Mercedes GLC is the miss­ing link

Pilbara News - - Motoring - Derek Og­den

■ 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?

Pic­tures: Mark Bram­ley

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.

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