GLC is Mercedes’ first UK-bound BMW X3 and Audi Q5 rival

GLK replacement enters unchartered waters

Mercedes has revealed a new C-Class based SUV in Metzingen, Germany. Called the GLC, the compact four-wheel drive will arrive in the UK this Autumn to plug a gap in Mercedes’ line-up previously left unattended.

The new BMW X3, Audi A5 and Volvo XC60 rival replaces the GLK, a model that never sold in the UK due to issues converting it to right-hand drive.

Under the bonnet at launch is a choice of two engines from the C-Class range. The first is the 220 d, a 168bhp and 295lb ft, 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel. The second is a more powerful variant of that same engine, the 250 d, with outputs of 201bhp and 369lb ft of torque. Both send drive to all four wheels through a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox.

Later in the year, an 350 e hybrid will debut, which adds an electric motor to the 2-litre four-cylinder petrol 250 unit available in Europe, bringing total output up to 320bhp and 413lb ft. This drivetrain is also the most efficient, emitting a claimed 60g/km of CO2. The hybrid sends its drive through a seven-speed gearbox.

The 350 e is also the quickest model confirmed on the specs list, capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in 5.9sec and on to a 146mph top speed. MPG figures are yet to be confirmed for this drivetrain, meaning the highest currently quoted number is that of both diesel units – 56mpg combined.

As standard, the GLC sits on suspension familiar from the C-Class range. It’s made up of a four-link front and five-link rear setup, and comes equipped with Dynamic Select, which allows drivers to adjust suspension characteristics through five modes - Off-road, Incline, Rocking Assist, Slippery and Trailer.

Optional fitment of air suspension furthers the GLC’s capabilities, with continuously variable damping adjustable through four different settings - Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual – to enable the GLC to adapt to a wider window of demands. Mercedes says this is a proper off-roader but that it’s also sporty on the road.

Constructed from a large percentage of high-strength steel and aluminium, the GLC is longer, wider and taller than its predecessor, making it near identical in size to its arch rival, the BMW X3. It weighs as little as 1735kg (opting for the hybrid adds 290kg to that figure), and provides passengers with more interior space and legroom. Mercedes claims that this is the most luxurious SUV in its class.

The carmaker also says the new SUV has been designed to look sportier than its rivals, flaunting a coupe-like glasshouse and sitting on 17-20-inch wheels. The story’s much the same inside too, with the dash and everything around it familiar from the C-Class range. Unsurprisingly, tech is also carried over, with a standard fit 7-inch display (an 8.4-inch unit is optional) accompanying other features like satnav and heated seats.

The Mercedes GLC will arrive in the UK this October, with first deliveries expected at the start of 2016. Prices for the 220 d will start at £34,950, while the 250 d will start from £36,105.

Nothing’s confirmed, but the arrival of Mercedes’ GLC AMG Coupe concept earlier in 2015 suggests we’ll soon see a Coupe model and a high-performance AMG model added to the line-up. More details of that can be found in our GLC feature.

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