The Mercedes-Benz GLK is offered, for now, with a V-6 engine and automatic transmission, and a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. There's little difference between those versions: both steer and ride more like the crossovers with which they compete, than the SUVs the GLK's styling so heavily suggests.
The engine in the GLK is a 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which makes all U.S.-market versions GLK 350s. A long-rumored diesel version is still in the offing; we suspect it's coming in the 2013 model year, along with a mild makeover. The six-cylinder generates plenty of power--268 horsepower in all--and connects to a seven-speed automatic with a couple of nicely spaced launch gears and quick, firm and smooth shifts. The combination gives the 4,100-pound GLK some very brisk acceleration numbers; Mercedes says it will reach 60 mph in about 6.7 seconds, and the GLK feels relaxed delivering that power in normal driving. Shift paddles and an aggressive throttle tip-in also underscore that this crossover SUV is truly meant for the open road, not the boulder-strewn one.
Off-roading is not the GLK's forte. But its four-wheel-drive system adjusts as the various traction systems determine where torque is needed most. What the GLK does do well is get you home safety in foul weather; the 4MATIC system excels in distributing power smoothly on a snowy road and avoiding wheelspin.