by Adrian Dorofte and Adrian Andronic
e-mail: mercedesbenzblog@gmail.com

The New 2013MY Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC Sport Utility Hits the Road

U.S. journalists are test-driving the very first 2013MY Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC sport utility vehicles, arriving in the U.S. by the end of April. The new GLK model represents the first diesel-powered entry in the mid-size SUV market. With segment-leading fuel economy of 24 city/33 highway, the GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC is available for retail sale by April 30, with pricing that begins at $38,590 (excluding $905 destination charge).

High-Tech Four Cylinder with Balance Shafts

The 2013MY GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC boasts the most powerful four-cylinder diesel engine in the SUV world. Its 2,143 cc direct-injection engine is rated at an even 200 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The all-aluminum, in-line four-cylinder engine makes use of four valves per cylinder and dual overhead camshafts with vane-type variable valve timing. To smooth out the inherent vibration of an in-line four-cylinder engine, two Lanchester balance shafts spin at twice the crankshaft speed.

BlueTEC Refinements

Fuel pressure for the BlueTEC direct fuel injection system is approximately 29,000 psi (or 2,000 bar) that makes possible even more power and lower exhaust emissions. Higher ignition fuel pressure means the four piezo injectors can be adjusted even more precisely as engine load and speed change. This system places the four-cylinder diesel at the head of the field when it comes to diesel engines for passenger vehicles.

AdBlue Injection

To ensure the GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC meets exhaust emission regulations in all 50 states, the BlueTEC system uses AdBlue injection to make the diesel as clean as a state-of-the-art gasoline engine. A water-based urea solution, AdBlue is carried in its own small tank and metered into the exhaust in minute quantities, so the tank only needs to be refilled during routine scheduled maintenance. When AdBlue is injected into pre-cleaned exhaust gas, ammonia (NH3) is released, converting nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen (and water) in a downstream catalytic converter. Called SCR, for selective catalytic reduction, this process creates the most effective method of exhaust gas after-treatment currently available.

Two-Stage Turbo System

To ensure responsive power over a broad speed range, the new engine features an innovative two-stage turbocharger system that's comprised of a small high-pressure (HP) turbocharger and a large low-pressure (LP) turbocharger. Unlike a traditional biturbo system, the two turbochargers are connected in series, with the HP unit located directly at the exhaust manifold and the LP unit downstream.

Exhaust gas flow spins the HP turbine at up to 215,000 revolutions per minute, and the turbine housing has a bypass duct that can be opened or closed by a vacuum-operated wastegate. When the bypass is closed, all the exhaust flows through the HP turbine, allowing high boost pressure to be developed, even at low engine speeds. As engine speed increases, the wastegate opens, and exhaust gas begins to bypass the HP turbine and flow directly to the second LP turbine.

Exhaust gas from the HP turbine and its wastegate reconverge downstream to drive the LP turbine at up to 185,000 revolutions per minute. At intermediate engine speeds, the wastegate is opened wide enough so that the HP turbine ceases to perform any appreciable work. This allows full exhaust gas energy to flow through the downstream LP turbine, which then does all the work.

True Two-Stage Air Pressurization

On the intake side, air from the air filter first flows through the low-pressure compressor, where it is compressed by the LP turbine. The compressed air then flows into the HP turbine, where it's further compressed for a true two-stage charging process.

A Large Intercooler Adds Power

To complement the two-stage turbocharger system, a larger intercooler reduces the temperature of the compressed air by more than 280 Fahrenheit so that a larger volume of air can enter the combustion chambers.

The key benefit of this intelligent, on-demand control is improved cylinder charging and high torque, even at low engine speeds. What's more, fuel economy is increased. During normal operation, the advantages of this system can be felt – no turbo lag, fast throttle response, a broad torque curve across the entire engine speed range and noticeably improved performance.

New Safety Features

The GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC comes with the same innovative Mercedes-Benz safety features as on other GLK models, including standard ATTENTION ASSIST® and optional DISTRONIC PLUS® with PRE-SAFE Brake®, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. The electrically assisted steering also makes possible an optional Active Parking Assist.

ATTENTION ASSIST® Cautions "Time For A Rest?"

Falling asleep at the wheel causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S., and the ATTENTION ASSIST® system can alert drivers to the first signs of drowsiness. Now standard equipment on the 2013 GLK-Class, a steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving.

Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning, and a "Time for a rest?" message with a coffee cup icon appears in the instrument cluster. ATTENTION ASSIST is a great example of new technology that doesn't need to be expensive to save lives.

Blind Spot Assist

Optional Blind Spot Assist uses dedicated radar sensors to monitor both blind spots behind the vehicle. Whenever a turn signal is activated with a vehicle in the blind spot, the driver gets visual and audible warnings. A separate option, Active Blind Spot Assist incorporates an intervention feature, in which ESP braking automatically helps correct the car's course if the driver doesn't heed the initial warning.

Lane Keeping Assist

Another option is Lane Keeping Assist, which makes use of a special computer which analyzes images from a multi-purpose camera in the windshield to recognize lane markings. This system alerts the driver by simulating rumble strip vibrations in the steering wheel if the car drifts from its lane without the turn signals on. A separate option, Active Lane Keeping Assist (as well as Active Blind Spot Assist) incorporates an intervention feature, in which ESP braking automatically helps correct the car's course if the driver doesn't heed the initial warning.

Adaptive Highbeam Assist

Adaptive Highbeam Assist uses a windshield-mounted camera to control the vertical tilt of both the low- and high-beam headlights. This optional system is engaged by turning the headlight switch to "Auto" and turning on the high beam setting.

Whenever there are no other vehicles in front, the high beams come on automatically, with the lights increasing gradually rather than suddenly. Since drivers no longer have to think about controlling the high beams, Adaptive Highbeam Assist makes it safer and easier to drive in the dark.

DISTRONIC PLUS with PRE-SAFE® Brake

An optional DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control system uses radar sensors to help maintain a pre-set following distance behind the vehicle ahead. The system can actually brake the car to a full stop and accelerate it again. DISTRONIC PLUS works at speeds up to 125 mph and can be especially helpful in stop-and-go traffic.

PARKTRONIC

Also optional, PARKTRONIC uses six ultra-sound sensors in the front bumper and four in the rear bumper to detect obstacles in the system's field of view. The system provides audible warnings and displays the proximity of obstacles using bar graph displays – one on the center dashboard for the front and another for the rear that's visible in the rear-view mirror.

Active Parking Assist

The new electro-mechanical steering assist makes possible Advanced Parking Assist, which works with PARKTRONIC to provide stress-free parallel parking. Below about 20 mph, a "P" icon appears in the dash to show that an electronic parking space search is active. Whenever a parking space is found that's at least one meter (39.4 inches) longer than the car, an arrow appears next to the "P" icon. When reverse is engaged and the driver confirms Advance Parking Assist is desired, the system initiates automatic steering as the driver controls acceleration and braking at speeds below 7 mph. The system can provide up to five corrections, after which the wheels are straightened.

Mid-Size Member of the Mercedes-Benz SUV Family

Classed as a mid-size SUV, the GLK is a key member of the successful Mercedes-Benz SUV family that includes the full-size M-Class, which spurred the trend toward more car-like SUVs, as well as the larger GL-Class and the rough-and-tough G-Class. The Mercedes-Benz GLK is just the right size for running errands across town or making a cross-country trip.

The Right Size for Today's Active Lifestyle

About 10 inches shorter than the M-Class, the GLK is also a few inches shorter than its primary competition – the Acura RDX and Infiniti EX as well as European models such as the BMW X3 and the Land Rover Evoque. At first glance, the GLK appears to be a smaller version of the GL, but a closer look reveals a modern interpretation of the iconic G-Class. In sharp contrast to the relatively soft forms of other similar vehicles, the striking, angular nose of the GLK sets it apart from the competition. From its steeply raked windshield to the integrated rear spoiler on its tightly styled roof section, the bullish shape of the GLK suggests power and agility. At the same time, the GLK is just the right size for today's active lifestyle, whether it's parking in town while running errands or making a cross-country trip.

Agility and Comfort

Smaller and lighter than its well-known SUV siblings, the Mercedes-Benz GLK brings a special combination of agility and comfort to the SUV market. Like nearly all Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, the GLK features four-wheel independent suspension worthy of a sports sedan. With available 4MATIC full-time four-wheel drive and respectable ground clearance for off-road driving, its integrated running boards, roof rack and skid plates emphasize the versatile SUV character of the GLK.

Standard Agility Control suspension provides the benefits of both soft and stiff shock absorbers. Each twin-tube shock absorber is fitted with a hydraulic by-pass piston that acts like a very soft shock absorber to effectively dampen road noise and tire vibration. However, over bumpy or uneven roads, the by-pass piston is out of the picture, preserving the outstanding steering and handling response of a stiffer shock absorber.

Quick Reference Guide: 2013 GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC

Customer Availability:

GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC – April 30, 2013

Performance:

GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC: 200 hp, 369 lb.-ft.

Pricing (excluding D&D of $905):

GLK350 – $37,090
GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC - $38,590
GLK350 4MATIC - $39,090

Standard Feature Highlights:

2.1-liter in-line four-cylinder turbodiesel engine
Direct Select shifter
Electromechanical Steering
Color instrument cluster display
ATTENTION ASSIST®
Nearly 1,000 new parts

Optional Feature Highlights:

DISTRONIC PLUS® w/PRE-SAFE BRAKE
Active Blind Spot Assist
Active Lane Keeping Assist
Adaptive Highbeam Assist
Active Parking Assist
AMG Exterior Styling Package
Ambient Lighting

Competition:

Audi Q5
Acura RDX
BMW X3
Infiniti EX
Range Rover Evoque

Comfort/Convenience

Dual-zone automatic climate control with dust filter
Bluetooth interface for hands-free calling
Central controller with 5.8" color display
3-spoke multifunction leather steering wheel with shift paddles
Premium leather multifunction steering wheel with 4.5" color instrument cluster display*
MB-Tex upholstery
Black, brown, or grey roof liner
6-speaker sound system with auxiliary input
Single CD player with MP3 capability
AM/FM radio with weather band
8-way power adjustable front seats
Flat folding 2nd row seat for 54.7 cu. ft. of cargo space
Rear cargo cover
Roof rails
Exterior chrome accents and chrome load sill plate
Power windows with express up and down
Privacy glass
Trip computer
Front and rear cupholders
Tilt and telescoping steering column
Cruise control
Automatic headlamps with twilight sensor and locator lighting
Intermittent wipers
Rear window intermittent wiper and washer
Burl Walnut Wood Trim

Performance/Handling

2.1-liter 4-cylinder diesel engine*
200 Horsepower at 4,200 RPM*
369 lb-ft Torque at 1,600 - 1,800 RPM*
7-Speed automatic transmission with Direct Select shifter*
Electromechanical steering*
AGILITY CONTROL suspension system with selective damping system
Independent suspension: Front: 3- link suspension/ Rear: Multi-link independent suspension
Brake discs front: 13" with dual piston calipers
Brake discs rear: 11.8" internally ventilated
19" 5-triple-spoke alloy wheels with 235/50 R17 all-season tires
4MATIC permanent All-Wheel Drive with 45/55 front-to-rear drive split
Dual exhaust with chrome exhaust tips

Safety/Security

ATTENTION ASSIST*
Mercedes-Benz mbrace2™*
Adaptive brakes featuring HOLD, brake drying, hill start assist, and pre-charging*
Anti-theft alarm system with engine immobilizer
SmartKey with panic button remote
Advanced tire pressure monitoring system
New vehicle 4-year/50,000 mile warranty
24-hour roadside assistance program
Dual-stage driver and front passenger airbags
Driver and passenger side-impact airbags
Driver and passenger pelvic airbags
Window curtain airbags for front and rear
Driver kneebag
NECK-PRO active front head restraints
High-strength steel body cage with crumple zone and safety cell
Integrated LED daytime running lamps and rear fog lamps
Rear door child safety locks
Universal LATCH system (2nd row outboard seats)
Top tether anchors for child seats (2nd row seats)
Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) with Trailer Stability Assist
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
Brake Assist System (BAS)*
4-wheel Electronic Traction System (4MATIC)

Optional Packages

Premium 1 Package ($3,450)

Autodimming mirrors
Driver memory w/4-way lumbar support & power tilt/telescoping steering column
Power liftgate
iPod / MP3 Media Interface
SIRIUSXM Satellite Radio
Panorama sunroof
115V AC power outlet in cargo area
Integrated garage door opener
Compass in rear view mirror

Full Leather Seating Package ($2,100)

Full leather seating (including door panels)
Front passenger seat memory
Comfort headrests
Interior ambient lighting* Lighting Package ($1,290)
Headlamp cleaning system
Adaptive Highbeam Assist*
Bi-Xenon headlamps with active curve illumination

Appearance Package ($990)

20" 5-Twin-Spoke Wheels
Aluminum roof rails

AMG Styling Package ($1,990)

AMG Body styling
AMG LED daytime running lamps
Aluminum roof rails
20" AMG 5-twin-spoke Alloy Wheel

Multimedia Package ($2,790)

Rearview camera
Enhanced voice control
COMAND with hard-drive navigation

Lane Tracking Package ($850)

Blind Spot Assist
Lane Keeping Assist*

Driver Assistance Package ($2,950)

DISTRONIC PLUS with PRE-SAFE® Brake*
Brake Assist Plus
Active Blind Spot Assist*
Active Lane Keeping Assist*

Stand Alone Options

SIRIUSXM Satellite Radio ($450)
harman/kardon sound system ($810)
PARKTRONIC w/Active Parking Assist* ($970)
Power panorama sunroof* ($1,480)
Trailer hitch ($550)
Brushed aluminum running boards w/ rubber studs ($670)
Heated front seats ($750)
KEYLESS-GO ($650)
iPod / MP3 Media Interface ($310)

Paint

Black, Mars Red, Polar White*, Obsidian Black, Lunar Blue, Steel Grey, Iridium Silver, Palladium Silver, Cuprite Brown, Diamond White, Pebble Grey*, Diamond Silver*

Upholstery

Black MB-Tex, Almond/Beige MB-Tex, Grey MB-Tex, Black Leather, Mocha Leather*, Almond Leather

*=Highlight for MY2013



























Credits: Mercedes-Benz USA

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