Introduced seven years ago as the SUV equivalent of the C-Class, Mercedes-Benz has the taken the covers off of the second generation GLC it claims is “more dynamic and powerful” than the original.
One of the three-pointed star’s key SUVs, the GLC follows in the wheel tracks of the C-Class by moving to the updated MRA platform, now optimised for electrification as evident by all models, regardless of fuel used, featuring a 48-volt mild-hybrid system as standard.
Restyled comparatively subtle from its predecessor, the GLC, known internally as X254, sports a front facia derived from not only the C-Class, but also from some angle, its EQC electric sibling in the look of the front wings and even the LED headlights.
The small changes continue in the design of the grille and the rear facia, which receives a black strip between the still slim, but tweaked, light clusters and a remodelled faux satin silver skidplate.
As before, the GLC can be specified in Avantgarde or AMG Line exterior trim levels, with the latter offering the choice of three grille designs, sportier front and rear bumpers, a chrome simulated underguard protection and for the first time, colour coded instead of just black wheel arch cladding.
Mounted on alloy wheels ranging from 18 to 20-inches, the GLC becomes the latest Mercedes-Benz to receive the Digital Light headlamps as an option, which projects warning signals on the road ahead.
A feature that debuted on the S-Class, the setup uses the forward facing camera and 1.3-million micro-mirrors to project the image in front of the driver. Newly designed exterior mirrors, offered solely on the GLC and on no other model, round the exterior off.
A new foundation
Underneath, the GLC’s underpinnings has resulted in an overall length increase of 60 mm to 4 716 mm, with its wheelbase increasing 15 mm to 2 888 mm. Overall width is unchanged at 1 890 mm, with height dropping by four millimetres to 1 640 mm.
As part of its foundation, which has resulted in a 50-litre boot increase to 600-litres with the rear seats up, Mercedes-Benz has given the GLC a new four-link suspension at the front and multi-link at the rear, while also making the rear-axle steering system available as an option for the first time.
The Off-Road Engineering package, which includes the Airmatic air suspension that raises the overall ground clearance by 20 mm, is once again retained, along with the adaptive dampers and recalibrated power steering.
Tech and spec
Inside, the C-Class and S-Class lineage continues with not only the same dashboard, but also the new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, the portrait-style 11.9-inch MBUX infotainment system mounted on the centre console and the optional colour Heads-Up Display.
Aside from the extensive range of materials, colours and veneers, the GLC receives a steering wheel seemingly not offered on any other model, a completely new panoramic sunroof, 64 colour ambient lighting system, new seats and a 360-degree camera that provides a “transparent bonnet” view of the road ahead using a nose mounted camera.
Additionally fitted with a fingerprint scanner, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the GLC’s safety sheet comprises an updated Pre-Safe Collision Alert system, Downhill Speed Regulation when going off-road and revised Active Distance Assist Distronic, Park Assist and Active Steering Assist.
On the motivation front, the mentioned mild-hybrid assisted engine line-up consists of two turbocharged petrols, a single turbodiesel and three plug-in hybrids. Standard on all is the 9G Tronic gearbox and the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
Starting the range off is the GLC 200, whose 2.0-litre turbo-petrol delivers 150kW/320Nm. In the step-up GLC 300, the unit outputs 190kW/400Nm, while the new 2.0-litre OM 654 turbodiesel in the GLC 220d makes 145kW/440Nm.
Unlike in current models, the EQ Boost mild-hybrid system adds an additional two kilowatts for a total of 17 kW to the mix over short spells. Torque is unchanged at 200 Nm though.
Performance wise, the GLC 200 will get from 0-100 km/h in 7.8 seconds before topping out at 221 km/h, while the GLC 300’s sprint time is rated at 6.2 seconds and it’s V-max at 240 km/h. The GLC 220d will complete the sprint in eight seconds before running out of puff at 219 km/h.
Likely to attract the biggest interest, in Europe at least, are the plug-in hybrid models comprising two petrols and one turbodiesel.
As with the internal combustion models, all the plug-in hybrid utilise a 2.0-litre engine paired-up with a 31.2-kWh battery that drives a rear axle mounted 100kW/440Nm electric motor.
In the GLC 300e, the pairing produce a combined 230kW/550Nm and 280kW/650Nm in the GLC 400e.
Unsurprisingly the torquiest is the GLC 300de, whose setup delivers 245kW/750Nm. Claimed all-electric ranges vary from 102 km to 120 km.
As for performance, the GLC 300e will get from 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds, the GLC 400e in 5.6 seconds and the GLC 300de in 6.4 seconds. Respective top speeds are 218 km/h, 237 km/h and 217 km/h with the all-electric top whack capped at 140 km/h.
Set to go on sale before the end of the year, no exact confirmation about GLC’s South Africa launch was made, but expect it to arrive either before year end or in early 2023.