STUTTGART: The Mercedes-Benz GLC made its world debut on Wednesday, touting state-of-the-art assistance systems and outstanding energy efficiency.
The GLC, the successor to the mid-sized G-Class, promises driving comfort with a sporty touch while appealing to the eye, and aims to give the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 a run for the money.
Key to high comfort is the AIR BODY CONTROL suspension which combines excellent driving stability and sporty agility with optimum comfort and outstanding off-road capabilities. The new GLC features the AGILITY CONTROL suspension with steel springs and a variable damping system as standard. The GLC is the sole model in this market segment to offer the option of fitting the chassis with a full-support multi-chamber air suspension system and electronically controlled, continuously adjustable damping.
The new GLC offers the DYNAMIC SELECT handling control system with five driving programs as standard – ECO, COMFORT, SPORT, SPORT+ and INDIVIDUAL.
In Sport mode, the GLC’s occupants feel as if they are sitting in a sports car with a high level of lateral dynamics due to the tauter connection of the chassis, which is lowered by 15mm. Comfort mode focuses on comfortable running with soft connection of the chassis.
If fitted with optional offroad package, the AIR BODY CONTROL optimises the wheels’ ground contact, ensuring good progress in off-road terrain by raising the driving level by up to 50mm and providing for soft tuning.
Further benefits of the system include reduced rolling during cornering, automatic level control and lowering of the load compartment sill for convenient loading and unloading.
The offroad package adds five off-road driving programs – Slippery, Off-road, Trailer, Incline and Rocking Assist.
A key focus of the new interior design is the dashboard and the centre console with its flowing lines, with a large, one-piece console panel performing an elegant sweep from the centre air vents to the armrest, creating a sense of open space.
The touchpad in the handrest over the rotary pushbutton in the centre console allows for simple and intuitive operation of all the head-unit functions using finger gestures. The touchpad also permits letters, numbers and special characters to be entered in handwriting – in any language supported by Audio 20 or COMAND Online.
A centrally positioned media display is partially integrated above the centre console. Five round air outlets with metallic “cool touch” effect lend the dashboard a sporty air and create a contrasting effect.
In comparison to its predecessor, the new model is more spacious for front and rear occupants alike because the GLC is now longer. With 34mm more foot space, entry and exit space for rear passengers have been improved.
The rear bench features a 40/20/40 split and offers a cargo position which increases the load capacity by locking the backrests at a steeper angle. The load capacity behind the rear bench increases by 80 to 110 litres, to a total of up to 580 litres. The GLC 1600 is able to transport up to 1600 litres – 50 litres more than was previously possible.
The car is also more aerodynamic than the old GLK with a Cd value of 0.31 (GLK 0.34) and total aerodynamic drag of 0.794 (GLK 0.87).
The characteristic SUV front with a short overhang, upright, three-dimensional radiator grille with a twin louvre and centrally positioned brand star follows the new design line. Headlamps, optionally available as LED High Performance lamps, lend the GLC a self-confident look which is further emphasised by their distinctive night design. The bumpers with integrated underguard come in three variants: in addition to the base version there is a version optimised for off-road use with a larger angle of approach/departure, plus a sporty AMG variant.
The side view showcases the almost coupé-like greenhouse, which together with the 118mm larger wheelbase lends the GLC an elegant long profile, reinforced by the gently sloping dropping line. Matt black cladding in the wings, wheels up to a size of 20 inches and the optional side running board hark to the GLC’s off-road abilities.
The rear is characterised by the broad, muscular shoulders, the horizontal orientation of the contour lines and the split LED rear lamps featuring a distinctive night design. As on the front, the different bumper variants are available. By integrating all the antennae into the exterior mirrors and the roof spoiler, it has been possible to do away with the fin which has featured on the roof to date.
The GLC line-up will have two diesel, one petrol and a plug-in hybrid (see table above). The hybrid is able to travel 34km in full electric mode. The 2.1-litre diesel engine will be offered in two states of tune, while the petrol variant will get a 2.0-litre turbo powerplant that is also used in the hybrid that is mated to a 85kW electric motor.
All models will be four-wheel drive comply with the EU6 emissions standard and offer a start/stop function.
The GLC is expected to sell at 44,500 euros (RM188,000) in Europe and will be one of four crossovers (GLE Coupe included) to be launched later this year.