In continuation of my promise to review some of the cars i drove recently, i had a Mercedes Benz 350 GLK for some days before i drove it from Lagos to Asaba, Delta State.
I had driven this GLK some years ago, somehow then i thought the car was ugly. But the design got to grow on me even before i realized i prefer compact Crossover cars. The reason, i will reveal in another post.
|Mercedes Benz GLK 350.|
This particular one is a low mileage sample which we had also sorted out before i drove it on the highway so all the systems were in good condition except for torn airfilter ducts which we couldn’t get locally so they were sourced abroad.
For starters, the GLK is basically a C-Class with a higher ground clearance and some other cosmetic ‘mago- mago’ (features). It even shares the same engine with the C350.
|Setting off in the morning with what i thought was a great fuel tank range of 689.6 kilometers.|
The GLK is simply an acronym for Geländewagen Luxus Kompaktklasse, derieved from the larger Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, which in turn was named after the G-Wagen or Geländewagen.
Truth be told, driving this car is fun. The steering is just like most other steerings found on other Mercedes Benz cars especially the C300/C350 variants. It’s direct, heavy yet light at the same time. You actually feel it well weighted and very direct. The turn radius is so good that when you use it a couple of times, you subconsciously start feeling that no space is too small for you to negotiate. The goodnews however is that yes, in this car, you will make mincemeat of turning into and out of any space. Mosttimes, if you are standing outside and watching the car turn, you get mesmerized with the fluid manner the car takes tight turns. But just like the C300, the steering wheel boss itself is hard, as in hard. You might even be forced to be using both hands to press the horn, yes, there is no accidental honking or pressing of the horn.
|You see this same ‘mumu’ cruise control stalk over the trafficator/wiper stalk.|
This car also has the same cruise control stalk over the trafficator stalk just like i complained about in the C300 review. It’s not about me as i confirmed from other drivers and owners of similarly equipped Benzes. So, just know that you will also inadvertently flick on the cruise control when you want to turn on your trafficators. What might only differentiate you from the other driver will be the number of times you make this mistake.
This car actually gets to 60mph from 0 much faster than the C300 and sure feels it. Compared to the C300’s 7.1 secs 0-60mph time, the GLK blasts it in just 6.5 secs. Truthfully, the engine capacities are not a match but the difference in the performance is much noticeable. And i also discovered that the fuel consumption is also very different. With the C300 winning by a wide margin as i discovered. I drove from Lagos to Asaba and my fuel got into reserve yet i didn’t overspeed or drive aggressively. And this car was just serviced with all the right parts. Though i shall fully say the truth so i shall be set free, the car threw a Check Engine Light by the time i got to Asaba, and when i scanned it one cylinder was not firing optimally. Though prior to our servicing, we noticed the service interval had been overstretched so probably the car still needed more deeper cleaning to flush out all the sludge from the engine. I guess these figures are responsible for the major performance differences this car offers….272 PS (200 kW; 268 hp)@6000, 350 N·m (258 lb·ft)@2400–5000rpm. And fuel consumption of an EPA-estimated 16/23 miles per gallon, or 16/21 mpg for the 4MATIC.
|This was taken when i got to Asaba….on reserve fuel after only 428.8 kilometers.|
If i was excited with the linear power delivery in the C300, this is the cream de la cream as power is always available for you in the right amount of doses and when you slam the throttle, just get ready for the force that will slam you back into your seat. Yes, talking about the seats, they are very sturdy and supportive. Leather clad and adjusts in multiple ‘tos and fros’ with memory for three positions, meaning there is provision for three different drivers to be able to use the car, all at his/her own convenience.
As for internal room, the rear room is cramped for long-legged people, but i doubt it can get better than offered, but did you forget that this is a compact crossover. But the front section is very accommodating. And the boot will take your luggages well especially when you don’t go packing like an African man, pack moderately ok.
|Lots of buttons just like in the C 300. But different wood selection…..better looking.|
Safety in this car is taken seriously as you have 9 airbags in different sections of the car to cushion you in the event of a crash and they are mostly designed to deploy at different stages depending on the severity of the crash. Pelvic, knee and regular airbags are very available, in addition to the suite of other active and passive safety features. Just know that you will not notice or see most of them, but just like your guardian angel, you can’t see it but they are guarding you least you strike your foot against a stone. But you sef, will you go and strike this awesome car against any stone?
Just know that this car like i said shares the same DNA with the C Class but upps the game in an exciting way. If not in any other department, in the sound production department. With 9 sweet speakers unlike the 8 in the C Class, the sound production is another heavenly orchestra. And you also have a large storage capacity harddrive to store thousands of songs on.
Just like in the C Class, this car is like other Benz cars equipped with the Comand system to navigate through the various systems of the car; navigation, audio, climate control etc. And it is well located, and effective but you need to understand the system well before ever embarking on any drive.
The car comes with either a rear wheel drive or an all wheel drive alias 4Matic. I once witnessed and experienced a massive loss of traction on grass with a rear wheel drive GLK so if not for anything, i tell you to buy the 4Matic, believe me, you will need the system in addition with the decent ground clearance unlike the 4. something inches of the C Class.
|Space -saver spare tire in the boot.|
I have to inform you guys that there is a spare tire in the boot. Yes, it’s there but hehehehe, it comes flat. As in flat like sharwama bread lol. You have to pump it yourself before using. The one in this car had never been used before. I actually didn’t know as at then that you need to pump it first before using it. I felt there was some sort of witchcraft that would automatically inflate it in the case you need it, but hell no. You have a flat, you pump it. How creative, eh, Benz. Have you guys not heard that on Nigerian roads, you don’t waste time when you have a breakdown, talk more having to start pumping tire. When ‘area boys’ are circling. Sadly, they continued this with the replacement for the GLK now called the GLC which i witnessed the launch here in Nigeria. That one is worse sef. I will gist you guys about that later.
|Posing beside the big brother ML 550.|
This car came with the 20 inches wide wheels/tires and low profile tires but surprisingly the ride was not harsh, actually the suspension was just a perfect blend of hardness and compliant. Taking one through bumps and potholes with good compression. But believe me, you will chirp and damage your expensive and beautiful wheels on our kerbs and uncountable potholes here in Nigeria…..it’s just a matter of how soon it occurs. This wide and low stance has the benefit of helping the car be so sure footed that you forget you are driving a Crossover vehicle and you will want to drive this car like any other lower sportscar. But with the 4Matic version like the example i had, all you can do is drive very fast and get to speed rapidly, throw it into corners with pleasant confidence because it is very surefooted. And the plenty electronic nannies deployed in this car by Mercedes will always ensure (in addition) to the 4Matic, you always get going no matter the road condition. Snow (well, we don’t have such here shaa), mud (don’t go to riverine areas oh), wet surfaces (provided you don’t drive the RWD version), just know that whatever the urban jungle we live in throws at you, you are ‘good to go’. Another great thing is that you can and will conquer the urban jungle in complete comfort and ease.
|Great dual moon roof lets in a copious amounts of sunshine into the cabin.|
|Decent sized boot.|
|Improper service history.|
|GLK resting in its new abode. It was very disheartening saying goodbye to this awesome car.|