Mercedes-Benz GLC: Test Drive Review

Mercedes-Benz changed the luxury-SUV market in 1998 with the M-Class. Never before had the automotive world seen a vehicle with such ruggedness, civility, and performance wrapped in Mercedes-Benz packaging.  And here they are with their latest venture in the up kempt SUV market. The all new GLC.

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Curvaceous styling, active and passive safety, refinement and 4×4 capabilities are the reasons why Mercedes is hoping you’ll opt for the GLC. Built on adapted C-Class underpinnings, the GLC is the only full-size SUV in the Mercedes’ model line-up produced currently this year. This model is going to be available in the Indian market with petrol and diesel engines.

Mercedes says the latter is a unique selling point in the class. It’s not, but the car isn’t without other lures to tempt new customers in from the cold.

Exterior:
Mercedes have based this model on the C-class and the only main difference in the two chassis is that this one is stretched by 33mm. This results in a taller cabin with a broader front. The engineers at Mercedes are calling this ‘Sensual Purity’ which stands for their design philosophy of combining bold with basic details.

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At first look, there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s all in the family. Mercedes moves to a somewhat more rounded profile and softer details—yet a front-end design that’s far more striking. The one thing which you will notice and yes, some might miss is the whole chiseled look of the car. That is essentially gone.

The wide grille up front with its large size protrusion stands out at first and you are sure to notice this. This is followed by some very craftsmanship level of body shop work which inculcates those wheel arch bulges giving the entire flank a wide body look.

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The rear end gets a swooped up D pillar which gives this a coupe sort of look and this is well infused with the chrome tip exhausts which are house in the rear fender. The overall feel of the car is pretty much elongated.

Interiors:
The cabin of this car is very similar to the C-class and yes it does have an exuberant build quality with the plush feel of a Mercedes car. The console is wooden and the vents are laid out here with a chrome finishing. The buttons have a fine metal finish and the entire dash board has a double stitch pattern all along. This gives the car a rather classy look.

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The 7 inch infotainment screen get dominated by the presence of the over whelming dash-board. The dials are pretty plain and simple and the plastic around the Comand system does not feel up to the mark

The seats are well sized and can seat anyone who fits the average Indian ergonomics. It’s pretty easy to come to a correct driving position due to the adjustable memory seats and the steering wheel. The car feels roomy and comfortable.

The rear area is however where you realize as to how much comfort and luxury this car can provide and give a run to money to its rivals. The seat base is a tad bit short which effects the under thigh support. The air console is positioned without being a dominating rear member which gives an ample amount of legroom.

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There is a large size boot (550 liters) which is further expandable by an option to power down the seat backs. The only drawback of this boot is that it hosts the spare wheel within it. This will make the storage of luggage rather challenging in this space.

This car has not shed its weight anywhere. It’s done cosmetically and tactfully. The 220D gets a side step along-with 19” alloys. Keyless startup incorporated with an LED intelligent lighting system. Garmin is also providing this model with a Map Pilot Sat-Nav system which works with a touchpad. Electric front seats are standard and the car has a 360 degree all view cameras.
All versions on sale also come with nine airbags, low-speed autonomous braking and blind-spot monitoring, as well as rear-biased 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive and a 9G-Tronic nine-speed auto.

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The GLC 250 petrol and diesel models get additional stuff such as 20-inch wheels and the keyless go.  The seats are laced with real leather and you also get a tinted privacy glass. Also included is the Driver Assistance Package Plus pack that offers extras such as steering (lane) assist and adaptive cruise control.

Engine, performance & handling:

The Mercedes Benz GLC  gets a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-petrol producing  245hp and 370Nm of torque, which seems more than adequate for a car weighing close to 1.9 tons. The engine is highly responsive and it feels like a V6. The older models had a 7G tronic gearbox. However, the GLC gets the new 9 speed automatic gearbox with a torque converter. This helps in a much better performance and an improvised fuel economy.

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The gearbox is really well designed. In the Comfort mode, it works without any kind of a jerk and is liquid when it comes to shifting gears. 9 speeds enable it to shift much quicker since the gaps between the gears are reduced in terms of ratio which helps in a seamless shifting pattern.

Switch it into the sport plus mode and the whole game changes. The gearbox shifts with a distinctive thud at every shift each time you go hard on the throttle.

In all there are 5 modes given in this car. Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. These modes synchonizingly work in altering various parameters for the car like the steering, throttle response and transmission ratios. The only thing which cannot be altered is the suspension setup.

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The GLC also comes in a diesel variant and they are calling it the GLC220D which produces a 170bhp and 400Nm of torque. This large amount of torque is essential in moving this 1.9 ton car especially when you have such a modest power output. The diesel motor has a much better middle end as compared to the petrol. I personally enjoyed driving this car on the highways because it is really suited up for it.

It is not your typical high revving engine and she gets really noisy should you decide to push her too hard over 3000 RPM. The turbo kicks in decently but it lacks a punch.

In terms of driving I would say that Mercedes have done a brilliant job. The suspension setup is so fine tuned that half the adversaries on the road are totally soaked up. The plush interiors and audio damping make the cabin real quiet and I am talking about speeds close to a 100Kmph. The vehicle has good dynamics but just under steers a little should you go and push it ahead a little excessive than required.

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The GLC also offers a long list of standard safety and assistance features including parking assist, attention assist, adaptive brake lights, seven airbags and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Other infotainment features include a 20 CD stereo, Garmin-based navigation, two USB ports and SD card inputs.

The one thing that the GLC wins in is that it’s an all-rounder package in the SUV segment it lies in. It has the ability to attract almost all kind of SUV lovers since there is no reason to not own one. From having the latest organic ultra-modern design to the stylish contemporary interiors this one fits the bit.

It may have a few issues with some of the quality assured by the usual Mercedes cars but hey, someone always falters somewhere. It does have some pretty dynamic rivals so the competition is stiff.

But if a luxurious, super quiet and a total satisfactory experience is your take, then this is the car for you.

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Mercedes are pricing the GLC 220D for around 50.7 for the diesel and 50.9 for the petrol variants (ex-showroom pune). I personally think that the diesel is the more practical choice out for India. If you always believed in the star and a luxury fiesta of an SUV is your thing, then the GLC is a car which must not be missed.

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Parichay Malvankar

Parichay Malvankar

Founder, owner and editor-in-chief of www.shifting-gears.com; a born gearhead, nothing apart from a set of wheels gets his pulse racing.