Mercedes-Benz welcomes diesel engine for 2013 GLK

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LA CLUSAZ, FRANCE – For all the Mercedes-Benz dealers pleading for more diesel options, your wish is coming true, with at least one more nameplate.

Included in the mid-cycle refresh of the popular GLK crossover, the automaker has announced the addition of a first-in-class diesel engine to the Canadian lineup.

The all-new BlueTEC diesel engine is powered by a 2.1-L twin-turbocharged inline four-cylinder that pumps out 190 horsepower and an impressive 369 ft-lbs of torque.

While the horsepower is nothing to write home about, fuel economy figures are sure to help boost already high sales for the model in Canada. The GLK is currently Mercedes-Benz Canada’s second-best seller behind the C-Class.

Automaker executives would not offer any prognostications about potential diesel GLK volume, but given the take rate of its other BlueTEC options, it is likely going to be another winner.

The only bad news for dealers is the diesel option won’t be hitting stores until the end of this year.

“One look at the current market figures shows that the GLK was already well positioned,” explained Hubert Schneider, head of GLK development. “2011 was the best sales year so far, with increases achieved in all key markets. This kind of sales growth in the year leading up to a facelift, is highly untypical and only serves to underscore its enormous popularity.”

The previous gas engine GLK 350 is back for the 2013 model year. New for that model is a stop/start system to better fuel economy and an electric power steering system.

Not returning for another spin on Canadian roads is the company’s rear-wheel drive GLK. Instead, all models will now hug the pavement with the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system.

The new 350 4MATIC is scheduled to hit dealerships sometime this summer.

Also new but not coming to Canada is an impressive off-road package that was put on display during the recent international media launch in the charming ski village of La Clusaz, France.

According to Schneider, off-road packages account for 20 to 30-per cent of European GLK sales. The option, which includes suspension tweaks, a higher ground clearance and a host of additional changes, is just not popular enough in North America to make it available here.

Dealers will no doubt appreciate the symmetry of the interior alterations as the front dash is unmistakably Mercedes-Benz. There is a new instrument cluster and the circular air vents have been pulled straight from the SLS. The GLK also sports a cool ambient interior lighting system.

There are new exterior colours and interior upholstery options along with three front dash trim options – aluminum, dark ash and burl walnut.

Competition for the GLK remains the Acrua RDX, Cadillac SRX, BMW X3, Lexus RX and the Audi Q5.

There is no word on price yet, but expect the diesel engine to come at a premium.