It could be said that during the past thirty years, diesel engines, especially those from Mercedes-Benz, have seen the most radical changes of any power train. The diesel engines that powered the likes of the 1980’s Mercedes 300TDs were inefficient, loud, smelly, and, worst of all, completely unresponsive to throttle input. Diesels of the past were almost curiosity items, living reminders that both automotive manufacturers and consumers should stick to gasoline engines.
But now in a world of efficiency and obsession with emissions and MPGs, diesel technology has been rejuvenated as an integral part of the future of the automobile. Modern diesels have evolved into torquey, civilized, and efficient pieces of machinery. They are the hype in both Europe and the United States. Now, enter the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK 250 Bluetec. The newest variant of Mercedes-Benz’s popular compact SUV, the GLK class, this GLK 250 drops the the traditional 268-horsepower V6 in favor of a 2.2-liter turbo diesel, just one of the many new diesel offerings Mercedes has prepared for the American market.
A mere 190 horses powers this baby crossover, but the little diesel’s turbo cranks out a monstrous 369 lb.-ft. of torque that’s mated to Mercedes’ 7-speed automatic. It is bound to produce impressive acceleration numbers. This little guy also uses the now ubiquitous start-stop technology to maximize fuel economy. Though official EPA estimates haven’t been released for this GLK 250, the Euro-spec diesel GLK garnered around 30 MPG combined, numbers that are more suited to a small German sedan rather than a tall utilitarian people mover.
The GLK sees the same interior and exterior upgrades that appeared on the V6 model GLK for 2014. Mercedes claims that the updated GLK has 1000 new parts in total, coming in the form of revised tail lamps, new LED daytime running lights with HID accents, a reworked center stack, and new air vents that reminisce of the 560SLs of the late 1980s. Gorgeous, soft-touch leather and wood accents abound on the interior and truly reinforce the premium, very “Mercedes” feel of the GLK.
Overall, the GLK 250 Bluetec seems to have everything going for it: utility, economy, and best of all, classic Mercedes luxury. However, with tough competition from Audi’s Q5, BMW’s X3, and Land Rover’s Evoque, the GLK remains in a competitive market amongst younger buyers. No official pricing has been announced yet, but expect the GLK 250 to come in slightly under the GLK 350’s $37,000 base price when it goes on sale in late Spring.
Please enjoy this TFLcar.com comparison test between the new GLK 350, the Lexus RX 350, and the Infiniti FX37.