runs drives and looks excelent
Acton, Massachusetts, United States
runs drives and looks excelent
It's been more than a year since we first saw the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 Bluetec unveiled at the 2012 New York Auto Show, but it looks like the compact diesel crossover is finally starting to roll into dealerships. Those wanting to buy a diesel GLK will only have to pony up an extra $1,500 over a base, gas-powered GLK350, as the GLK250's starting price is listed at $38,590 (*not including $905 destination charge).
The turbocharged 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel produces 200 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, and Mercedes-Benz has also provided some fuel economy numbers for this model, with claimed EPA estimates of 24 miles per gallon city and 33 mpg highway. There is no listing for the GLK250 on the EPA's website yet, but the figures represent significant increase over the GLK350's lackluster 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway figures, which are for the rear-wheel drive model. The GLK250 comes standard with the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system - a $2,000 option on GLK350 - meaning that if you want an all-wheel-drive version of the 2013 GLK, it's actually cheaper to opt for the diesel model. Head over to the Mercedes-Benz site for the full 2013 GLK-Class configurator.
The case of Dupont and Honeywell's refrigerant R-1234yf is doing the exact opposite of keeping things cool. The two chemical companies have spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars developing R-1234yf to replace R-134a, the new refrigerant shown to be 99.7-percent kinder to the environment than the one it is meant to succeed. Part of that development has been years of testing by governments, outside safety agencies and automakers to approve the chemical for use in cars. It passed the protocols necessary for the European Union to declare that new and significantly revised cars from 2013 onward needed to use R-1234yf, and mandated that every car as of 2017 must use it.
Enter Daimler AG. The automaker created a head-on collision test with a B-Class at their Sindelfingen test track that would lead to the pressurized refrigerant being sprayed on the engine. The result in 20 out of 20 test was that the refrigerant burst into flames as soon as it hit the hot engine, while Daimler says that R-134a does not catch fire in the same test. Another unexpected result of the R-1234yf test was the release of hydrogen flouride, a chemical far more deadly to humans than hydrogen cyanide, emitted in such amounts that it that turned the windshield white as it began to eat into the glass.
Said a Daimler engineer in a Reuters piece, "It was scarcely believable. The most complicated lab tests conducted using the most sensitive measuring instruments around found nothing and all we do is drive a car around a couple of times, open a tiny hole in the refrigerant line and the next thing you know the car is on fire." So Daimler said it wouldn't use the refrigerant, and it recalled the cars it had already shipped with R-1234yf.
If you drop $100,000 on a luxury sedan, it seems only reasonable to receive some preferential treatment at the dealership you purchased from. After all, that price isn't just for the car - you're paying for the brand and all the cachet that entails. For Mercedes-Benz, those benefits have apparently been lacking relative to the German brand's luxury competitors.
That's set to change, though, as Automotive News reports that the German brand is placing a much greater emphasis on keeping its customers happy and loyal with its MB Select program. Starting with the new S-Class and spreading to the CLA-Class (and eventually beyond), dealers are being given money - up to $2,500 in the case of the flagship sedan - just to improve the customer experience.
We agree, improving the "customer experience" is quite a vague term, so it's nice that Mercedes USA's CEO, Steve Cannon, offered up some examples to AN at the LA Auto Show. For example, a customer couldn't fit his sunglasses into the overhead compartment. "So we bought him a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses that fit because of their shape," Cannon said.