The rough and ready GLC is a stylish medium-sized SUV that really plugs a gap in the company’s UK line-up. It replaces the GLK model that was only available in left hand drive and is packed with technology and very capable off road when called upon.
The goodStylish, dynamic, richly equipped and very practical
The badAgainst tough premium brands
Mercedes GLC 250 d 4MATIC AMG Line
The seemingly endless demand for SUVs is showing no sign of letting up and that’s exactly why Mercedes has entered the fray with a car that offers plenty of styling, super driving dynamics and all the practicality you could possibly wish for.
It’s called the GLC and looks truly dynamic, rugged and athletic when approached from any angle thanks to smart 19-inch alloys, LED high performance headlights with LED daytime running lights, AMG body styling to beef up the front and rear apron and side skirts, plenty of smart chrome trim and privacy glass,.
Step inside the premium cabin and the car oozes all the elegant styling associated with the Mercedes-Benz marque with a stunning blend of luxurious leather upholstery combined with black ash wood trim. Techno treats are plentiful and include the likes of heated front seats, a pitch perfect sound system which can be hooked up to all modern media devices, a DAB digital radio, a high resolution seven-inch multi-media display screen and a simple-to-use yet sophisticated sat nav system complete with live traffic information and 3D view.
The test model also featured a Premium Pack which added £1,695 to the price-tag and introduced ambient lighting, memory settings for the front seats, a panoramic glass roof with a fixed rear section and powered front section, an electrically adjustable steering column, keyless start-up and a clever feature that allows you to open and close the boot by kicking your foot beneath the rear bumper – this can be invaluable when laden down with shopping bags.
Admittedly the GLC may not be quite so dynamic in its handling as some rivals such as the Porsche Macan or BMW X3, but it does offer supreme levels of comfort and refinement, and that reflects in its driving performance too. Bumps and dips are smoothed out by the highly efficient suspension system and all outside noise intrusions are kept to a minimum thanks to the very effective insulation.
And don’t be fooled into thinking the car is lacking on the performance front because the GLC is powered by a punchy 2,143cc, 204bhp diesel engine and can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 7.6 seconds and redlines at 138mph. According to official figures, it can achieve combined fuel efficiency of 56.5mpg with carbon emissions of 129g/km.
The interior is exceptionally spacious with ample room for five adults to stretch out. And luggage restrictions need not apply either as the boot has a 550-litre capacity, which can be increased to 1,600 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there is a number of handy storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin, including a good-sized glovebox, practical door pockets, cup holders, a deep central bin and an overhead sunglasses holder.
The upright and high seated driving position results in excellent all-round visibility which is vital in a vehicle that will often feature on the dreaded school run with cars and children darting out from all angles. In addition, all controls, dials and readouts are perfectly positioned for driver convenience and ease of use.
In and around congested towns and villages, the GLC proved deceptively agile for its size and the great visibility, along with sensors and cameras help to make very light work of any parking issues. Then out on the faster roads and country lanes, the car moved swiftly and effortlessly through the nine-speed gearbox (steering wheel-mounted manual paddles can be used to add to the fun factor).
There are different driving modes that adjust the vehicle’s handling called Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. But whatever the mode, the road-holding is very assured and grounded, the steering is precise and there is virtually no body roll even when the GLC is pushed hard into tight bends.
Another factor worth noting is the 4MATIC permanent four-wheel drive system and raised ground clearance which means the GLC is well equipped to deal with any unexpected mood swings Mother Nature has in store.
Admittedly, all this luxury and premium technology does come at a cost. Yet at £39,595 (£41,935 with options), the GLC is competitively priced and when you factor in the comprehensive array of safety specifications, the appeal of this composed, elegant and truly premium car just keeps on growing.