Mercedes-Benz GLC Road Test Review

Currently ranked No. 1 seller in the premium car segment, Mercedes-Benz in India has been at its best, being on a roll continuously for two years now. Mercedes perhaps has studied the Indian car market correctly so far and has the largest portfolio of car models in the premium segment. In fact after Maruti Suzuki, the biggest carmaker, it is Mercedes-Benz India with the widest range of car models available on sale for the Indian market. Recently Mercedes has renamed its range of SUVs. Now the entire range has GL in the names, followed by the equivalent sedan car model. The smallest being the GLA, where A is equivalent to the A-Class. You then have the GLE that’s built equivalent to the E-Class (GLE replaced the ML), and the recently launched flagship SUV – the GLS, that’s the SUV equivalent of the S-Class.

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Food For Thought:

GL in Mercedes nomenclature stands for ‘Gelandewagen’, which in German means off-road vehicle. The Mercedes GLC Class replaces the GLK Class that was phased out in 2015. Though the GLK did not make it to India, Mercedes is getting us their GLK replacement and latest SUV, the GLC. This was first unveiled globally in 2015 at the Hugo Boss facility at Metzingen Germany. In India, the GLC was first seen at the 2016 Auto Expo at Delhi.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC will be straight competition with the likes of BMW X3 and the Audi Q5 when launched on June 2nd.

Exteriors:

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The Mercedes-Benz GLC stands at 4,656mm in length and has an overall width of 1,890mm. Standing 1,639mm tall and covering 2,873mm of wheelbase. The Mercedes GLC stands longer and wider than its German rivals, the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5. The Mercedes GLC as mentioned is the SUV equivalent of the C-Class and has a hint of it. At first look, the GLC appears muscular, bold and sporty from the outside.

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The front of this all-new SUV comes with a double slat matte iridium silver grille. This thick-slatted grille is bold in size and design and houses the large three-pointed Mercedes Benz star logo in the center.The headlights get a round-edged angular shape and are flushed in line with the body. These are the latest from Mercedes-Benz. LED Intelligent Light System automatically adjusts the headlights to weather, lighting and driving conditions, for the best possible intensity and reach. They also come with variable low beam for city roads and highways when needed. Needless to say, these intelligent headlights also have automatically activated cornering lights function. Day time running lights are in the form of neatly integrated, thick, white eyebrow-styled ones.

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The front bumper gets what Mercedes calls as the off-road spec styling on them. Along with the regular air dam in the middle, this bumper also gets two air dams placed on the either sides, with black matte finish mesh design on them. Just below the center grille is the under guard (skid plates). The one on the GLC has a large, bold design to it, comes with shiny chrome finish on it, making it appear extremely attractive and catchy, while adding to the off-road character of the SUV. This under guard not only looks good on the front, but also provides protection to the entire under floor and prevents dirt, water, rocks etc. from hitting or entering the engine compartment. The bonnet is large in size and comes with soft, sculpted body lines that flow backwards. The Mercedes-Benz logo sits flat on the bonnet, adding to the brand appeal.

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The side profile is also a lot muscular like the front is, with a sharp waistline and one that runs lower and across, giving it a lot of character. The sides come with wheel arch cladding in matte black unpainted finish along with an aluminum-look running board with rubber studs placed on them. This not only makes them look strong and sturdy, but also offers a lot of grip while entry and egress.

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The Mercedes GLC comes with standard 18-inch five-spoke sporty alloys with 235/60 R18 spec Hankook S1 evo2 SUV wide tubeless tyres. These are not to be confused with Hankook Korean tyres, as these are ‘Made in Hungary’ ones. The SUV dynamics on the side profile further get highlighted with the chrome garnish line around the glass frame and polished real aluminum roof rails on the top, making the SUV look a tad bit taller too. The rounded wing mirrors come in body-colored housing and have the neatly integrated LED turn lights on them.

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The rear profile of the GLC comes equally well-styled to match the front and the sides. The boot lid gets an integrated spoiler on it and comes with good amount of body line detailing around the license plate. The tail lights get rounded and in-body design. These tail lights come with an LED glow and get adaptive braking feature on them. There is a two piece tail light where part of it is on the body, while the other half is placed on the tail lid. The boot lid opens nice and wide and comes with full electric and intelligent open/close feature on it.

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The rear bumper gets a pair of reflector strips placed on either side. The lower section of the bumper is in unpainted black finish to enhance the look and practicality of the off-road character of this vehicle. The GLC comes with a pair of chrome exhaust pipes that have an extended design on them and are neatly integrated in the bumper. The surrounding of these exhausts is very nicely done in chrome rear under guard, like the front. This addition of chrome elements on the bumpers adds a lot of glitz and glamour to the exteriors of the GLC. The GLC also comes with standard electrically opening panoramic sun/moon roof.

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The build quality is excellent on the GLC, typical Mercedes craftsmanship and exemplary paint quality. The Mercedes GLC is an excellent, bold, muscular-looking car, properly styled like an SUV from the outside, while being a complete eye catcher.

Interiors:

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The Mercedes GLC that we drove came with two different interior color options to choose from. The all black dark one and the light beige cabin. The neatly sculpted curvy dashboard comes in dual-tone finish with the top part being finished in hand-stitched Artico leather and the lower section being either beige or black. There are neatly inserted real-feel brushed metal inserts on the dash, around the AC vents, center console and other areas here. The black interior GLC comes with darker shade wood inserts, while the beige cabin comes with a lighter shade wood insert. Both the wood and the brushed metal inserts look and feel as good as real wood and add a lot of class to the cabin feel.

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The instrument cluster is basically a twin pod design with neat metal surrounds. The speedo and RPM meter dials get backlit digits with blood red needles running on them. There is a color LCD display placed between the two dials which works as a multi function display, reading out all the info as and when needed in different modes.

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The steering is a three-spoke design with soft leather wrapping on it. The steering comes with a nice amount of brushed metal insert on the center blade and also with all the multi-function control buttons placed on it. This steering is fully electrically adjustable for height and reach. It also has paddle shifters on it. Just behind the steering on the right hand side, is the engine start stop button in an all brushed-metal finish.

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The center dash gets a color 7-inch display screen that reads out the multimedia, drive mode, different settings for air con, reverse camera display etc. The round air con vents, three in the center and two on either corners, look and feel extremely classy. There is a very neat click feel when you open or shut the vents using the individual knobs on the center of them. You get a three zone climate control air con unit, plus the patented Mercedes Audio 20 CD multimedia and navigation system on the GLC. This is the latest version of the acclaimed multimedia system which comes with CD, FM radio, Bluetooth, telephony, Garmin Map Pilot GPS navigation, Mercedes-Benz apps with internet connectivity, which can be commanded by using the touch pad or the command dial on the center console.

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The glove box comes with a lock, which is very handy in our country. The center dash gets the command dial and the touch pad that looks like a high end mouse, along with the dynamic drive control button and other drive specific control buttons spread across. As with all Mercedes-Benz cars, there is no drive shifter on the center console, the patented drive stalk is placed on the right side behind the steering wheel. All the buttons in the cabin including the ones on the dash, aircon, door pads etc.,are made of premium metal. They not only look and feel good, but using them is sheer pleasure.

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The front seats come with a 14-way full electric adjust and also with 3-way programmable functions as standard. You also get electrically adjustable headrests on the front seats. The rear seats get a foldable center arm rest with cup holders and 40-20-40 split seats with three adjustable headrests. The door pads get artico leather on the top part while the lower part is in black or beige color. Door pads get a 3 bottle holding space on the front, while the rear pads hold one bottle. The front seats have map pockets cum storage flaps placed on the back with lots of cubbyholes in the center dash and also a closable center arm rest storage area that’s very handy at all times.

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The cabin on the GLC also gets ambient lighting for the cabin with three color to set from and five steps of dimming to go with your exact mood. Needless to say, the seating in the GLC in the front and back is very comfortable, with lots of leg room and tons of shoulder and head room available. The Artico leather seats are well-cushioned, offering excellent support, both on the front and the rear. Seat belts get pre-tensioners and height adjust is also available for them.

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The GLC has a boot capacity of 550 liters with the rear seats folded up, which can be further enhanced to 1,600 liters when needed by folding down the rear seats. The loading unloading opening to the boot area is wide and at a very comfortable height to get your stuff inside the GLC. The excellently appointed cabin area uses materials of top-class quality. Especially the wood, metal and leather combination makes for an extremely sporty and classy look.

Engines – Transmission – Drive:

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The Mercedes-Benz GLC comes powered with two engine options. You have the GLC 220d 4Matic powered by a 2143cc 4-cylinder Diesel engine that makes 170 BHP between the 3,000-4,200 RPM and kicks out 400 Nm of torque between 1,400-2,800 RPM. This engine is mated to the all new 9G-Tronic Automatic Transmission. The Petrol version of the GLC is the GLC300 4Matic that is powered by a 1991cc 4-cylinder petrol engine that makes 245 BHP at 5,500 RPM and belts out 370 Nm of torque between 1,300-4,000 RPM. The petrol variant is also mated to the 9G-Tronic Automatic Transmission.

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We drove both the diesel and the petrol versions of the GLC. Let’s start with the diesel one first. The engine sounds smooth for a 2.2-litre unit, the cabin is well insulated and there is no harshness or vibrations felt inside. Shift to the drive mode using the patented-drive shifter stalk and the GLC 220d surges ahead in style. The power delivery is quick and the 400 Nm of torque that the engine possesses is felt very well. The 9G-Tronic torque converter automatic gearbox is a gem of a transmission. The shifts are unnoticed and very quick. You can control the gear shifting if you want to use the paddle shifters. Then there are also the dynamic drive modes to play with.

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You can choose between Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Individual modes as per your mood and drive needs. We mostly drove in Comfort to start with and then in the Sport+ mode where you can feel the real power that the GLC and the 9G-Tronic makes. The different drive modes change the steering feedback, transmission shifts and throttle response parameters of the GLC. The GLC 220 Diesel may hit out 170 BHP as engine output on paper but in actual conditions this is a lot of power combined with the super quick and efficient 9G-Tronic transmission.

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The overall drive feel is very confident and inspiring; the vehicle feeling planted at high speeds. The steering response is sharp and comes with just the right feedback to keep you in control at all times. The suspension setup is set to the harder side for enhancing the off-road feel and ability of this SUV. The GLC takes sharp corners with utmost ease, as we experienced on some amazing road stretches on the ghats leading to Mangalore from Coorg. With claimed acceleration figures of 8.3 seconds for 0-100 kmph, the GLC 220 diesel does seem spirited and quick.

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The Petrol GLC 300 4Matic feels lighter and a tab bit faster due to more power output and lighter overall body weight (GLC 220d 1,954kgs – GLC 300 Petrol 1,871kgs). The 9G-Tronic is tuned differently on both the engines. There is a very good balance of power and handling here. You can play along with the different drive modes on the dynamic drive settings. The Petrol GLC does a 0-100 kmph in 6.5 seconds that’s quicker than the diesel. Yes, the petrol GLC feels a lot smoother and much more refined too. The GLC 300 has a very sharp and linear power delivery. Overtaking is super quick and positive on both the versions.

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The GLC also comes with an off-road package and we took it off the road for a short time to see its real capability. The 4MATIC system as Mercedes calls its 4WD technology on the GLC comes with 3 off-road driving modes – Off-Road, Incline and Slippery. You also have the hill assist for downhill and uphill maneuvers, along with Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) feature. The GLC 300 and GLC 220 d both come with a host of safety features. You get 7 airbags, Attention Assist, adaptive braking, PRE-SAFE system, Active parking, active reverse camera with 360 degree view, ABS, ESP with EBD to name a few.

Verdict:

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Mercedes has arrived finally to rival the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5 with its brand new GLC. It had been missing out on a model in this segment for a long time now. The GLC comes loaded to the brim with tons of features and a long equipment list. It has just the right amount of balance with good ride and sportiness in it. The GLC is a smart looking SUV from out, and on the inside too feels premium and sporty, with a build quality meant for a lifetime. We expect the Mercedes-Benz GLC to be priced between the price range of Rs. 48 lakhs to Rs. 55 lakhs. With two engine options to choose from and the amazing 9G-Tronic auto transmission the GLC can very well become the best seller in its segment when launched on the 2nd June.

Mercedes-Benz GLC Specs Sheet:

Mercedes Benz GLC Specs Chart

Mercedes-Benz GLC Photo Gallery:

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Pic Credits: Ritesh Madhok

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