If new proof was needed of the growing domination of SUVs on the market, to the detriment of sedans in particular, it has now been two years since the Mercedes GLC has been the best-selling model of the firm with the star. Since the arrival of the manufacturer in this segment in 2008 with the GLK, 2.6 million copies of its mid-range crossover have found takers. But there is no shortage of competition between the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and others. So, at the time of the change of generation, there is no question of breaking this dynamic with radical choices. The new Mercedes GLC evolves smoothly in terms of styling, while benefiting from a significant technological improvement over its predecessor. Its range of engines is fully electrified.
A more family-friendly Mercedes GLC
The second Mercedes GLC of the name takes up the technical basis of the C-Class. In terms of look, it retains almost the same look as its predecessor but is easily distinguished from it, from the front, by its lights which taper towards the interior to reach the grille. A trained eye will also notice that the mirrors have been pushed back on the doors and are now “feathered”. The taillights stretch and thus approach those of the brand’s compact models.
This conservative style hides increased dimensions, since the new GLC is 4.72 m long (+ 6 cm), including 2.89 m of wheelbase (+ 1.5 cm), for an unchanged width of 1.89 m and an almost identical height of 1, 64m (-4mm). The overhangs have lengthened, by 1.5 cm at the front and 3 cm at the rear, where the trunk gains 50 l to display 600 l of capacity. Its tailgate is motorized (by button) as standard. The rims range from 18 to 20 inches in diameter. The basic Avantgarde finish is distinguished by touches of chrome, notably on the grille and the lower skid plates. However, these are only decorative, like the dummy exhaust pipes on the rear bumper. The aerodynamics have been taken care of with a drag coefficient lowered to 0.29 in the most favorable configuration, against 0.31 previously, in favor of consumption and soundproofing.
A unique interior layout
If the exterior changes little, the interior of the GLC evolves much more. A 12.3-inch digital instrument panel without a cap and an 11.9-inch “floating” central touch screen, positioned vertically and facing the driver, are standard. A color head-up display is available as an option; it makes it possible to integrate augmented reality into the navigation system. The air vents are now oblong, and those in the center sit above the infotainment monitor. As for the storm doors, they now accommodate horizontal armrests along their entire length. Mercedes has also redesigned the design of the front seats to give them an appearance that is both light and enveloping. Note that they are heated from the entry level. The MBUX infotainment system, finally, is announced as much more efficient, especially with regard to the voice assistant. And the car is automatically equipped with a wireless charger.
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An SUV that reads the road and writes it
The new GLC also receives a multitude of driving aids, which its predecessor could not claim. Some being deployed recently by the competition. The adaptive cruise control can thus detect a vehicle stopped downstream up to a speed of 100 km/h, against 60 km/h previously. The lane keeping aid works up to 210 km/h and is, according to Mercedes, much more precise on the secondary network. Panel recognition has been extended to overhead signs and certain site signs. Going through the catalog of options allows you to take advantage of a “transparent bonnet” view which is very useful for maneuvering. In addition, new towing aids are appearing, such as a route planner allowing the route to be optimized according to the trailer (width of lanes, height of bridges and tunnels, etc.) and semi-autonomous maneuvers up to at 5 km/h.
Another major new feature, the functionality of which depends on national regulations, is the Digital Light available as an option. These can project indications on the ground in front of the car. This can be to signal the presence of a pedestrian or to alert on a misdirection for example. The GLC features LED headlamps as standard.
A fully electrified range
The second-generation Mercedes GLC is only offered with 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder engines (biturbo in diesel) paired with a nine-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive. The range includes three micro-hybrid models, including the 48 V electric starter-alternator integrated into the gearbox offering a “boost” of 23 hp and 200 Nm of torque.
- GLC 200 4Matic (petrol, 204 hp and 320 Nm thermal)
- GLC 300 4Matic (petrol, 258 hp and 400 Nm thermal)
- GLC 220 d 4Matic (diesel, 197 hp and 440 Nm thermal)
Three plug-in hybrids are also on the menu. They have in common a 136 hp and 440 Nm electric motor powered by a 31.2 kWh battery giving them a “zero emission” range of more than 100 km in the WLTP combined cycle, with a speed then limited to 140 km/h.
- GLC 300 e 4Matic (petrol, 313 hp and 550 Nm combined)
- GLC 400 e 4Matic (petrol, 381 hp and 650 Nm combined)
- 4Matic GLC 300 (diesel, 335 hp and 750 Nm combined)
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The GLC on and off the road
The size, equipment, electrification and pollution control systems of the Mercedes GLC result in a very high weight, ranging from 1,925 kg (petrol MHEV) to 2,415 kg (diesel PHEV) in running order, excluding options. In order to support this mass, the Stuttgart firm opted for a multi-link suspension at the front and rear. Pneumatic damping is offered at an additional cost on micro-hybrids; it is standard in plug-in hybrid. The AMG Line finish comes with a “sport” suspension. The optional Technique Offroad pack offers 20 mm higher ground clearance and functional underbody protection. Another option, rear-wheel steering make it possible to reduce the turning circle by 90 cm (to 10.9 m), to make the SUV more maneuverable at low speed and to improve its stability at high speed.
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The specificities of the GLC range for the French market remain to be detailed. Like the previous one, the new model will be produced in Bremen (Germany), as well as in Beijing (China). The Sindelfingen German plant will be added to these sites to also assemble the SUV. The marketing of the vehicle in Europe is announced for the fall of 2022.