This is the new GLC-Class. A car Mercedes-Benz debuted in June 2015 in Germany. For those of you who didn’t know, Merc’s GLC-Class serves as a successor to the GLK-Class (X204) that sold internationally from 2008 onwards. When the next-gen GLK was ready to be released in 2015, codenamed the X205, Mercedes changed the name from GLK to GLC-Class as per the brand’s revised nomenclature. A short glance at Merc’s table of models confirms that the GLC-Class will slot in between the GLA-Class and GLE-Class and will finally compete with the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Land Rover Discovery Sport. We drove the GLC-Class in Coorg to give you an idea of what to expect from this much awaited three-pointed star.
This SUV is largely based on the current generation C-Class (W205), but is longer and wider. In fact, the GLC’s length of 4759mm and wheelbase of 2873mm is the best in its segment. Overall, the looks of this vehicle is more subtle and screams more of a crossover than a full blown SUV. The front end is dominated by a huge twin-slat grille that holds a large Mercedes logo. The creases on the hood, the familiar head lamps and the prominent silver scuff plate that’s flanked by two large air-dams are what makes the fascia contemporary.
Move on to the sides and you will notice the soft curved lines that render this an SUV that’s easy on the eye. Two creases run through the middle of the side profile between the wheel arches that help accentuate the sporty inclination of the design language used. The rear quarter glass rakes into the C-pillar to allow for extra glass room which will benefit the driver’s visibility while backing up. Most of the attention in the rear is grabbed by the smallish rear windscreen, the strong shoulder line that holds up the neatly designed tail lamps, and the generous chrome strip just above the well detailed tail pipes.
Once you get seated in the GLC, you can relate to its similarity with the cabin of the C-Class. You get the same dashboard, door pads, buttons, steering and a tablet style floating screen among others. Everything inside the cabin is built with quality materials and emanates a sense of sophistication this segment has come to offer. Visibility from the driver’s seat is fairly good and the seats have lots of contours especially on the backrest. They offer intimate support along with electrically adjustable thigh support, but could have had better lateral support for those spirited twisted road encounters. Long drives on these seats should be dismissed without a complaint. There’s plenty of storage space for your knick-knacks and belongings in the centre console and in the door pads too.
At the rear of the GLC’s cabin, there’s enough space and legroom for three occupants. However, the tall protruding transmission tunnel does tend to fiddle with the middle passenger’s legs. Also, occupants seated in the rear portion will enjoy the supportive seats that offer a nice rake angle for the backrest. That said, the seat base could have been designed with a little extra thigh support that helps on longer journeys. There’s no doubt that passengers in the GLC will feel roomy and it also has more to do with the spare headroom that has been liberated through the interior cabin design.
That said, don’t expect much boot space as the spare wheel sits right in the middle at the regular luggage height. This means that the only way one can pack the boot to the gills is to make use of the 60:40:60 folding rear seats in one of the available configurations. However, that’s only if you don’t have enough occupants on that trip. What makes things slightly easier though is the reasonably flat loading space once the seats flip over.
Standard on the ‘Edition One’ version of the GLC will be features like panoramic sunroof, parking assist with reversing camera, powered tail gate, 4MATIC (permanent four-wheel-drive), an instrument cluster with a 5.5-inch multi-function display. Also available is three-zone climate control, electric front seats, LED intelligent light system with cornering lights, ambient lighting, adaptive brake lights and seven airbags. You also get an audio player with a high-res seven-inch multimedia colour display, a touchpad with an integrated media interface. There’s also a Bluetooth interface which includes hands-free telephony and audio streaming.
Mercedes will launch the GLC in the Indian market in two versions, namely the GLC220d and the GLC300. Merc has equipped the GLC with ‘Dynamic Select’ that features five preset modes that change the maps, steering weight and gear shift responses. Called Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, these modes lend driving characteristics to suit one's need. The GLC220d will be available with the 2143cc, four-cylinder diesel motor that makes 170bhp between 3000rpm and 4200rpm. It also displaces 400Nm of torque at 1400rpm-2800rpm, and in the process uses a new nine-speed automatic gearbox to transfer power to the wheels. Paddle shifts help keep you in control of gearshifts as and when you please. Merc claims the 220d can do 100kmph from standstill in 8.3sec before it goes on to hit a top speed of 210kmph. Mercedes has stuck to the 220d for now to keep costs low, and did admit that the more powerful 250d could be looked at a later time once the market response is gauged. On the road the 220d feels more than adequate to fulfil most of the needs for driving within city limits and on the highway. While power is linear, the surge is felt most at 3500rpm and it pulls cleanly all the way till the 4600rpm redline. Merc’s new nine-speed ‘box needs a special mention. It makes better use of the motor's power unlike the C220d, and that’s mainly due to the extra gears that are available through the same power range.
And that brings us to the GLC300 which will be offered with a 1,991cc gasoline engine that produces 245bhp at 5,500rpm, and 370Nm of torque starting at 1,400rpm. Top speed is a claimed 222kmph and the 0-100kmph barrier is broken in a much swifter 6.5sec. After you drive the 220d, the petrol 300 felt more like it was on steroids. It is quite rev happy but responds to throttle inputs only after 2200rpm. To extract the best out of this motor, you need to keep downshifting. At the limits of each gear it leaves you with an audible engine that sounds far from refined. True performance on the road requires you to keep revving the engine through its power band all the way to 6100rpm, and that includes even regular overtaking. The nine-speed gearbox is constantly put to its duty to keep you in the cream of the power band. We felt that the 300 could do with more real-life performance from the 245bhp that it currently coughs out.
We got to taste the winding roads from Coorg to Mangalore on both GLCs and agreed that the ride quality was plush enough for most terrains. The only time it felt slightly uncomfortable was when we passed through unlevelled and broken stretches of concrete. But most of the time the GLC made its occupants feel comfy. Push the 220d around corners and you will notice its tendency to roll a bit, which is actually okay considering the size of the vehicle. It’s fairly less on the 300 though, thanks to the lighter body mass. We also found out that the feedback from the steering at the limit tends to feel vague. But that in no way affects the outcome of the driving intention as the car will turn in the direction it is steered. The 300’s steering also felt lighter than the one in the 220d. That said, the brakes on both cars did the job well but could have sent positive feedback in the process.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||170 @ 3000-4200||245 @ 5500|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||400 @ 1400-2800||370 @ 1400-2800|
|Gears||Nine-speed automatic||Nine-speed automatic|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||66||66|
|7 SRS airbags||Yes|
|Adaptive brake lights||Yes|
|Instrument clustre with 5.5inch multi function display||Yes|
|Three-zone climate control||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||170 @ 3000-4200||245 @ 5500||190 @ 4000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||400 @ 1400-2800||370 @ 1400-2800||400 @ 1750|
|Gears||Nine-speed automatic||Nine-speed automatic||Eight-speed automatic|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||66||66||67|
With the advent of the GLC in Mercedes’ squadron in India, the brand can actively corner those with the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and the Discovery Sport. It goes without saying that pricing will be crucial in the beginning as the rivals have established themselves in our market. Merc will however have the edge of being the latest entrant and the freshest face on the playground. The brand will need to convert the initial interest generated by the product into prospective sales. With the three-pointed star fan-base out there, we don’t think it should be a concern.
Photo Courtesy By : Kapil Angane