This is one of the most important cars for Mercedes in India. Mercedes is entering a segment which has so far been exploited by the likes of Audi Q5 and BMW X3 for a while now....
|Price|| 52.08 Lakhs onwards|
|Engine|| 1991 to 2143 cc|
|Transmission|| Automatic|Variant name Price 2143 cc, Diesel, Automatic, ₹ 52.08 Lakhs 2143 cc, Diesel, Automatic, ₹ 56.08 Lakhs 1991 cc, Petrol, Automatic, ₹ 56.49 Lakhs
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Mercedes-Benz GLC Review
The Audi Q5 and the BMW X3 have had it easy up until now as they never really had a competitor from arch rival Mercedes. Yes, the cheaper version of the ML or now the GLE came close but it was always more expensive and it was more of a stopgap variant than a full blown contender. Finally, the wait will be over, come 2nd of June, 2016, when Mercedes launches the much talked about GLC SUV.
What is it?
The Audi Q5 and the BMW X3 have had it easy up until now as they never really had a competitor from arch rival Mercedes. Yes, the cheaper version of the ML or now the GLE came close but it was always more expensive and it was more of a stopgap variant than a full blown contender. Finally, the wait will be over, come 2nd of June, 2016, when Mercedes launches the much talked about GLC SUV. We got our hands on both the GLC 300 and the GLC 220d variants in picturesque Coorg to tell you whether the GLC drives as good as it looks.
As far as looks are concerned the GLC looks more like a crossover than SUV. That’s not to say it isn’t imposing enough. When viewed from the front the large signature grille looks striking and the beautiful full LED headlamps lends it sophistication. The hefty bumper with air intakes on both sides and a large chrome scuff plate in the centre complete the impressive front look. At the rear, the pronounced shoulder line, twin tail pipes, faux chrome diffuser and the elongated tail lamps look really attractive. Thanks to the wide track the GLC looks hunkered down and sporty from the rear. When viewed in profile the large 18- inch rims dominate proceedings and the prominent creases running along the front fender and doors lends it a nice stance. Though it doesn’t have the squared-off dimension you expect of an SUV it’s the same for the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 too.
The GLC is based on the C-Class chassis but Mercedes has heavily reworked it and it is much longer and wider than its sedan cousin. In fact, the GLC has best in class 4759mm length and 2873mm wheelbase. On the contrary, it does weigh slightly more than its rivals. In pursuit of fuel efficiency and lower wind noise Mercedes has added a radiator shutter, sealed the headlamp surrounds, the roof spoiler aids airflow as does the underbody panelling. As a result, it has a class-leading 0.31 drag coefficient.
How is it on the inside?
In their recent models Mercedes has been nailing it as far as cabin design and quality is concerned and the GLC is no exception. The sculpted dashboard is a carryover from the C-Class sedan and it just looks rich and beautifully designed. The leather dash top, soft plastics on the lower portions and the matte wood finish on the centre console and door pads looks and feels exquisite. The protruding tablet-like screen though looks like an afterthought and the dials look a bit ordinary as compared to the rest of the cabin. The constantly improving Comand system is quite intuitive to use thanks to the control pad but still it lags behind its German rivals in this respect. Even the 7-inch screen looks a size too small.
The seating position isn’t all that high so you slide rather than climb up in this SUV. This also means the driving position is more car-like and except for the poor rear visibility, the view ahead is pretty good. Finding an ideal driving position is very easy thanks to a host of electric adjustments for the seat and steering. The big front seats are comfortable and thanks to adjustable squab even tall drivers will find abundance of thigh support. We would have liked the seat to offer more lateral support though especially considering the GLC rolls quite a bit when driven enthusiastically. At the rear there is an abundance of space and despite the large central tunnel three occupants can sit in reasonable comfort. You sit at a good height and the large windows and the abundance of headroom makes it a pleasant place to be in. The only grouse is that the seat base is quite short which results in limited under thigh support especially for tall people. The GLC is practical too with a total of four cup holders, four bottle holders and a total of nine storage spaces which includes the large cooled glovebox. The large 510litre boot gets our thumbs up too but like with all new Mercs the space saver spare tyre eats into the precious luggage area and this makes loading large bags a painful task too.
The GLC like most other Merc cars will initially come in the launch edition version (they call it Edition one) and as expected it comes loaded with equipment. It comes with three-zone climate control, electric steering adjust, powered front seats with memory, navigation, panoramic sunroof, cruise control, auto park assist, 360-degree camera and a powered tail gate. It also comes with a nice sounding music system which receives inputs through a CD/DVD player, Bluetooth, SD card and two USB ports.
How does it drive?
A pair of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines power this new SUV from Mercedes. The 2143cc ‘diesel is a familiar one; we’ve already seen it in the C-Class. However, initially, we will get it in the 220d guise which means a modest 168bhp and 400Nm. These figures are quite a bit down on the X3 which gets a much more powerful 188bhp motor. But despite the modest figures the GLC 220d has more than enough verve for everyday driving.
Thanks to good sound insulation it feels exceptionally quiet and the NVH levels are impressively low, both at idle and on the go, and it gets harsh only near the top of the rev range. This milder state of tune suggests less aggressive turbo-charging, which means less noise. The power delivery is smooth. This engine is very linear for a diesel, and its strong bottom and midrange responses makes it quite effortless to drive. Although the motor revs quite freely to its 4600rpm redline it's best to upshift around 4000rpm as it just makes more noise than progress. Surprisingly this motor feels more responsive than what we have experienced in the C220d and this we feel is mainly down to the potent new 9-speed automatic. With more gears to play with, the ratios are closely stacked and the gearbox always finds the right gear at the right time. In Comfort mode, the shifts are soft and seamless, and the gearbox is still decently quick to react to pedal inputs. In Eco mode, the ’box can’t wait to upshift and iIn Sport or Sport+ is where it feels the best with it being quick to downshift with the slightest change in throttle position. With a claimed 0-100kmph time of 8.3seconds we expect the GLC to be only slightly slower than the segment benchmark the BMW X3.
If you are after having fun behind the wheel then the GLC 300 will be our choice. The petrol is a 1991cc, direct-injection, turbocharged motor that makes a healthy 245bhp and 370Nm of torque. Like the diesel, it is available with the new 9-speed automatic and that’s a good thing. This motor gives out its best when you wring it by the scruff of its neck. Although it is not the smoothest sounding motor around, the exceptional top-end power is addictive and visits to the 6500rpm redline are accompanied with a wide grin on your face. But as soon as you are done having fun, this motor's limitations come to the fore. There is a fair bit of lag under 2500rpm and even the midrange is not the meatiest. The potent 9-speed gearbox works overtime, juggling between ratios to keep you in the meat of the narrow power band. Even quick overtakes have to be planned on narrow two lane roads and we feel the 1.8tonne plus kerb weight and small 2.0-litre capacity is to blame here. On a positive note this motor is extremely refined and when driven at low speeds in a sedate manner it feels right on the money.
The GLC is suspended by independent multi-link suspension all-round and it sits on steel springs. Mercedes has tuned the suspension on the softer side so low-speed ride is really good with the GLC being absorbent over biggest of potholes. The odd sharp edged bump does catch it out though as the suspension runs out of travel. At higher speeds there is a fair bit of up and down motion especially at the rear but it never gets to the point of being unbearable. Thanks to the fluid action of the quick steering the GLC glides through the bends and apart from body roll in tighter bends it displays safe and predictable manners. It feels best when you encounter fast sweeping bends where the accurate steering and exceptional grip from the 235 section Pirelli rubber gives you loads of confidence. Sure it’s not as fun as the BMW X3 but on its own the GLC is not too bad. The GLC also comes with three rough road modes (Slippery, Incline and Off-Road). We didn’t get the time to really try these on our brief drive but going by our experience the GLC will be best suited for the occasional mild off-roading considering its clearance and road-oriented design and tyres.
Should I buy one?
We expect the GLC to cost around Rs 50-55 lakh which should put it at par with the competition. For this money you get an SUV which has exceptional interiors, good space, decently powerful engine options, a comfortable ride and a very attractive exterior. Sure it could have done with more powerful motors and the handling could have been more engaging but as a package the GLC really works and it surely feels modern and more premium than its contemporaries.
Mercedes-Benz GLC Colours
GLC is available/sold in the following colours in India.
Diamond White Bright
Hyacinth Red Metallic
Designo Hyacinth Red
Mercedes-Benz GLC 360° view
Mercedes-Benz GLC Expert Reviews
GLC Specifications Summary
Mercedes-Benz GLC in News
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