Codename X254, Mercedes launches the new GLC in SA

Dunlop Sort Maxx

Mercedes-Benz trotted us around the Cape Peninsula in its GLC to introduce us to its brand new SUV earlier in the week. They tell us that it’s the most dynamic model in its luxury lifestyle SUV family. Let’s take a look.

The New GLC codename X254 may look a lot like the old one, but it’s actually a classy evolution and a far purer design. The headlamps connect across the grille to emphasise its width. Avantgarde models get a regular grille, while the AMG Line has a Mercedes star pattern.


‘Sensually Pure Design Exudes Intelligence’

At a slippery 0.29Cd drag coefficient, the New GLC’s wide track and flush 18 to 20-inch wheels contribute to a sensually pure design that exudes intelligence and emotion in a modern, luxury hallmark, according to Mercedes design boss Gorden Wagener. The only grudge I have is that abnormally long gap between front wheel and the front of the front door. Makes the nose look too long.

60 mm longer and 4 mm lower, but the just as wide as before, New GLC rides on 6mm wider front and 23 mm broader rear tracks and a longer wheelbase. with longer front and rear overhangs too. That brings more interior room, and a 15 percent bigger boot shut by an Easy-Pack auto tailgate.

Like its styling, the New GLC has a similarly classy and pure cabin. The wing-like dash bears aircraft-like squashed round ducts and a significant 11.9-inch high-resolution My-Mercedes LCD cartainment screen. A 12.3-inch instrumentation screen appears to float seamlessly behind Merc’s latest spec multifunction steering wheel amid innovative brown-toned open-pored and black wood veneers with real aluminium LED ambient lit inlays. Smartphone integration and wireless charging is standard.


New GLC has a Similarly Classy and Pure Cabin

It’s sturdier too, and interior build quality has also improved, while decent rear leg room and improved boot space are both welcome in this neck of the woods. Customers can individually configure their New GLC. Options include an Energising package Plus to control interior ambience and air quality, and an uninterrupted new optional panoramic sunroof and roller blind.

One thing the New GLC has, is loads of tech. Pity that’s let down by those horrid touch buttons that carmakers seem to have embraced without any forethought or consideration how that actually work. They don’t and these aspects are ruining so many great cars these days. Sadly GLC is now another to fall into that category.

Also, an abundance of tech is great, but it can become overwhelming in some cases. For example, the augmented reality in the navigation system is cool to have. But it actually gives guidance too late which, makes it less effective than simple lines on a map.


A Fantastic Range of Engines

Diving under the skin, the new GLC comes with a fantastic range of diesel engines: they’re efficient, silent, and powerful. The 300d is particularly impressive. The 145 kW 440 Nm GLC 220 d is good for 8 seconds 0-100 km/h and 219 km/h, and sips 5.5 litres of diesel per 100 km at 155 gams CO2 per kilometre.

It shares its 48V mild hybrid 2-litre four cylinder turbodiesel with that excellent 198 kW 550 Nm 300 d that not only sprints to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds and on to 243 km/h, but also uses just 5.8 l/100 km at 160 g/km. The similarly electrified 400 Nm 190 kW GLC 300 4MATIC is a 2-litre turbo petrol takes 6.2 seconds to get to 100 km/h, tops 240 km/h and consumes 7.7 l/100 km at 186 g/km. All three models get Mercedes’ 9G-tronic 9-speed automatic transmission housing that 17 kW 200 Nm 48-volt hybrid kit turning 4Matic all-wheel drive.


Smart Hybrid, New Suspension Systems

The integrated starter-generator enables gliding, boost or recuperation functions that operate almost invisibly as it intelligently interacts with the combustion engine to ensure smoothest transitions between the two.

A new four-link front, and multi-link independent rear suspension brings amplitude-dependent selective damping with speed-dependent, electro-mechanical direct rack-and-pinion steering. Topped by a sporty set-up in AMG Line models, suspension is mounted in subframes to ensure best ride and noise comfort, without compromising dynamics. An optional Engineering package adds Airmatic air suspension with level control and rear-axle steering. Braking is courtesy of vented discs and an electric parking brake.

A more intuitive latest generation Driving Assistance package Plus adds Active Steering and Distance Assist Distronic. Optional Digital Light headlamps ensure excellent night time visibility without dazzling other road users. GLC also gains better dirt manners thanks to a new off-road driving mode with downhill speed regulation and a transparent bonnet assistant in the central display. The optional Engineering package also adds a high ground clearance off-road mode.


New GLC spearheads Next Benz SUV Generation

“The New GLC spearheads our next generation luxury lifestyle SUV range to continue that success story into the future,” Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director Mark Raine concludes. “2.6 million happy GLC customers can’t be wrong about one of the most sought-after cars in our South African portfolio. New GLC’s combination of dynamics, latest in technology, digitalisation, design, and luxury appeal promises to thrill adventurers and families alike.”

Our brief time with New GLC was enough to show its great ride quality off. It is comfortable, yet still provides good feedback from the road. Like we found in the C class this car shared much of it heart with, the brakes are a bit spongey.

The New Mercedes-Benz GLC comes with a 5-year or 100,000 km Premium Drive Platinum service and maintenance plan. We must however question why there’s no plug-in hybrid in the local range. Clearly there’s a cost concern, but plug in hybrids just make so much sense in South Africa. Talking cost concerns, that R1.2 bar starting price. Let’s leave that there…

All that said, dynamic, bold and luxurious, the New Mercedes GLC brings new levels of digitalisation to an efficient and sporty package to deliver a welcome shot of excitement and novelty to a hugely popular Mercedes-Benz sport ute. It will find market success, that much we will put money on. – Giordano Lupini

Mercedes-Benz New GLC Launch Pricing
GLC 220 d                    R1,211M
GLC 300 d                    R1,410M
GLC 300                      R1,328M
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