2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class Review

Pros & Cons

  • Solid feel
  • impressive ride and handling
  • impeccably crafted cabin
  • high-tech options.
  • Difficult rear seat access
  • less interior space than competitors
  • more expensive than the Japanese rivals.
Other years
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class for Sale
List Price Range
$11,995 - $15,997

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 might not boast class-leading cabin space or fuel mileage, but nothing tops the compact crossover's robust structure and layers of technology.

Vehicle overview

It is no accident that the GLK350, Mercedes' smallest and least expensive SUV, leaped into the crowded compact crossover market last year as an immediately desirable contender. After all, Mercedes-Benz pioneered the combination of SUV utility and luxury-car trappings with its ML-Class SUV in the late 1990s. About five years ago, Mercedes showed it could put together an excellent full-size luxury SUV as well with the GL-Class. The company still lacked an entry for the growing small crossover segment, however. So last year the GLK350 came along to fill the gap.

Drawing from Mercedes' well-stocked store of components, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK is based on the C-Class sedan and features Mercedes' familiar 3.5-liter V6 and seven-speed automatic transmission. And despite being one of the cheapest Benz models, the GLK is built to such a high standard that its price premium over most similarly equipped competitors seems well worth it. Go over railroad tracks and the body doesn't flex a bit, nor does any jiggling greet your backside. This little SUV feels like you could drive over a land mine and experience nothing but a muted "thump." The GLK350 might not be perfect, but when it comes to meticulous build quality, it simply has no equal in this segment.

The interior is also a chip off the old C-Class block -- and we do mean block. The controls are virtually identical, but they're placed on an upright dash with nary a curved surface in sight. When done up in black, the GLK's austere cabin is the most stereotypically Germanic environment short of a Stuttgart beer garden. What it may lack in flair, though, the GLK interior more than makes up for with superior materials and impeccable fit and finish.

However, there are a couple of minor downsides to the GLK. Its maximum cargo capacity and rear legroom measure slightly behind the leaders among luxury SUVs, so if you're looking for the extra room, there may be better choices. Families who often utilize the rear seat will likely prefer the 2011 Volvo XC60 or the even larger 2011 Lexus RX 350, and those who care more about dynamic driving than luggage capacity would do well to consider the 2011 Acura RDX, 2011 Audi Q5, 2011 BMW X3 and Infiniti EX35.

Even if it's not the quickest or largest of the compact crossovers, the GLK350 stands out because it so effortlessly blends the elements of luxury motoring with utility as well as any vehicle on the road. Not all Benzes have upheld these traditions, but the GLK most certainly earns its three-pointed star.

2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class models

The 2011 Mercedes GLK-Class luxury crossover SUV is available in one trim level known as the Mercedes-Benz GLK350. When equipped with all-wheel drive, it is the GLK350 4Matic. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, cruise control, automatic headlamps, eight-way power front seats, MB Tex premium vinyl upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Premium 1 package adds a panoramic sunroof, a power tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, driver seat memory settings, driver seat power lumbar support, a 115-volt household outlet and satellite radio. The Multimedia package adds a navigation system, a rearview camera, the electronics interface, voice controls, digital music storage, an iPod/USB audio interface and a six-CD changer.

The Appearance package adds 20-inch wheels and aluminum roof rails. The AMG Sport package offers the roof rails, 20-inch wheels, AMG bumpers and LED daytime running lights. Other options include a styling package, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, an 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, heated front seats and a rear seat entertainment system with dual front-headrest-mounted displays.

2011 Highlights

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class remains largely unchanged. A driver-side knee airbag and lower front-seat side airbags have been added. On the options list there's a new AMG Sport package.

Performance & mpg

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with an output of 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission with Comfort, Sport and Manual settings is standard. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive (known as 4Matic) is optional. In Edmunds performance testing, a GLK350 4Matic accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, an average time for this segment. Estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined with 4Matic. The rear-wheel-drive GLK bumps the highway number up to 23 mpg.

Safety

The GLK comes standard with stability control, antilock disc brakes with brake assist, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and, new for 2011, a front knee airbag and driver/passenger pelvic airbags. Parking sensors and Mercedes' mbrace emergency telematics are optional.

In Edmunds brake testing, a GLK 4Matic came to a stop from 60 mph in 119 feet -- a good number for this type of vehicle.

Driving

Given the compromises of ride height and weight commensurate with its class of vehicle, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK is beautifully balanced and evokes comparison to the C-Class sedan, its closest showroom relative. If the GLK is not quite as sporty as the X3 or Q5, its incredibly solid structure, compliant ride quality and maneuverability through tight urban streets are sure to appeal to the GLK's likely buyer.

With its 268-hp V6, the GLK's acceleration isn't breathtaking, but the dual exhausts give off a pleasant Germanic growl during aggressive driving. On the highway, the V6 is remarkably quiet, emitting an almost imperceptible purr. The seven-speed transmission is remarkably smooth even in Sport mode, but it can be a bit slow to downshift at times.

Interior

There isn't a hint of French curve to be found anywhere inside the GLK, but the geometric lines are softened by an abundance of amenities and framed within an elegant simplicity that echoes the exterior's no-nonsense character. The craftsmanship and materials are of an obviously high standard, and even Mercedes' vinyl upholstery could be mistaken for real leather. Headroom is ample all around but rear legroom is tight, and climbing in and out through the small rear door openings can be difficult.

A few systems are overly complicated to operate and the climate controls are mounted a little low, but the overall combination of physical dash buttons, steering-wheel controls and the optional multifunction COMAND knob make the GLK no less friendly than other cars with extravagant electronics. Maximum cargo capacity is 54.7 cubic feet, which is less than most luxury competitors, but the rear seats are easy to fold flat when the need arises for more luggage room.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Even my husband loves this little SUV!
jrp74,06/01/2011
Love everything about this car! Attractive, sporty, quiet, comfortable with intuitive controls, excellent safety features, and luxurious options--all at an excellent price! The rear seat is large enough to comfortably accommodate our 12-year old and 9-year old, and I find the cargo space to be more than adequate for what we typically use it for (groceries, runs to to the recycling center). Would recommend getting the keyless entry and ignition option, though--after owning an Infiniti M45 that had it, it is sorely missed.
It's my Wife's Car...But I always want the keys!
amickey,11/23/2011
As the title says I love this crossover. We bought for my wife trading up from a Camry for the MB build quality, cache, edgy looks, vast options list, performance, & impeccable safety. I, on the other hand, love the sportiness, muscular lines, AMG styling & wheels and MB build. Another importance for us was that this crossover stands out in a crowd of blobbed aero shaped vehicle that really are just miniature wannabe of their bigger brethren. Class doesn't mean following the herd.
Back to MB with a GLK !
GVR,11/26/2010
Our family now has 2 reliable MB vehicles. My last car was a Porsche up until I purchased the GLK. So happy to get rid of that unreliable money pit Porsche ! Don't get me started on the dealerships! Mercedes Benz = great cars and excellent service. 2 ingredients that are essential for motoring happiness. GLK is just a really well thought out, comfortable, practical, solid, quality SUV. Loaded with all options except for the rear video. I enjoy every minute in my Mobile Office / Hockey Dad / Night Out / Off to the cottage, fits the bill on all accounts. Including the bank!
Autobahn crusing (in real life)
mhoffman2,04/20/2011
Picked up a GLK 350 2WD on overseas delivery in Stuttgart in late March and drove it around southern Germany for a week. Autobahn crusing was effortless, but had to keep it down for breakin mileage. Car was quiet as a vault, controls were intuitive and easy to use. Visibility and comfort were remarkable. Rear luggage area was large enough on the floor for two HUGE suitcases (loaded to maximum airline capacity). Cannot wait for the car to arrive at the dealer. Would highly recommend overseas delivery. 2 for 1 Lufthansa airfare, 7% off the sticker, no destination charge, 2 free nights in $300 plus/night true luxury hotels, 15 days free insurance, full tank of gas, tour of factory, etc. Great.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class features & specs
More about the 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class Overview

The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is offered in the following submodels: GLK-Class SUV. Available styles include GLK350 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 7A), and GLK350 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 7A).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class GLK350 4MATIC is priced between $11,995 and$15,997 with odometer readings between 47562 and117526 miles.
  • The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class GLK350 is priced between $14,900 and$14,900 with odometer readings between 45968 and45968 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2011 GLK-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $11,995 and mileage as low as 45968 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class.

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Find a used Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class for sale - 8 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $14,335.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 9 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $17,136.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class for sale - 1 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $24,286.

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Should I lease or buy a 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class lease specials