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Merc’s midweight champ arrives

S Muralidhar | Updated on January 20, 2018

Evocative design: The GLC shows off Mercedes' current design language with the dominant themes at the front - the three-dimensional radiator grille and the signature headlamps with LED brows - Photo: S MURALIDHAR









Mercedes fills in the gap in its SUV portfolio by bringing in the GLC. The competition had better watch out now.

The Mercedes-Benz GLK was one of the most gawky sports utility vehicles in the German brand's portfolio. It was a compact sports ute at a time when burly was the way to go, especially in America, where it sold extremely well. In fact, it's name breaks down into 'GL' referring to off-road vehicle and the 'K' refers to 'Kompaktklasse' or compact (just 4.5 metres).

But, despite its size and it's seemingly hesitant footprint, the GLK was one of Mercedes' best selling SUVs. So, its successor - the GLC - has a fairly large pair of boots to fill. We didn't get the GLK in India because it was never made for right-hand drive markets (only left), but we get the GLC, which is bigger, more luxurious and much more modern compared to its predecessor.

The GLC, as we all know by now, gets its name from the new nomenclature that Mercedes has adopted, with the GL (original Gelandewagen) becoming the umbrella class for all Merc Off-roaders or Sports Utes and the next letter referring to the model hierarchy. So, the GLA is the smallest, and the GLS is the largest SUV in the portfolio - the same hierarchy that is followed for the sedans.


The GLC is built on the C-Class platform and the design too is evocative of this relationship. It shows off Mercedes' current design language with the dominant themes at the front being the three-dimensional radiator grille and the signature headlamps with LED brows. Intelligent high-performance LED headlamps are standard. The proportions and lines give it a strong upright crossover feel. The twin louvred grille and the headlamps remind you of the C-Class. But the GLC's SUV character gets a boost with the chrome underbody protector at the front and the rear. In fact, there is a fair bit of chrome in the body kit; will surely be liked by Indian buyers who are still in love with the trim.

The GLC's Classic modern SUV stance is best captured from the side and the rear profile views. 18-inch alloys and 235/60 profile tyres fill out the squared-off wheel arches well. Side profile is clean with the Merc design signature dropping line gently leading up to the broad shoulders at the rear. The contours at the rear taken on a horizontal orientation to give the rear a more squat, wide look. Split LED tail-lamps and dual exhausts in the chrome underbody protector are the highlights at the rear.


The new C-Class really set the benchmark in its class in terms of the interior trim perceived quality. The GLC joins in with a considerably premium interior. And since Mercedes-Benz India is launching the GLC as a CBU (completely built unit) and only in one trim variant called Edition 1 for both the Petrol and Diesel engines, the equipment levels are really good. The panoramic sun-roof, the discreet LED ambient lights, polished or matt wood trim for the centre console and door panels, and a number of details in silver chrome are some of the key features in the cabin. The seats are comfortable and supportive. There are a number of small trim elements that are meant to point towards the C-Class' cabin.

The GLC also gets the Audio 20CD infotainment system with a 7-inch colour display and touchpad MMI interface and Garmin Map Pilot Navigation system. There is enough room in the cabin, with the wheelbase being a bit longer than the C-Class on which it is based. The GLC also offers this massive 550-litre boot with a bit of space for expansion even without folding the rear seats. The GLC can seat five adults in comfort. Double stitched faux leather trim is very appealing to look at and touch, and we guess will age well in Indian conditions. The cabin is offered in two interior themes - black/grey or beige/brown.


The two engine variants offered are the GLC 300 4MATIC (petrol) and the GLC 220d 4MATIC (diesel). The petrol engine is a 1,991cc unit with a peak output of 245hp and peak torque of 370Nm. The diesel burner is a 2,143cc mill that generates 170hp of peak power and 400Nm of peak torque. Both the engines are refined and quiet. Merc diesels are usually a bit noisier than the competition's, but the overall noise levels in the 200d's cabin is extremely well contained. So, we could hold a normal conversation even as we revved up and attempted to take on every corner in the ghat sections around Coorg where we tested the car last week.

The two-litre petrol engine can surprise you with its diesel like pulling power. Both the fuel variants are mated to the 9-G TRONIC (9-speed) automatic transmission. And both of them are sub-two tonnes in weight and are quite agile on the road. There are five driving modes to choose from including Sport+ and Individual. The petrol variant does the 0-100kmph run in 6.5 seconds and has a top speed of 222kmph.

The suspension has been tuned to offer a well damped ride quality. So, together with a quiet cabin, you can't complain about much. But, you are reminded that you are sitting in a SUV if you try to tackle corners a bit too aggressively.

Bottom Line

The GLC also gets a range of safety features and the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive system. An off-road engineering package, with raised suspension and downhill speed regulation and three off-road driving modes are also part of the package. Mercedes-Benz India has announced a ₹50 lakh price tag for both the variants. The GLC is a key addition for Merc, since it just didn't have a SUV in this category before the GLC. Now, it can take on the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5 with gusto.

Published on June 02, 2016

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