This is the new Mercedes-Benz GLCGoodbye GLK, welcome GLC: Merc reveals mid-sized rival to the BMW X3 and Audi Q5
This is the GLC: not, early-Noughties-obscure-reference fans, a controversial Welsh hip-hop outfit, but rather Mercedes-Benz’s latest offering in the premium SUV sector.
It’s the brother to the sporty GLC Coupe concept we saw in Shanghai a couple of months ago, and replaces the old GLK SUV (a car we never got in Britain). Still struggling to place it? Well, the GLC is a rival to the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, and thus a rather profitable segment of the meaty SUV pie.
As such, it boasts some grown-up underpinnings, namely those of the new C-Class saloon. At 4.6m in length, 1.8m in width and 1.6m high (a fraction taller if you spec the ‘off-road’ pack), it’s basically a C-Class saloon on stilts, and pretty much bang-on for size compared to its German rivals.
And it follows the neat, sporty lines first shown on the GLC Coupe, too, Mercedes informing us that it “favours sensual purity and a modern aesthetic over the classic off-road look”. Nicely understated, or a bit… forgettable? You decide.
You get four powertrains on launch - 168bhp and 201bhp versions of Merc’s four-pot 2.2-litre diesel (GLC 220d and GLC 250d), and a 208bhp 2.0-litre petrol in the GLC 250, good for a 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds.
Then there’s the petrol-electric GLC 350e, which combines that same 2.0-litre petrol engine to an electric motor, for a combined 323bhp output and 413lb ft of torque. This one will officially emit just 60g/km of CO2, yet sprint to 62mph in 5.9 seconds. Not bad.
The GLC is 80kg lighter than the old GLK - thanks to an entirely new body and use of aluminium - and all versions come with permanent ‘4MATIC’ four-wheel-drive (with a basic torque split of 45:55 front/rear), and a nine-speed gearbox on everything bar the hybrid. That car gets just seven gears. Pah.
Merc offers steel springs and active dampers as standard, or you could plump for full air suspension. If you’re feeling especially lavish, you could also spec the ‘off-road’ pack, which adds five more programmes to the dynamic setup, including a ‘slippery’ setting, one for ‘incline’, one for ‘rocking assist’ and ‘trailer’.
There is also an inside to the car, and it has been lavished with much attention, including nappa leather, open-pore wood trim, an optional panoramic glass roof, and much digital integration. You get like, seats and stuff too, but also more space in between them: elbow, shoulder and leg room is all up over the GLK.
UK prices have yet to be announced, but it’ll go on sale in Europe with a base price of €44,506 - which is just under 32,000 of our finest English pounds.
Still unsure as to where this fits into Merc’s SUV strategy? Well, in little-to-large scale, you’re looking at the GLA, this GLC, a potential GLC Coupe, then the GLE, GLE Coupe, and upcoming GLS. Oh, and the venerable G-Wagen, of course. All clear?