The new Mercedes-Benz GLC is a significant car for the German manufacturer. The latest addition to the line up replaces the very popular GLK that sold well across Europe and the USA. GTspirit were privileged to get to see and drive the car before the rest of the worlds media and press when we took part in the #MBPolarSun tour just a few days ago.
The GLC seems squarely to be aimed at cross over utility vehicles such as the Audi Q3, Range Rover Evoque and BMW X1/X3, stiff competition indeed. We had the chance to have a quick look around the car at a Mercedes-Benz event in Warsaw but had to wait till the next afternoon in Latvia to get behind the wheel of the car.
The car takes a lot of styling queues from the new design elements of the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz cars. There are strong aggressive lines at the front end of the car that then gently melt away into more supple and gentle ones along the profile and rear. Our silver prototype was fitted with a set of 20 inch wheels that add to the coupe look making the new GLC look very sporty whilst being a lot less angular and cumbersome than the GLK it replaces.
Open the drivers door and again, it’s all very familiar place, the C Class instantly springs to mind. The infotainment and other systems are intuitive and the screen is clear and concise. Cabin space was very generous, however, legroom was a little cramped for taller adults in the rear.
The car we had at our disposal was equipped with a 2-litre inline 4 cylinder petrol engine badged the GLC250. This meant we had 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque under us. The driving experience was dominated by the five different driving modes that could be selected by scrolling the small drive selector in the centre console, also featured on the latest iteration of the C63 AMG.
We did not have much time at the wheel but the roads on route to test the car varied greatly meaning we could gain in fair insight into the GLC and its driving characteristics. Broken bumpy B roads were a great test for the comfort setting. There was a tad more body roll than we would have expected but the dampers and suspension dealt well with the cracks and undulations in the tarmac. As tractors were chattering down the deserted country roads ahead of us, it was time to shift into sport and sport plus modes for a few overtakes. The throttle immediately sharpened up and the gearbox became a lot more aggressive. Even on such large wheels the ride was surprisingly composed and it was not too busy in the cabin.
We shifted back into comfort as we entered a small town, an environment in which we suspect the majority of GLCs will spend the majority of their time. Here is where the GLC set itself apart from other cars in the segment. At higher speeds the car is prone to letting in wind and road noise. We suspect this was because the car is still a pre-production model, but at lower speeds it was calm, soft and comfortable. Visibility was good and the controls were light.
Our first impressions of the GLC are very promising, the car looks, handles and even sounds very good. We will have to wait to drive the car in depth and experience the diesel engines that we suspect will outsell the petrol engines. We will be back with a more detailed report soon.