Mercedes Benz is going to clean up with its new GLC. Remember the GLK? Petrolheads will, but sadly Ireland never got the chunky 5-seat machine because it was only made in left-hand drive. GLK was a huge global hit and as the smallest SUV the German firm made, it had mass appeal. Now GLK’s successor, the Mercedes GLC is available with the steering wheel right where we like it!
The name change is simple to understand too, GL is the new Mercedes way of saying it’s an SUV and the C lets you know what model it is based on, so C-Class. GLC sits on a stretched C-Class platform and this means compared to rivals like the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 it’s big inside. The boot is big too – I bought a new lawnmower (a big one with tons of power obviously!) and the boxed machine sat in the boot with the seats up and the tonneau cover closed! So GLC will work really well in everyday family life.
On the road the GLC is refined and the long wheelbase makes it a very comfortable cruiser. Comparisons to the old GLK about power improvements, weight reduction and greenness mean nothing really. Let’s face it, it’s (nearly) impossible to test a new model that isn’t an improvement on the old.
Our test car is the 220d 4-Matic, which has a starting price of €50,280, came with a few options like AMG line trim that brought the price up to €53,700. Metallic paint (€1,470) and the ‘Night Pack’ (€943) pushed up the price to a grand total of €56,113. That a lot of cash but a lot of car too. Remember €50K can get you a Mercedes SUV whereas before GLC, you had shell out a lot more cash for an ML (now the GLE).
While most GLC’s will never see mud, I’ve driven the GLC off road on a Mercedes test track with the optional ‘Off Road Engineering Pack’ (5-selectable driving modes for different terrain types). I was truly impressed by its ability. The 9-speed automatic (9G-Tronic) coupled to the 4-Matic all-wheel drive system is smooth and effortless. If you do tow a horsebox the 250 d (2.2-litre/500Nm) with its greater torque would be the one to go for but in everyday driving the 220 d does a great job. The same 2.2-litre diesel engine in the 220 is tuned to deliver less power but its 170hp and 400Nm is adequate. You also have the option of selecting how the car uses the power via a drive mode toggle switch (Eco, Comfort, Sport etc.). In Eco the car wants to sit at 110kph when cruising and generally makes gearshifts more fuel-efficient, while Comfort mode lets your right foot take more responsibility for fuel economy.
As with the award winning C-Class all of the latest electronic toys are available either as standard or as part of optional packs. If you splash the cash you can have a Head-Up Display, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Crosswind Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Distronic Plus with Steering Assist (stop/start adaptive cruise control that follows traffic) and Active Parking Assist (auto parking) the list goes on. GLC as you’d expect from MB has optional body styling lines. AMG is the aggressive one while Exclusive is understated and Off Road line is the chunky option. It has a raised body and shorter overhangs. Steel spring ‘Agility Control’ suspension is standard in Ireland but more luxurious Air Suspension is an option too.
By the middle of the year we’ll see a more affordable GLC 200 entry-level version with rear-wheel drive and also the impressive 350e plug in hybrid.
GLC is going to be loved in a sector that is growing at a huge rate.