Mercedes GLC

99 mercedes benz glc front quarter tracking
Cautiously evolved styling cloaks thoroughly upgraded hardware for new generation

Make no mistake: there’s more to the third-generation Mercedes GLC than meets the eye.The styling may look rather familiar, but it has been comprehensively re-engineered as Mercedes-Benz strives to emulate the success of the Mk2 GLC, which has racked up more than 2.6 million sales since its 2015 launch, making it the brand’s best-seller worldwide.Key among the developments is the adoption of a more advanced version of the Modular Rear Architecture. As well as being 15% stiffer, it affords the option of all-wheel steering and supports 48V electricals, providing the scope for a new range of engines and other functions, including more efficient energy recuperation.The design changes internally are more extensive than externally, with the arrival of a 12.3in instrument display and a portrait-oriented 11.9in infotainment touchscreen. The cabin feels more upmarket now but, oddly, given the overall 60mm increase in length, offers only incrementally more leg room. Thanks to a 33mm-longer rear overhang, the boot has grown by 70 litres to 620 litres, extending to 1680 litres with the split-folding rear seats away.The line-up at launch in the UK comprises three mild-hybrids and three plug-in hybrids, each with a nine-speed automatic gearbox and a 4Matic four-wheel drive system.The GLC 300’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine makes 255bhp and gets an added 23bhp from a 48V motor-generator, while the GLC 220d and GLC 300d use 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engines that develop 194bhp and 265bhp and get the same 48V boost. The GLC 300e and GLC 400e use the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine from the GLC 300 in 201bhp and 248bhp forms, while a 400V electric motor provides 134bhp, giving them total system outputs of 308bhp and 375bhp. The GLC 300de uses the same 2.0-litre diesel engine as the GLC 220d, with 194bhp, plus the same 134bhp gearbox-mounted electric motor as the other PHEVs, giving it total reserves of 329bhp.The petrol PHEVs have electric-only ranges of 65 to 75 miles and the diesel PHEV one of between 63 to 73 miles. Charging can be done at rates of up to 11kW on AC or at up to 60kW on DC, the latter claimed to provide a full charge in less than half an hour.This might sound old-fashioned, but it’s the GLC 220d that arguably represents the best buy. It provides strong step-off and punchy in-gear performance together with improved refinement and, most surprisingly of all, a rather alluring exhaust note. Typical diesel vibration is well isolated, even at higher engine loads, as is wind buffeting at motorway speeds; and together with relatively tall gearing and an eager gearbox, this makes the GLC 220d agreeably relaxing to drive for longer distances. With claimed fuel economy of between 47.9mpg and 54.3mpg, it’s also impressively frugal for a 1925kg SUV.The GLC has an added touch of directness to its lightly weighted electromechanical steering and greater resistance to body roll than before, giving you lots of confidence on more challenging roads. All-wheel steering (which can be had only along with air suspension) makes the GLC a more serious rival to the BMW X3 and Porsche Macan in pure dynamic terms than ever before. With up to 4.5deg of angle applied to the rear axle, the electrohydraulic system gives the car more sharpness and agility, while the 4Matic system ensures there’s also always plenty of front-end grip.The result is a neutral-handling character that’s not only enjoyable but also highly dependable. The ride on the steel, multi-link suspension is excellent, the GLC dealing with imperfections with the soft-edged compliance that we’ve come to expect. However, the air suspension with variable dampers affords it even more control and comfort, always delivering strong shock absorption.Among the refinement-boosting measures brought to the new GLC is the injection of foam into hollow sections of the body, and it’s this kind of attention to detail that makes it so impressive. This not only applies to its quality but its on-road behaviour, too. It exudes the well-engineered feel that every memorable Mercedes model through the years has done.The GLC costs from around £50,000. Pricey? Yes. But if you can afford it, it offers a broad range of qualities that few if any rivals can match, particularly in 220d guise.
Source: Autocar

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