Despite its absurdly long name, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC represents a crucial shift in the Mercedes-Benz lineup. This marks the first time since 1985 that the German automaker will bring a four-cylinder diesel engine to the U.S. The 2.1-liter twin-turbocharged four-cylinder will deliver 200 horsepower, and an exceptional amount of that available on the low-end. But it is the clean diesel’s efficiency that the automaker is after: the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC gets an estimated 24 mpg in the city, and 33 mpg on the highway, a 20 to 30 percent advantage over the 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine featured in the GLK.
Mercedes is so excited about the new powertrain that it will feature it in other vehicles across the range, with the E-Class and C-Class likely recipients later in the year. It’s unlikely to appear in the larger S-Class since Mercedes currently offers the V-6 diesel that’s also available in the 2013 GLK350. Audi and BMW have yet to announce plans to bring diesel-powered variants for the competing Audi Q5 and BMW X3, but it’s possible that if the GLK250 sees encouraging results, the competition will be quick to follow.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC gets the all-wheel-drive 4MATIC system as standard equipment, as the majority of buyers opt for that arrangement. The new smaller diesel will be paired exclusively to a seven-speed automatic transmission, with steering-wheel mounted shift paddles should drivers choose to use them. The 2013 GLK250 BlueTEC will be priced starting at $39,495 after $905 for destination and handling, a premium of $536 over the six-cylinder GLK350 with all-wheel-drive. We’ll be test driving the new GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC next week, so check back for our driving impressions.