Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

Plush new Mercedes-Benz GLC raises the bar in luxury

Air suspension and rear axle steering in addition to long specification list make this SUV a serious package.

The good news about the new Mercedes-Benz GLC adopting the German carmaker’s global luxury strategy is that this car has become as advanced as you could imagine a mid-sized family SUV to be.

The bad news is that the range starts at R1.2 million, making it nothing more than a pipe dream for most.

When you take into consideration all the added standard specification to the Mercedes-Benz GLC compared to its predecessor, an amount the manufacturer says works out to “around R250 000”, the pricing starts making perfect sense.

All models now come standard with avantgarde styling, 4Matic all-wheel drive and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Plus the latest MBUX technology and creature comforts like wireless smartphone charging and heated seats.

Mercedes-Benz GLC more spacious

In addition, the GLC has grown by 60mm to 4 716mm which means more space inside. The rear seats have more generous legroom for adults, while boot space is up by 70 litres to 620 litres.

After debuting the AMG C43 sedan recently, rear-axle steering is offered as an optional extra on the GLC. This feature is included in the Engineering package, alongside air suspension, another first for the GLC.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC’s redesigned front end features headlamps that connect to the new grille, which has a chrome surround and sporty louvre in matt grey with chrome trim.

On the inside, highlights include an 11.9-inch centre infotainment system along with the 12.3-inch driver’s screen and all the usual bells and whistles that come with premium luxury.

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Clever cockpit

One thing that did impress us, is the MBUX system which is activated by saying “Hey Mercedes”.
It has become so advanced that it can set either the driver or front passenger’s temperature setting by recognising from which side the request was made.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC is offered in a choice of two diesel and one petrol engine, all featuring mild hybrid technology. All are mated to 9G-tronic transmission.

Mercedes-Benz GLC cabin
The cabin of the new Mercedes-Benz GLC is a luxury lounge. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

In 220d guise, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel mill punches out 145kW of power and 440Nm of torque. These outputs are uptuned to 198 kW/550Nm in the 300d.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine that produces 190kW of power and 400Nm of torque.

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Fast and frugal

All the powertrains feature a 48-volt electrical system and an integrated starter-generator. These combine to add an additional 17kW and 200Nm in boost to every derivative.

Mercedes claims fuel consumption numbers on a combined cycle of 5.2 L/100km for the 220d and 5.5 L/100km for the 300d. The claimed number for the 300 is 7.3 L/100km.

The Citizen Motoring had the opportunity to drive both diesel models around the Cape Peninsula last week, a 220d in standard guise and a 300d fitted with the engineering package.

Mercedes-Benz GLC exterior
The Mercedes-Benz GLC is sold standard in Avantgarde styling trim. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

Despite the low-profile tyres that are not always as forgiving on uneven surfaces, the air suspension in the 300d made for an easy ride over a fair share of bumpy roads.

Fitted with more forgiving rubberware, the Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d also felt good even without the air suspension. With the added benefit of the rear-axle steering, the R44 000 premium for the Engineering package is worth considering.

AMGs on ice

Power-wise, the 300d is blessed with more power than any non-performance family SUV can ever need. With a decent growl to match under hard acceleration.

However, with a claimed 0 to 100km/h sprint time of 8.0 seconds, the 220d is no slouch.

At launch, the new GLC is only offered in traditional SUV body style with the arrival of the coupe derivatives expected later.

A date for the arrival of the Mercedes-AMG models has also not been set. But Mercedes did confirm these will again include the GLC 43 AMG and GLC 63 AMG.

Similar to the new C43 and C63, both these models will be powered by the hotly debated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines with electrical assistance.

Mercedes-Benz GLC pricing

220d Avantgarde 4MATIC – R1 211 220
220d AMG Line 4MATIC – R1 293 813
300 Avantgarde 4MATIC – R1 339 430
300d Avantgarde 4MATIC – R1 410 194
300 AMG Line 4MATIC – R 1 422 023
300d AMG Line 4MATIC – R1 492 787

*Pricing includes five-year/100 000km maintenance plan and two-year/unlimited km warranty.

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