New Merc GLC unveiled
Mercedes-Benz has released images and launch details on its new mid-sized SUV, to be called the GLC.
It is set to compete with the Audi Q5, BMW X3/X4, Range Rover Evoque and Lexus NX when it arrives in Irish showrooms later this year. It replaces the Mercedes GLK, a model that was never offered for sale in Ireland.
The smooth exterior design of the GLC takes cues from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the GLA crossover, with short overhangs and distinctive lights front and rear. At 4,656mm long (2,873mm in the wheelbase), 1,890mm wide and 1,639mm high, the GLC is one of the largest cars in its class, though also one of the lowest. There is no visible antennae to interrupt the design and each specification grade will gain its own styling changes, with alloy wheel sizes of up to 20-inch.
A glance at our image gallery will reveal that the GLC's cabin style is broadly the same as that in the C-Class saloon, though we're expecting more passenger space in the new SUV. The boot holds 580- to 1,600 litres of luggage, which tops the segment. Accessing that is made easier by 'Hands-Free Access' and 'Air Body Control', the latter of which lowers the car's suspension to ease lifting heavy or bulky items into the boot. These are expected to be optional extras.
Under the bonnet
The Irish market line-up has yet to be confirmed, so we're cribbing from the Europe-wide press information here. Four models will be offered initially, two diesel, one petrol and one petrol-electric hybrid, all with 4Matic four-wheel drive and, to begin with at least, automatic transmissions. The GLC 220 d and 250 d share the same base 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine and nine-speed automatic gearbox, the former putting out 170hp and 400Nm of torque, while the latter produces 204hp and 500Nm. The GLC 220d emits between 129- and 143g/km depending on specification, returns 56mpg (5.0 litres/100km) and dispatches the 0-100km/h sprint in 8.3 seconds. The more expensive GLC 250 d takes 7.6 seconds for 0-100km/h yet comes with identical economy and emissions figures to the 220 d.
Of minority interest in Ireland will be the GLC 250 (note, no 'd'), which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, putting out 211hp and 350Nm of torque. It does 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds, emits between 152- and 166g/km and returns 43mpg (6.6 litres/100km). However, the 250's engine forms part of the GLC 350 e's make-up, as it's a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid, using that 211hp petrol engine in conjunction with a 114hp/340Nm electric motor integrated into the seven-speed automatic transmission. Performance figures for the hybrid GLC are 'interesting' at 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 235km/h, though it's the 60g/km emissions rating that could make this car a real contender in Ireland, lowering VRT and hence the purchase price. The quoted electric-only range is 34 kilometres and it takes up to four hours to charge the 8.7kWh lithium-ion battery.
The driving experience will vary from model to model as there are several chassis options available. Mercedes-Benz calls the suspension system Agility Control. It consists of steel springs and a variable damping system as standard, though this comes in three varieties depending on model. The default is the comfort suspension, there's sports suspension as an option on the AMG Exterior Line GLCs, while the Off-Road Engineering package comes with a 20mm higher ride height (as does the GLC 350 e for some reason). Further to all that is the new Air Body Control option, which replaces the steel springs with a variable ride height air system and a more sophisticated adaptive damping solution called ADS Plus.