New Mercedes Benz GLC Review – G in the Genes
Available in a choice of petrol and diesel engine option, the new Mercedes Benz GLC is a mid-sized SUV. After spending a couple of days with the car, here is what we have to say.
The German trinity is always at war. In Africa the war is much more intense and the buyers are more than just confused which way to go. There are bounteous options in the market but the three pointed star has retained its throne being the epitome of luxury may what come but what it has always been missing out on is a car that would fight against the babies of the rival families, the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3.
There was the GLK that was sold in the United States which perhaps was a left hand drive only model and never saw the African shores. It is the year of Donald Trump and Mercedes has finally heard the far-cry of the African luxury car prospects. We have the new GLC 300 in our garage and the roads beckon for a proper test!
Mercedes Benz is taking curves and creases quite seriously and the GLC is a true example of the new design language. The most prominent feature of them all is the rear which swank away the beautifully shaped tail lamps which are much reminiscent of the astonishing Mercedes S63 AMG coupe. They are sleek and beautifully crafted hosting a bunch of super bright LEDs to brighten up the face of the driver behind you to red.
The overall proportions of the GLC are prodigious, and when seen from a distance it gives an impression of car larger than its size giving that sense of authority. I like the way the twin exhaust tips are unified into a thick chrome plated diffuser making your exit off the hotel porch richer. The alloy wheel design is a take away from the C class reminding me the foundation of the GLC. But it is anything but a C class to be honest.
Moving to the front, it looks like the modern Mercedes Benz affair with twin pod LED headlamps that look like a predator’s eyeball accompanied by curved streak of LED day time running lamps. Oh well, there is also the huge grill with twin slats and a dish sized Three Pointed star in the middle of it like most Mercedes Benz cars with an add-on chrome splashed onto the bottom of the front bumper which looks cohesive with the rear design.
There is nice chunk of plastic claddings at the end of the painted surface to protect it front chipping away while you cross a river bed on a fine weekend getaway. Compliment that weekend getaway with a full glass roof being a window to the star trails missing in the city.
The instant you open the door – weight of the door and the well damped 3 step hinge will remind you that this is a true blue Mercedes Benz. I made my father, a Mercedes fan-boy, sit inside the car blindfolded. Off goes the blind and so did his reaction ‘Ah, the C class is back’, indeed the case with the GLC, it is a cut, copy and paste from the current W206 C class and it is not a bad thing at all.
The layout is very driver intrinsic, all the buttons and controls fall into the vicinity of the driver. The buttons on the central console have a knurled finish on them, straight from the S class that is. The triple pod air conditioning vents with volume controls in the centre are a supplement to the high quality facia. The seats are nice and supportive and I particularly liked the extended bolstering for the back and thighs, also there is a good amount of adjustability for the seats and steering which can suit both 5 to 6 feet tall drivers.
There is a touch panel on the COMAND system controller in the armrest console besides a knob type controller. There is a rocker for volume control of the sound system beside the touch panel so you or the passenger sitting beside you need not lean to raise the volume of your favourite Nelly Furtado number. The central armrest split opens into two making way for the incredibly spacious console box.
The rear seats however are my favorite. The seats are nice and low, with good amount of under thigh and back support. The leg room is generous and shoulder room is ample for 3 abreast. The only problem is the lack of soft cushioning, on longer journeys one may start feeling a tab uncomfortable. Also there are no separate controllers for the air conditioning at the rear.
The variant we have here is the GLC which has been locally assembled in the Mercedes Benz plant in Pune with the 1991cc turbocharged petrol engine producing an impressive 245 bhp and 370 Nm of torque. Number do suggest that this isn’t a slouch of a car and indeed it is quick, at 7.3 second to touch the 100 kmph mark from standstill in the most aggressive Sport+ mode the GLC is a bomb of an SUV to shoot out of traffic signals.
The power delivery is smooth and the torque curve is almost flat as the torque is available at a low 1400 rpm. The engine note on the other hand is pretty fruity, something that one expects from a nicely tuned Mercedes motor. The suspension is a standard C class affair with stronger components to dampen long travel when going off the road. The ride quality of the GLC otherwise is very sorted and feels pliant and it gets better as the pace increases. Very impressive!
And since this a four-wheel drive SUV build to take you a little beyond where the C class’s ability I decided to take it through a bit of torture. Steep inclines, equally steep drops, dust, mud, splash, ruts, slush are places you’ll take a G-wagen to, that machine is the king of off road. But any wise man would refrain from taking his luxury smitten SUV through such intense drama.
I drove through some of the most extreme conditions testing every bit GLC’s ability to tackle Africa’s unforgiving road conditions and it gives me immense pleasure to announce that while the GLC went through all of the off road attack we threw at it also did it with absolute ease without breaking a single component.
Points to Note
– The GLC300 petrol engine is at its optimum performance with 97 octane fuel.
– There is no start stop button but a conventional insert and twist key start
– Sound system isn’t the best that we’ve heard so far.
– Fuel efficiency is an astonishing 14.2 with our overall running. ( 80% city and 20% highway).
– 60 profile tyres dampen the ride quality phenomenally.
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