It can get 30-plus mpg or dash to 60 mph in 6.5 sec. Its Agility Control suspension corners racetrack flat, yet its undercarriage can be armored for ramming over rough stuff. It's targeted at Sex-in-the-City women, but it wears sharp, angular styling that apes the butch GL-class. Does this fuel-crisis trucklet suffer multiple-personality disorder?
Globally, yes, but there will be some exorcisms before the GLK arrives in January. The off-road package is out due to lack of interest on our shores (similar packages are dropped on ML and GL too). Officials claim the package bestows Land-Rover LR2-equivalent capability, from a combination of a Downhill-Speed Regulation system that uses engine braking and the ABS gear to creep down hills at any programmed speed from 2-11 mph. An off-road switch changes the transmission, ABS, stability control, and engine control maps to better suit loose surfaces, and underbody armor made of fiberglass-reinforced thermoplastics provide protection and keep the hangy-downy bits from snagging on rocks. The COMAND system display shows steering angle, altimeter and compass info in this mode. Sad to say, the two diesel engines are also banished-the 34-mpg 2.1L twin-turbo four and the 30-mpg 3.0L variable-nozzle turbo V-6. That'll leave us with a 22-mpg 3.5L gas V-6 spinning a seven-speed and 4Matic all-wheel drive (rear drive follows a few months later) wearing the fanciest walnut trim, standard dual sunroofs, and 19- or 20-in. wheels.
We may not miss the off-road gear-4Matic's fixed 45/55 front/rear torque split, traction control, and 7.9-in. of ground clearance will get us where we're going, and the big wheels, fat tires, and taut suspenders are antithetical to billy-goating. We will miss the diesels unless brisk demand for BlueTec MLs and GLs earn one of them a reprieve. Cross your fingers for the teched-out four, featuring piezoelectric injectors squirting fuel at over 29,000 psi, dual overhead camshafts driven by gears from the back of the block, and sequential turbos-a small one that spools up quickly at low revs, and a big one for higher speeds. The GLK220 CDI only trails the GLK350 by only 2.0 sec to 60 mph, and by achieving 50-percent-better fuel consumption its owners could recover their $1000-$2000 option price during a typical lease, even if today's diesel-fuel pricing persists.