When Mercedes-Benz launched the first generation GLC in India in 2016, no one expected that the SUV would be so successful. Yes, it was a pretty competent vehicle but had tough competition too and yet it went on to become one of the hottest selling luxury SUVs this side of Rs. 75 Lakh. The vehicle was first offered with GLC 300 and GLC 220d variants, later on it started coming through the CKD route and it got a facelift in 2019. The GLC 300 4MATIC was then dropped for the GLC 200 RWD. The vehicle even got AMG and Coupe variants. The second generation GLC made its debut globally in 2022 and we finally have it here in India.
Exteriors – The new Mercedes GLC is 4716 mm long (60 mm longer), 1890 mm wide and 1640 mm tall (4 mm shorter). The wheelbase of the car has also gone up by 15 mm while the boot capacity is now 620-litres which is 70-litres more than before. The vehicle gets 235/55/19 tyres which are adequate for the GLC. The design is evolutionary rather than revolutionary and when you see the car, you cannot mistake it for anything other than a GLC.
The body has smooth lines with a hint of curviness on all corners. It looks good, but a little simple. Globally, the GLC also gets the AMG package which comes with a different grille and sportier bumpiers, and that variant looks quite aggressive. However, the India-spec model does get a very beautiful design for the wheels.
Interior – The cabin is where the new GLC is massively different from the previous generation. The dashboard gets an all-new design which is very similar to that of the W206 C-Class. The feel, quality and design have definitely two notches over the older generation. It feels really modern and rich now, and the ergonomics are quite sorted too. The front seats are 8-way electrically adjustable and I liked the driving position on offer.
The rear seat has more usable space than before but it is still not all that spacious. Ingress and egress could have been slightly easier as right now there is very limited space between the edge of the seat and the B-pillar even though the rear door opens wide. Knee room is good for tall people and so is the head space. The cabin can be had in three different colour themes – all black, black/brown and black/beige.
In terms of features, the GLC is stuffed with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 11.9-inch infotainment system, off-road camera, underbody camera (up to 8 km/hr), self-park, 7 airbags, 360-camera, blind spot assist, PM2.5 air filter, etc. The touchscreen is amazing to use and the GLC is the first SUV in the line-up to get the new NTG7 user interface. The touchscreen is married to a Burmester audio system with 15-speakers producing a total output of 710 W. I really liked the sound quality when I played some party tracks with catchy beats.
Performance – The Mercedes GLC is offered with 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engine options. We drove the petrol variant, i.e. GLC 300 which makes 258 HP and 400 Nm which is an increase of 13 HP and 30 Nm over the older GLC 300. The mild-hybrid tech adds an additional boost of 23 HP and 200 Nm to the engine. The powerplant is the M254 unit while the diesel engine is OM654M making 197 + 23 HP and 440 + 200 Nm. 0-100 comes up in a claimed 6.2 secs for petrol and 8 secs for diesel.
The engine is fab when it comes to refinement and performance. It has more than enough grunt to pull the GLC and keeps pulling strongly at speeds above the ton. Even the in-city driveability is quite good. You get the usual bouquet of driving modes like Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Off-Road which change how the engine and steering feel. Dynamic mode of course adds some urgency to the way this car drives while in Comfort it feels relaxed. Overall, the GLC 300 feels right at home within the city as well as on the highway where you want to stretch its legs.
Compared to its predecessor, fuel efficiency has gone up by 15% while CO2 emissions have gone down by 15%. The claimed fuel economy figures are 14.72 km/l for petrol and 19.47 km/l for diesel. As I mentioned before, there is mild-hybrid tech offered with the vehicle which boosts the power and torque, but globally Mercedes also offers plug-in hybrid with up to 60 kW DC fast charging. The 9-speed automatic is smooth and quick, but sometimes when you feel like driving in a hurried manner, the transmission shift speeds and response times feel a little slow.
Driving Dynamics – The previous GLC felt quite vague to drive because neither was it a very sharp handler nor did it offer a lot of driver involvement. It was very neutral and thankfully that has changed to an extent with the new GLC. The vehicle feels way better to drive than before. The steering has good heft and feels more direct now. The suspension is stiffer than before and while some of the sharper bumps are felt inside the cabin now, the car feels more confident at high speeds especially while taking corners. The X3 and Q5 still have a slight edge when it comes to handling though, but the Q5’s steering isn’t very communicative either.
Foam has been added to the hollow sections of the vehicle’s body to reduce sound. Globally, the GLC is offered with an air suspension with variable dampers and rear wheel steering is also optional. The India-spec model gets the off-road pack as standard which adds an extra 20 mm of ground clearance which is actually much-needed on our roads. With large discs all around, braking performance is very good but of course our test car was almost brand new and thus the brakes needed some time to bed in.
Verdict – The previous GLC used to retail at almost Rs. 82 Lakh (OTR, Mumbai) and with so many changes that have taken place, I expect the new one to cost not less than Rs. 87 Lakh (OTR, Mumbai) for the top-end variant. That’s a lot of money for sure, but such are car prices these days. The SUV is very good, no doubt and Mercedes has a good number of bookings already and I expect the waiting period to shoot up to a few months very soon. However, the GLC also has a lot of competition like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus NX, Porsche Macan, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque!