Mercedes-Benz GLC - A SUV for keen drivers?
Comfortable on-road and surprisingly capable off it, but a remote driving experience
The GLC is another piece in the growing Mercedes SUV puzzle. If you’ve not been keeping track, this latest model joins the A-class-based GLA, the GLE (formerly the ML) and GLE Coupe, the GLS (formerly the GL), and of course the G-Wagen, simply known as G under the company’s latest nomenclature.
The GLC, as you might imagine, features GL crossover and SUV attributes on a platform of roughly C-class size. Visually, it’s like a smaller GLE (previously ML, remember?) with C-class level engines and interior features. To further enlighten (or confuse) you, the GLC replaces the old GLK, which was never sold in the UK.
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Mercedes-Benz GLC: in detail
Performance and 0-62mph time > Performance is about average for the class. The 250d model is arguably a better compromise than the V6. The AMG GLC43 is rapid.
Engine and gearbox > Four-pot diesels will make up the majority of sales and are efficient, but a little unrefined. Both petrol and diesel V6 models are more refined and very strong against six-cylinder rivals.
Ride and Handling > Less dynamically sorted than an Audi Q5, let alone the Jag F-Pace and Porsche Macan, the GLC majors on refinement and comfort.
MPG and running costs > MPG is admirable in this company, if not as impressive as the upcoming BMW X3 or new Audi Q5. The upcoming GLC 63 AMG will likely need a decent-sized lottery win to keep it fuelled in the UK.
Interior and tech > Heavily based off the C-class, it shares the same good and bad points. Space is impressive, as is overall build quality.
Design > Mercedes-Benz’ latest design language has transferred well onto the GLC, looking the most aesthetically sorted of its SUV siblings.
Prices, specs and rivals:
All Mercedes GLC models are all-wheel drive and priced from a whisker under £39k for a GLC 220 d 4MATIC in Sport trim. Retaining the specification but upgrading to the more powerful diesel four, the 250 d, adds around £1000 to the final price. The 350 d hovers around the £44k mark, boosting power courtesy of a smoother six-cylinder engine.
The petrol side of the range has a similar financial entry point. The GLC 250, also in Sport trim, is the only non-AMG petrol derivative offered. Three Mercedes-AMGs: the GLC 43, GLC 63 and GLC 63 S deliver on the performance front with a price to match. The junior performance model is knocking on the door of £50k while the 63 elevates the price toward £70000 and the full-fat 63 S model is further £5k dearer.
The start price can soon become a distant memory as you load on countless options, opting for more expensive trim, softer leather and various equipment packages. The Premium Plus Package weighs in at about £3k and includes the Burmester stereo, panoramic roof and electronically adjustable seats. In the (very) unlikely event the GLC will take to tougher terrain, an off-road package is available for around £500.
Audi’s Q5 is hot off the press and promotes the brand’s typical hallmarks. The interior may lack the style of the GLC but it majors in build quality and ergonomics, making it the class leader in terms of overall interior make-up. The new BMW X3 is soon to arrive and we expect it’ll provide some competition at the very least, if not provide a better driving experience than the GLC and Q5.
Jaguar’s F-Pace is also a shrewd rival, sized slightly larger than the GLC, it is arguably the most dynamic of its immediate rivals, bar the Porsche Macan. Both the Jag and Porsche have set a new benchmark for driving dynamics in the class, so it’s lucky that the GLC has a more laid back driving feel.
The Range Rover Evoque is also worth a look - it remains the most overtly design-led of the premium crossovers. It's not a B-road thriller (and as such, little different from its rivals), but the Range Rover badge has its own appeal and like the Mercedes, it has a reasonable degree of off-road ability.