We have always liked the GLC from Mercedes-Benz at Motorhub. The latest version of the German mid-sized SUV offers a ‘de’ version. The ‘d’ stands for diesel (Boo! I hear you say) but wait the letter ‘e’ stands for electrification (Hooray!). If you do small mileage there is a petrol GLC PHEV called the 300 ‘e’.
The GLC 300de 4Matic (all wheel drive) is a PHEV (what, more letters!). By know you should know PHEV means it’s a plug in hybrid electric vehicle. The 300 de is a marriage of two power sources, that right now work brilliantly in tandem. The PHEV is a perfect method of powering a car as you can do traditional ‘diesel car’ high mileage whenever you wish but on shorter journeys or at a time of your choosing can get the car to run in zero emission mode for up to 45km using its rechargeable 13.5kWh battery to power its electric motor to turn the wheels. PHEVs today offer enough EV driving range to allow the school run or local driving to happen without the need of the engine kicking in. Should the need arise, the Merc’s four-cylinder diesel engine will power the GLC as far as the easy-to-find fuel lasts. The effective way to run the GLC is to charge its battery at your home or workplace in just a few hours (7kW wallbox) to allow you be as fuel and energy efficient as possible.
The numbers from out test car are very impressive. The GLC 300de ‘4Matic’ (all wheel drive) has an emissions figure of just 49g/km of CO2 and an average fuel consumption of between 1.8-2 l/100km (156-141mpg). It attracts just 7% vehicle registration tax in Ireland. This low tax status annoys some people who are used to shaking their fist at SUVs as the spawn of the devil but PHEV technology has pulled the rug from under that argument. To attain those astonishingly low figures in the GLC de you have to use the car as nature intended with frequent charging and a light right foot. Like all modern PHEVs the ‘de’ allows a user to be as green as their conscious dictates. When used under its 2-litre diesel power alone the car reverts to being… a diesel, albeit a modern one, in terms of emissions and fuel consumption.
The GLC 300de is quick with 0-100km/h taking 6.2 seconds. The power is delivered to the wheels via a smooth nine-speed automatic (9G-Tronic) operated using a steering column stalk. Top speed is an academic 230km/h. Power is quoted at 306hp – with 194hp from the diesel engine and 120hp from the electric motor (total power is never a simple addition). The torque figure is a whopping combined 700nm. Despite its high power figures, in general driving the 300 de does not encourage you to take the dynamic or twisty route home. There are selectable driving modes but in day to day use we pretty much left them alone. Its steering is not particularly dynamic or sharp but it is quite precise when needed. The GLC 300 de does however deliver a delicious instant kick when moving off and will accelerate with near giggle inducting eagerness thanks to its excellent traction 4Matic gearbox and electric motor’s instant pulling power. The GLC 300 de has as luxury car sellers would say “sufficient power” and is quite the Q car.
While we transition to fully electric models the GLC 300de fills the gap very well for those looking for ‘right now’ greener motoring. Our test car starts at €62,300 and with the addition of an EQ badge or two remains true to the original GLC. As SUVs go the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 de is an instantly likeable car with green credentials and unimposing size. it can tow up to 2,000kgs (braked) and has a reasonable sized boot at 395 litres (1,445 litres seats down). The GLC de’s 4Matic variable on demand four wheel drive set up delivers truly impressive grip and traction too – and this is exactly what all SUVs are meant to do, but not all do.
If Goldilocks was in the market for a premium PHEV that was just right she’d take a GLC 300 de 4Matic.