GLK Training was held at Atlanta Classic Cars today. We received a full introduction to the 2010 GLK350 and were able to compare it to the BMW X3 and the Acura RDX.
The GLK is quite impressive! You can tell that Mercedes put a lot of work into developing this model specifically for drivers who want a small SUV, rather than just adapting a current model to fill a niche. From the outside it has its own distinctive styling – it does not look like a shrunken ML or a GL. It also has a presence – this is a car that you would notice driving down the road. On the inside, I was impressed with the seating position. It is smaller than a traditional SUV but the upright seating position and great visibility make it feel very commanding on the road. It was also a pleasure to drive. The V6 engine is plenty of power and the car felt very agile. It even has a 3500 lb towing capacity!
As we compared the GLK to the BMW X3 I was shocked to realize that the X3 navigation system is the same system that was in my 2003 MINI Cooper S! That leads me to believe that BMW really hasn’t devoted enough attention to the specific needs of their X3 driver. The character in the X3 also seemed to be lacking. It does look just like a small X5 and does not catch your eye on the road. I know that the X3 will be our main competitor and I really look forward to showing people how much more quality you’ll get in the GLK.
I was unfamiliar with the Acura RDX (and I still probably couldn’t pick it out of a line-up!). This car is a re-outfitted Honda CR-V. I can’t believe that people would pay close to $40,000 for this vehicle. The RDX lacks all of the insulation, finishing, and attention to detail that makes a Mercedes a good value at any price. On the road the Acura has some torque steer, lets in a lot of road noise and is just not a compelling vehicle.
Overall I was thrilled with the GLK! I think Mercedes is really demonstrating a commitment to quality and serving their customers. I know that this vehicle will be an excellent choice for people who want more room than a sedan offers but don’t need a huge SUV. Also, the pricing is fantastic. I was expecting it to come in only slightly lower than the ML350 and it turns out it is going to be very close to the price of a C350! Base MSRP is $35,900 and I think you max out around $47,000 if you get all the bells and whistles. I would guess that the most common set-up, Premium 1 Package, ipod and heated seats would be around $39,500.
We expect to get a demonstrator vehicle at the dealership in December and the GL350 will be for sale in January of 2009. If you live in the Atlanta area please let me know if you would like to be notified when the demo vehicle arrives. I can’t wait to introduce you to the newest member of the Mercedes family!