Mercedes GLC is the missing link
■ With sales of mid-size luxury SUVs roaring like a summer bush blaze, Mercedes had, for some time, been missing in action because of the lack of a right-hand drive model in Australia.
Now the Mercedes GLC has landed and it was hard to take the smiles off the faces of Aussie execs at the recent launch of the SUV.
The re-engineering was down to some persistent lobbying by righthand drive markets Australia, Britain and Japan, according to Horst von Sanden, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific chief executive and managing director of MercedesBenz Cars.
On offer are high-tech driver assistance systems, good fuel efficiency and a new four-speed automatic transmission. Dynamic Select transmission modes, 4Matic permanent all-wheel-drive and optional multi-chamber air suspension increase ride comfort and add to the vehicle’s agility on a range of surfaces.
An extension of the Mercedes CClass family, the GLC range consists of three models, two powered by the same 2.1-litre turbo-diesel engine, the third a 2.0-litre petrol motor.
The 220d puts out 125kW of power and 400Nm of torque. The phrase ‘entry-level’ belies its high standard of equipment: 19-inch wheels, keyless start, power tailgate, LED intelligent lighting, Garmin Map Pilot navigation with touchpad, powered front seats, and 360-degree camera. It comes to the market at $64,500, plus on-road costs.
The new GLC 250 2.0-litre petrol produces 155kW, and 350Nm of torque from 1200rpm.
It accelerates the GLC from zero to 100km/h in just 7.3 seconds. Cost is $67,900.
The GLC 250d is powered by the 2.1-litre turbo-diesel engine serving up 150kW and 500Nm.
These vehicles have 20-inch wheels, a Keyless-Go package, leather upholstery, privacy glass and Driver Assistance Package Plus, which features Distronic Plus cruise control with steering assist, pre-safe brake and pre-safe plus, bas plus with cross traffic assist, active blind spot assist and active lane keeping assist.
Nine airbags are fitted across the board. In character, the GLC is more sport than utility, with its dynamic looks.
The theme carries on into the ca- bin with quality materials put together with craftsman-like precision.
Controls will be familiar to Mercedes owners, while instrumentation is uncluttered and easily readable while driving.
The upper models feature a head-up display that we feel is one of the best and most informative around.
Outstanding aerodynamics and lightweight design help the new GLC models to post reductions of up to 19 per cent in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions compared to previous generation Mercedes-Benz GLK. Performance has perked up too.
Steel springs and a variable damping system is standard, while the Merc GLC offers the option of fitting a multi-chamber air suspension and electronically controlled, continuously adjustable damping.
This air body control suspension combines excellent driving stabil- ity and sporty agility with optimum comfort.
Air body control raises the driving level by up to 50mm and provides soft basic tuning.
As with other Mercs, Dynamic Select handling control system with five driving programs is standard. In addition to the Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual settings, the GLC can also be equipped with the Off-Road Engineering package.
On brief on-road drives in the three models on launch, the entrylevel 220d showed itself to be a bit lacking in low-down torque — the 250d took off well and was more responsive to the power pedal.
However, the pick of the bunch was the 250 petrol, which came up with the smoothest, quietest, most comfortable ride of all.
Off-road could see the trio shuffled, but how many buyers will go serious bush-bashing in such a spiffy SUV?
The Mercedes-Benz GLC fills a gap in the German company’s Australian SUV offerings.
Interior controls will be familiar to Mercedes drivers.
The SUV has some slippery aerodynamics.