Mercedes-Benz is positioning its new GLC premium mid-size SUV as a vehicle with a strong character and a solid, athletic appearance in a segment where the main rivals include the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Porsche Macan S Diesel.
The exterior of the GLC impresses right from the first glimpse, with a powerful front stemming from a very upright-looking radiator trim, with two louvres and the centrally placed Mercedes star. Striking, too, is the design of the headlamps and daytime driving lamps and the bucket-tooth-look sump shield.
Seen from the side, the cladding on the wheel arches reinforces the GLC’s SUV look, which can be further enhanced with optional aluminium-look running boards. These pronounced wheel arches are primarily responsible for the wide-based, sporty look of the GLC’s rear. The vehicle’s roof spoiler also serves to emphasize the athletic look.
The Audi Q5 sports its own great exterior look, while the 2016 BMW X3 also looks impressive, with new headlights from an earlier refresh making it look like a downsized X5. The Q5-derived 2016 Porsche Macan is probably the sports car of the bunch and is positioned by Porsche as a ‘Porsche through and through’.
With the GLC, Mercedes-Benz has aimed for an intelligent combination of functionality and agility in a modern, timeless SUV design. The vehicle’s interior is one of high-class appeal that features authentic materials, flowing surface finishes and a newly interpreted centre console and which exudes a luxurious sense of lightness. This sense of lightness comes partly from the controls which are in silver chrome, with metallic tactile qualities. Giving a natural feel are the seat coverings in wool and linen and the open-poor wood used as trim.
The Q5 also features classy interior design and top-notch construction, while the X3’s interior is classic BMW from its traditional analog gauges to restrained sense of style. The cabin of the Porsche Macan offers an intimate feeling and is quite a bit less rugged looking than one might expect of a 4×4.
Mercedes’ new GLC is designed to offer more space, more flexibility and greater appeal. Interior features include THERMATIC automatic climate control with two climate zones, power front seats and green-tinted glass all round and optionals such as ambient lighting, electrically adjustable front passenger seat with memory function, power driver’s seat with memory function, THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control with three climate zones and a panoramic sliding sunroof.
The Mercedes GLC serves up a host of optional equipment packages that includes the Stowage Space package with additional stowage and tie-down options in the interior and the boot, the AIR BALANCE package with which the interior can be fragranced through a choice of four fragrances, and the Interior Lighting package that generates more illumination and enhanced visibility in the interior.
Exterior-wise, the choice includes the Exterior Chrome package that comprises additional chrome trim as stylish design elements, and the OFF-ROAD exterior package that serves to underscore the SUV character of the GLC with such features as 5-spoke light-alloy wheels, chrome stylized underride guard, front bumper with a larger angle of approach and an exhaust system with two visible chromed tailpipes and anodized roof rails.
The new GLC graces Hong Kong car dealerships in the form of the GLC 250 4MATIC and GLC 300 4MATIC, both of which are powered by 4-cylinder petrol engines designed to reduce consumption and emissions while delivering power, reliability and flexibility.
The vehicles’ 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission offers efficiency, comfort and dynamism and swifter and smoother gear shifting actions. Also helping to provide the GLC’s handling and on- and off-road capabilities is DYNAMIC SELECT which offers five drive programs – Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco and Individual.
Available for the first time is the optional AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension system in combination with continuously variable damper control, ensuring ride comfort and dynamic handling. The damping at each wheel is adapted to the current driving situation and can be set for more comfortable or sporty characteristics as required.
The GLC’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive system delivers optimum traction for each specific driving situation, and ensures powerful move off and acceleration particularly on poor road surfaces and in adverse weather conditions.
For even better off-road capabilities, the Off-Road Engineering package delivers such at the push of a button. This is thanks to up to five additional off-road driving programs – off-road, gradient, slippery, trailer and rocking free in conjunction with the optional AIR BODY CONTROL system. The modified characteristics of the drive system optimize traction particularly on loose terrain, while Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) helps the driver master even steep descents safely.
The bevy of safety and assistance systems deployed in the GLC include ATTENTION ASSIST, ADAPTIVE BRAKE with HOLD function, ESP Electronic Stability Program with Crosswind Assist, ESP Dynamic Curve Assist, Anti-lock braking system (ABS), airbags for driver and front passenger, knee bag for driver, window bags and pedestrian protection with active bonnet.
In addition to the standard specification for the new GLC, there are the EXCLUSIVE and AMG Line design and equipment lines on offer. The EXCLUSIVE line emphasizes the elegant side of the vehicle, while the AMG Line emphasizes the vehicle’s sporty side.
The Audi Q5 comes in a choice of seven trim levels corresponding to the available engines, the BMW X3 comes in four trim levels and there are four choices for the Porsche Macan.
The 2015 Audi Q5 comes with the safety features of stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. There are optional rear side airbags, while the Technology package includes parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system.
The 2016 BMW X3 has the standard features of antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, automatic brake drying, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front seat head restraints.
Standard features on the 2016 Porsche Macan include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags.
An Edition 1 version of the Mercedes-Benz GLC is available for a limited time from the market launch, featuring a host of exterior and interior equipment features designed to enhance the sporty, exclusive and comfortable character of the GLC even further.