting the driver and front passenger footwells.
• Reinforced firewall members can minimize penetration of the front wheels into the footwells in a severe offset frontal collision.
The passenger cell forms the hard core of passive safety, enveloping occupants in a high-strength safety cage. This exceptional degree of stability is attained as follows:
• Increased use of high and ultra-high-strength sheet steel, as well as tailored blanks with partially graduated wall thicknesses.
• Floor assembly with lateral rigidity, featuring additional reinforcement sections between the front and side longitudinal members and the transmission tunnel.
• A one-piece rear seat cross member.
• Extruded aluminium cross member between the A-pillars underneath the dash.
• Lateral bracing of the load compartment with a lower cross member.
• Seats with lateral rigidity from hollow sections and impact-absorbing elements in the side seat trim components.
The rear of the body shell features large crumple zones for absorbing impact energy. In critical areas, the rear longitudinal members are made from high-strength steel. The fuel tank is well-protected beneath the rear bench seat and in front of the rear axle.
Exemplary pedestrian protection within the SUV segment
During the development of the GLK-Class, particularly close attention was paid to pedestrian protection. This is why standard equipment for the GLK includes Brake Assist (BAS), which helps prevent accidents or mitigate their consequences by shortening the braking distance significantly when an emergency braking situation is detected. The front section incorporates precisely defined clearances between the body and the major assemblies beneath, allowing the hood to yield considerably if hit by a pedestrian. This combines with the specially shaped design of the front bumpers and the softer foam used for their integral impact dampers to unlock further potential for pedestrian protection.
Outstanding active safety courtesy of the AGILITY CONTROL suspension, 4MATIC all-wheel drive and pioneering dynamic handling control
The passive safety systems enable a high degree of occupant protection during and following an accident, while the active safety features are designed to take action beforehand. The high standard of active safety in the GLK-Class is rooted in the AGILITY CONTROL suspension with selective damping system, which combines stable handling with comfort. The standard-fit electro-hydraulic AGILITY CONTROL steering provides the driver with excellent feedback on current road conditions, while responding precisely to steering input.
The sophisticated 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, with its stable, safety-enhancing concept, and the standard-fit dynamic handling control systems including ESP®, 4-ETS and ASR, come to the driver’s aid in critical driving situations. The same is true of the ADAPTIVE BRAKE system, featuring built-in functions such as hill-start assist, priming of the brake system for more spontaneous response in the event of panic braking and using braking to dry the discs in wet weather. The tire pressure loss warning system is also standard, as is the ESP® trailer stabilization function.
Excellent driver-fitness safety for tremendous peace of mind
A high level of driver-fitness safety is an intrinsic component of all Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles. The renowned ambiance of Mercedes-Benz interiors makes for relaxed, fatigue-free driving, even over long distances. This includes factors such as the outstanding seating and ride comfort, minimal background noise and ergonomic controls along with a climate control system that can be finely adjusted to suit any requirements. The heat-absorbing tinted glass all around and the optional Voice Control system make traveling in the GLK-Class a real pleasure. Driver-fitness safety also benefits from the assured handling and cruise control.
Features which contribute to the outstanding cognitive safety include the superb all-round view, the extensive swept area of the front windshield, rain sensing wipers with two-stage sensitivity, and the generously sized, heated and electrically adjustable exterior mirrors. Cognitive safety is given a further boost by the powerful headlamp system with integrated cornering light function and Headlamp Assist. The driver’s perception of the vehicle surroundings can be further enhanced by the addition of optional features such as PARKTRONIC or a rear view camera.
Drive and suspension
Convincing performance both on and off the road
The GLK-Class boasts a high level of flexibility thanks to its AGILITY CONTROL suspension, which addresses the conflicting suspension objectives that affect the mid-size SUV segment. Chassis engineers wanted to create a vehicle that is both athletically agile and comfortably smooth, and also able to cope with off-road terrain. For sporty handling, the suspension and, more specifically, the shock absorbers need to be relatively firm. However this can conflict with the preferred suspension comfort associated with the brand and can restrict off-road performance. On the other hand, if the vehicle is setup for ride comfort and off-road driving with softer dampers, its driving dynamics could suffer. “Amplitude-responsive damping” provides the solution. The absorption rating of the shock absorbers is flexible rather than fixed. During normal driving along moderately contoured roads or at low speeds off road, the system adopts a softer setting, increasing occupant comfort and improving off-road performance. In order to maintain comfort levels when driving at a brisker pace or performing sudden evasive maneuvers, the dampers switch to a firmer setting that facilitates extremely stable handling.
19-inch wheels and tire pressure loss warning system as standard
The GLK350 4MATIC comes standard with 19-inch tires, which work together with the AGILITY CONTROL suspension and asymmetric power distribution between the front and rear axle to form the perfect basis for transferring power to the road. The more effective this power transfer, the less frequently the electronic control systems need to intervene. The GLK350 4MATIC features 7.5 J x 19 light-alloy wheels with 235/50 R 19 tires. 20-inch tires designed specifically for the GLK are available as an option.
To eliminate the consequences of tire damage, the GLK is fitted with a tire pressure loss warning system. The system detects any sudden drop in tire pressure and alerts the driver by flashing a warning message in the instrument cluster.
ADAPTIVE BRAKE – sophisticated brake control system with additional functionality
The all-new ADAPTIVE BRAKE control system incorporates the basic anti-lock braking system (ABS), acceleration skid control (ASR) and yaw control functions. ABS and ASR monitor and control the driving dynamics along the vehicle’s longitudinal axis, while yaw control looks after lateral dynamics. If ADAPTIVE BRAKE detects critical driving conditions, precision application of the brakes and control of driving force is used to maintain or restore traction and directional stability as far as is physically possible.
New additional braking functions make ADAPTIVE BRAKE safer and more convenient. Hill-start assist prevents the vehicle from rolling downhill. Further enhanced functionality includes brake ‘priming’. Should the driver suddenly release the accelerator, the system prepares for possible panic braking by pressing the brake pads lightly against the brake discs. If the brakes are indeed applied with full force, the stopping distance is therefore shortened noticeably by applying pressure the instant the brake pedal is pressed. The ability of ADAPTIVE BRAKE to generate a precise level of minimal brake pressure means the film of water that accumulates on the brake discs when driving in the wet can be removed by brief, light brake applications, further reducing braking response time and thus stopping distance in the wet. This function is triggered automatically if the driver has not applied the brakes after a certain number of windshield wiper cycles.
4MATIC: high-performance all-wheel drive with sophisticated control systems
The 4MATIC powertrain at the heart of the GLK-Class is one of the most capable all-wheel drive systems on the market, incorporating control systems that set new benchmarks. The compactness, light weight and low frictional losses of the fundamental concept, with the engine mounted longitudinally and the transmission and transfer case designed as a single unit, produces numerous advantages over other systems with transversely mounted engines.
The basic 45:55 front to rear drive ratio combines with the ESP®, ASR and 4-ETS dynamic handling control systems to produce assured and highly reliable performance. When tuning the control systems, engineers at the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre (MTC) were careful to incorporate a certain degree of understeer. The GLK350 4MATIC displays these characteristics regardless of road conditions.
The newly developed multi-disc clutch in the centre differential supports the system when friction between the tires and road surface is particularly low, such as on snow or ice. A locking force of 37 lb-ft between the front and rear axles provides a major boost to traction, setting the benchmark for vehicles with no additional differential locks.
Vehicle development under extreme conditions
Fine-tuning the dynamic handling control systems is one of the major challenges when developing an SUV. Compared with conventional passenger cars, this vehicle category has to cover an even wider range of requirements. Active safety, ride comfort and driving pleasure not only need to be guaranteed on-road but also off-road, and on tracks, unsurfaced roads or demanding terrain. The systems also need to work reliably under all possible (and impossible!) meteorological conditions throughout the world’s climate zones. Therefore, test engineers selected the world’s most grueling conditions to test the GLK to its physical limits. This will ensure that the GLK-Class will run reliably for many years, regardless of operating and environmental conditions.
Development testing takes place in the punishing conditions of the baking Namibian Desert, while the sub-zero temperatures of the Arctic Circle provide the opposite extremes to evaluate and test GLK prototypes. An ongoing comparison between “Fire & Ice” is designed to ensure that the findings do not play against each other. The fine tuning of the GLK-Class uses the same principle to resolve other conflicting objectives, as illustrated by the “Climb & Speed” development program. Does the GLK prove to be directionally stable and safe at high speed during chassis tuning on the race track? Is hallmark Mercedes-Benz driving comfort still evident at low speeds on tortuous terrain? Does the tuning set-up also work scrambling around off-road? Overall, development engineers clocked 2.8 million test miles worldwide. Prototype field tests are supplemented by extensive evaluation programs and detailed simulation programs conducted during digital prototyping. In the course of the development phase, the experts tested around 1,000 different vehicle variants in virtual simulations and conducted over 220,000 driving maneuvers in the process.
Although the fine-tuning of control systems such as ESP®, 4-ETS, ASR, ABS is based on objective measurement criteria using state-of-the-art technology, the fine touch and experience of the test engineers still play a decisive role. For instance, MTC engineers were able to optimize the control quality and interaction of the individual systems in such a way as to substantially improve powertrain performance. At the start of the development test drives, the individual control systems interacted in specific driving situations in such a way that part of the drive torque remained unused. After completing the tuning sessions, the systems were working together so perfectly that the wheels had around 29.5 lb-ft more torque at their disposal.