2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC Review Test Drive
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC – Click above for high resolution image gallery

Mercedes-Benz GLC

Car Tested: 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC; Road Test No. 707

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 65.82 – 66.08 lakhs

The Mercedes GLC offers an excellent package, thus making it a good choice in its segment

Mercedes-Benz has been on a very strong product offensive in the Indian market and their portfolio consists of a wide array of cars from different segments. Their line-up was lacking a mid-size SUV which would compete with the likes of the BMW X3, Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5. Now the Stuttgart-based automaker is bringing down the GLC to India to fill that void. We drive this SUV in South India and here’s how it fares.

Motor Quest: Audi and BMW have been offering mid-size luxury SUVs since a long time now and Mercedes has had no offerings in this segment. Globally, the GLC replaces the GLK and now that it is here, it is going to be a tough fight amongst the contenders in this segment.

The Mercedes GLC is roughly the same size as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3

Exteriors – The front fascia of the Mercedes-Benz GLC, when viewed head on looks as if the C-Class has grown in size. The headlights and grille are reminiscent of the C while the large bumper comes with silver skid plates to give the car that rugged look. Chrome too has been used in good quantity. The grille looks very imposing and the large 3-pointed star is a sure shot attention grabber. The side profile has a clean design and there is just 1 crease on the doors and it kind of breaks the monotony on the plain side profile. The wheel arches get a slightly protruding design while you also get a side step on either sides.

The side profile looks classy while the rear has distinctive styling

The GLC carries a typical Mercedes design which is neat and premium

The rear of the GLC carries a very unique design which is far different than the current batch of GLA, GLE and GLS. The sleek tail lights have been integrated neatly while the rear bumper also gets a silver skid plate, along with dual exhaust pipes. The alloy wheels have a chunky design and they are wrapped around 235-section 18-inch wheels. You also get Mercedes’ Intelligent LED system where the lights turn with the steering wheel. Overall, the GLC has just the right proportions which combine a blend of luxury and ruggedness.

Dashboard layout similar to the C, great fit an finish

Interiors – Mercedes has always been known to provide extremely luxurious interiors with splendid quality materials in their vehicles. The interior layout of the GLC is again very similar to that of the C-Class, but we’re not complaining at all! The steering wheel continues to come with the same sporty design with a neat stack of buttons flanked on both the sides of the wheel. Just behind the wheel you have the trademark Mercedes gear selector knob along with the usual other stalks. The centre console is wide and comes in a wooden finish which oozes of classiness.

Both the front & rear seats are comfortable, lots of features to fiddle with

The interiors are very similar to the C-Class and come with excellent quality

You get circular AC vents and there are 3 of them in the centre. Just above the AC vents is the 7-inch screen for the infotainment system. It is not a touchscreen though and it is controlled using a circular knob placed lower down the console. The COMAND infotainment system feels a tad inferior to what competition offers. However, there are no other complaints on the interior front. The seats, door pads, armrest, etc. are made up of top-notch materials. The front seats are good on comfort and they feel like a very comfortable place to be in.

Rear seats are spacious, boot space gets eaten up by the spare wheel

The seats offer excellent support and there is a plethora of adjustment options too. The front seats get electronic adjustment with memory function, even lumbar support is electronically adjusted. The rear seats, too, are very generous in terms of space and comfort. Seat cushioning is good while legroom and headroom are very good too. The rear AC vents eat up some legroom of the middle passenger but the side footwells are pretty wide and the GLC still feels the most generous in space as compared to its immediate rivals. The spare wheel eats up a considerable amount of the 550-litre boot which expands to more than 1600-litres with the rear seats folded down.

Mercedes is offering the GLC with both petrol and diesel options

Performance – The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC is offered with petrol and diesel engines. We had a go in the petrol variant. The GLC 300 badging suggests that there is a 3.0-litre engine under the hood but it actually is a 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol powerplant that belts out 245 HP of power and 370 Nm of twisting force. The engine is mated to the new 9G-TRONIC gearbox instead of the older 7-speed unit. The new gearbox churns out better performance and is also more efficient.

The 2.0-litre petrol engine has lots of punch and is quick too

The 9G-TRONIC gearbox not only performs better but is also more frugal

The petrol engine feels very eager to drive and power is distributed across the RPM range very generously. Turbo lag feels very well-contained and power is built up in a very linear fashion. The engine redlines at 6500 RPM and while the mid-range isn’t that peppy, the fun builds up as the RPMs increase. The engine packs a punch right up to the redline and the paddle shifters are also a joy to use. 0-100 km/hr comes up in a claimed 6.5 seconds. The petrol engine will definitely be a choice for those who love to have some fun behind the wheel.

The 2.2-litre oil-burner also has enough pep and is frugal

The GLC 220 comes powered by a 2.2-litre diesel oil-burner which belts out 170 HP and 400 Nm of torque. It too is mated to the same 9-speed transmission an does a 0-100 kn/hr run in 8.3 seconds. The diesel version strikes a good balance between fuel efficiency and performance. The Mercedes GLC comes with 4 driving modes on offer – Comfort, Eco, Sport and Sport+. Eco mode reduces performance slightly in order to churn out marginally better fuel efficiency. Gear shifts also happen very quickly, much before the rev-limit. Comfort mode is best suited for relaxed driving while Sport and Sport + mode will come in useful when you want a spirited drive.

The Mercedes GLC has a supple ride with a softly sprung suspension

Driving Dynamics – Talking about the ride of the GLC, we can easily say that it feels comfortable and plush. It is not as comfortable as a C-Class sedan but it definitely won’t discomfort the passengers. The tyres do a pretty good job of absorbing sharp undulations. The ride has a tendency to get slightly uneven at high speeds on poor tarmac surfaces. The suspension is softly sprung and it most certainly is one of the most comfortable cars in its segment. The GLC is a true SUV and Mercedes has equipped it with an Offroad Package which raises the ground clearance by 20 mm. There are various modes available for selection such as slippery, off-road, trailer etc. The independent suspension works well to articulate the wheels on uneven surfaces.

The GLC has a good steering but the car’s handling isn’t as fun as the X3

The GLC’s steering is direct and gives out a lot of confidence at high speeds. However, it is more tuned for cruising and not for aggressive driving. When pushed around the twisties, the GLC maintains its composure calmly and chassis is capable of tackling everything thrown at it. However, on the limit, the tyres do tend to screech. In the practical world, however, most of GLC buyers would rarely use it for on the limit driving. The 235/60 R18 tyres have pretty good levels of grip while the brakes feel sharp and do a fairly good job.

Just like other Mercs, the GLC too gets a long safety equipment list

Safety and After Sales Service – Mercedes-Benz has a very widespread sales and service network across the country and their service levels are also excellent. The GLC is loaded to the brim with equipment like Traction Control, ESP, Brake Assist, Crosswind Assist, Headlamp Assist and Attention Assist. You also get the usual ABS with EBD and plenty of airbags for the driver and passengers, total 7 in number.

The empty void between the GLA & GLE has finally been filled by the GLC

Verdict – The Mercedes-Benz GLC competes in a segment where demand is high. Buyers prefer mid-size luxury SUVs when they find their sedan counterparts to be lacking in space, ground clearance, etc. This segment is hard to crack since there are a lot of competitors and each one of them offer something unique. Mercedes has a really good package on their hands with the GLC and it will definitely be a very good choice for someone who wants a luxury SUV with all the creature comforts, good space for passengers and good cargo capacity. Hence, the GLC is a very good alternative to the Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and the BMW X3 in this segment.

The overall package makes it a good contender against the XC60, Q5 & X3

What’s Cool

* Styling is splendid and the SUV has good proportions
* The interiors have excellent quality materials all around
* Space inside the cabin is very generous
* The petrol engine feels very peppy

What’s Not So Cool

* Spare wheel eats up a lot of boot space
* COMAND infotainment system feels a bit dated

Alternatives: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Volvo XC60, Range Rover Evoque

The GLC won’t be cheap and will easily cost upwards of Rs. 50 lakhs

Mercedes-Benz GLC Specifications

* Engine: 1991cc, Petrol, 16V, 4-cylinder, turbocharged, SOHC | 2143cc, Diesel, 16V, 4-cylinder, turbocharged, DOHC
* Power: 245 HP @ 5500 RPM | 170 HP @ 3000-4200 RPM
* Torque: 370 Nm @ 1400-2800 RPM | 400 Nm @ 1400-2800 RPM
* Transmission: 9G-TRONIC
* 0-100 km/hr: 6.5 seconds | 8.3 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 7-9 km/l | 10-11 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol | Diesel
* Suspension: Independent Suspension
* Tyres: 235/60/18
* Brakes: All 4 disc brakes, ABS
* Safety: 7 airbags, ESP, Traction Control, Crosswind Assist, Headlamp Assist and Attention Assist

Mercedes-Benz GLC Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4656 mm X 1890 mm X 1639 mm
* Wheelbase: 2873 mm
* Ground clearance: 201 mm
* Turning radius: 5.9-metres
* Kerb Weight: 1871 kgs | 1954 kgs

It’ll be interesting to see how it fares in the luxury mid-size SUV segment

Further Reading

Mercedes-Benz GLC Video Review