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|27th June 2016, 11:20||#1|
Driven: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 50.70 - 50.90 lakhs (ex-Pune).
What you'll like:
• Clean styling and solid road presence
• High quality workmanship all round and spacious interiors
• 5 star NCAP rating. Loaded with safety features - 7 airbags, ESP, ABS, attention assist & more
• 5 drive modes to suit most driving styles and a dedicated off-road package in all versions
• A punchy petrol option for places where >2L diesel engines are not allowed
What you won't:
• Usability of luggage space is compromised by the spare tyre kept in the boot
• Operation of some controls and equipment (sat nav, handwriting inputs) not user-friendly
• Petrol engine guzzles fuel when driven enthusiastically
• Some features might go missing when locally assembled versions roll out
• 9 gears are too many!
Last edited by Aditya : 27th June 2016 at 11:23.
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|27th June 2016, 11:21||#2|
SUVs & crossovers are ruling the roads and the markets the world over. Be it USA, Europe or closer to home in India, the craze for these vehicles is increasing by the day and manufacturers are leaving no stone unturned to cash in on the opportunity. One can't deny the practicality of SUVs & crossovers and with advanced technology and monocoque designs, the safety, ride & handling of current-gen SUVs is leagues ahead of the earlier generation SUVs.
Trivia: In Europe, for the first time, SUVs outsold compacts/sub-compacts to be the biggest car segment last year. In the USA, SUVs & crossovers became the most popular body style in 2014.
In India, within the luxury segment, the fastest growing body style is the SUV/crossover and no manufacturer would like to miss out on the opportunity to sell a few copies of its SUVs. Mercedes-Benz, who had claimed back the #1 position (with respect to sales) in the luxury segment, has been launching new models ever so often and with the GLA, GLE, GLS & G-Wagen it has had a potent SUV line-up. However, it was missing a mid-price SUV to take on the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60. The GLC is supposed to address the issue.
Mercedes has simplified its SUV nomenclature and the GLK is now re-christened the GLC. The GLK was one of Mercedes best sellers in the US and China with over 6,50,000 units produced. Unfortunately, it never came to India as the right hand drive version could not be produced since the steering fouled the drive shafts.
The GLC is a completely new design compared to the GLK. It is based on the C-Class platform and comes with 2.1L diesel and 2L turbo petrol engines. The petrol version was planned even before the recent Supreme Court ban on diesel engines over 2,000cc was imposed. Smart move as the GLC seems to be the only SUV in its class to have a petrol option now that Audi has withdrawn the 2L petrol version of the Q5.
The front is almost a clone of the C-Class sedan with the GLC having a similarly styled grille and LED lights. The aggressive bonnet lines and the bumper styling makes the front look imposing and gives the GLC an SUV look. One look at the front and you know it is a Mercedes:
The GLC coupe-like when viewed from the side and not boxy like the ML-Class. Somehow, the side profile doesn't make it look like a true blue SUV, but more like a crossover. The Indian version doesn't get air suspension, which is available in international markets as an optional package. 20 mm extra suspension height in the off-road package (standard for India):
The rear is curvy and stylishly done which gives the GLC an individualistic character of its own. The two-piece full LED tail-lights take styling cues from the S-Class and have adaptive illumination capability under sudden braking. The rear also gets a generous helping of chrome in the lower part of the bumper and on the two exhaust outlets:
Looks imposing from the front three quarter view:
The panoramic roof opens up for the front area:
A view with the E-class in the background:
The under-body is clean. The Indian version gets the off-road package as standard and that includes under-body cladding for the front half:
Off-road spec bumper is standard and gives the GLC an increased angle of approach and some chrome that we Indians love:
Black grille has brushed aluminium garnish with chrome inserts. Looks classy with the big star in the center:
All LED lights which Mercedes-Benz calls ILS (Intelligent Light System). They feature automatic cornering capability and variable low beam depending on ambient lighting, weather and driving conditions. The LED modules pan outward by 6 degrees, in off-road mode, to illuminate more track area in front:
235/60 tyres on 18-inch wheels. Abroad you get options of 19 and 20-inchers as well. Considering Indian road conditions, 18-inchers are best:
Ideal tyre pressure and suggested fuel rating indicated on the inside of the fuel flap:
A glimpse into the front wheel well. Looks busy and notice the geometry/angle of the strut to clear the front drive shafts:
Last edited by Aditya : 27th June 2016 at 11:24.
|27th June 2016, 11:21||#3|
Before we proceed, we must mention that we were given a homologation model, which is more representative of the forthcoming CKD version compared to the more well-appointed Edition 1 version that has been currently launched. More about this later.
If you have been inside the C-Class, you will feel at home with the interior and cabin layout of the GLC. The interiors are well-made and have a contemporary feel about them. We saw two interior colour schemes - black/beige and all black. In our personal opinion, the all black scheme looked more premium.
The front cabin layout is borrowed from the C-class sedan. The tablet style screen looks out of place and added as an afterthought. In today's time, one expects a tablet to be a touchscreen and this isn't:
The panoramic roof gives the GLC's interiors a roomy feel. The front half of the roof slides up:
Nice, firm seats and easy to get your favourite seating position. The version we drove lacked memory functions for the front seats. They had electric adjustments for bottom & rear parts. The headrest & under-thigh support had manual adjustments unlike the Edition 1:
Rear seats are split in a 40:20:40 ratio:
Notice the absence of seatback pockets and climate control for rear passengers in the edition we drove:
Nice, chunky steering wheel with a multitude of controls:
Manual adjustment for steering:
Paddle shifters & stalks for indicators & cruise control. This version misses an additional stalk for electric steering adjustment:
Classy looking air-conditioner vents. They have a nice weighted feel and center with a 'click' sound when adjusted. Turn the knob to open/close the vents:
The command control area with tactile feel roller buttons for drive select and volume. The M button puts the car in Manual mode. 'A' deactivates the Stop-Start mode. Other buttons are for switching off the tablet screen, traction control, and park distance control. The rotary dial lets you navigate through the options and pressing the dial selects the option. The same can be achieved by handwritten inputs using the pad on top. In our experience it was cumbersome to use and the rotary dial was more user-friendly:
The left button takes the car directly to the off-road choice setting screen and the right button activates the descent speed regulator (Mercedes speak for Hill Descent Control). The center button opens up the armrest storage area:
The front door has ample storage space and that is made possible by moving the audio components to the inside of the front cabin area/near footwell. The speakers are shifted up the door from the usual bottom half position. Notice the absence of 'memory function' for front seats in this variant:
The armrest storage area has the usual USB slots. One each for driver & co-passenger:
Driver footwell with the usual organ type accelerator pedal. Though there is space for dead pedal, it is not lined for grip:
Aluminium scuff plate. In this variant, it is not illuminated:
Fuse box in the passenger footwell area:
More than adequate rear space with the front seat set to my driving position:
The rear boot area, according to the specifications provided, can swallow 550 liters of luggage. However, the usability of that space is severely compromised with the spare tyre. Not only does it eat up space, it also makes the rear area uneven in case you have to arrange lots of luggage pieces in the boot:
Rear space with the tyre out. BTW, it took us only 1.5 minutes to take the spare tyre out:
Luggage space with the rear seats folded. They can be folded by a press of a button in the boot and also from the rear seats/near the rear doors. The seats are split in a ratio of 40:20:40 making several luggage carrying and seating combinations possible. There are also cargo bars in the rear seats that alter the rear seat angle to release an additional 30 liters of luggage space (these were not present in the model we drove):
Provision to lock the rear boot floor:
Space under the boot floor to store stuff:
Gloves are provided as standard if you need to change tyre. Ironical that the spare tyre is kept on top and the gloves are hidden away under the floor:
Scissor jack. God help you if you need to use this. Why can't manufacturers give easy to use jacks? The technology in today's cars has reached planet Mars, but the jacks in most vehicles are still stuck in the stone age. The E 350 with us had a much more sophisticated jack which took just a few minutes to set up:
Another fuse box tucked away underneath the cargo area floor:
Last edited by Aditya : 30th June 2016 at 09:57.
|27th June 2016, 11:21||#4|
Rotate the command dial and various options are presented on the tablet screen. These options are the usual ones for the radio, music, phone & navigation:
Using the navigation was a big letdown as it was a pain to type in alphabets whether you select the individual ones on the screen or use the hand writing feature. Our left-handed mod couldn't manage it either!
We couldn't find small towns along the route listed in the navigation system:
One can set preferences for functions like: automatic mirror folding when you shut down the vehicle...
... and delayed shut-off for external lights and their duration. Several other options are also available for setting preferences:
Tablet screen can also display information like fuel consumption pattern:
Temperature can be controlled using the tablet:
Ditto for air distribution:
The MID shows some basic information and capability to select driving modes:
Toggling though the buttons on the steering wheel shows this information on the MID:
Last edited by Aditya : 27th June 2016 at 11:26.
|27th June 2016, 11:21||#5|
Engine & Drive
The GLC 220 d 4MATIC comes with a 2,143 cc, inline 4-cylinder diesel engine churning out 168 BHP (@ 3,300-4,200 rpm) and 400 Nm of torque available from as low as 1,400 rpm. It is capable of a dash to 100 km/h from standstill in 8.3 seconds.
The petrol version, the one we drove, is the 300 4MATIC. It has a 1,991 cc, inline 4-cylinder engine developing 241 BHP (@ 5,500 rpm) and 370 Nm of torque (@ 1,300-4,000 rpm). The 0-100 km/h sprint is dispatched in a rather quick 6.5 seconds.
Compared to the diesel GLC, the petrol, with 75 more horses, 83 kilos of less weight and an almost similar torque figure is quite fun to drive. It would be our pick of the two engines if one wants to buy the car for driving it himself rather than being chauffeured around. The petrol has a power to weight ratio of 129 BHP per ton compared to 86 BHP per ton of the diesel with the torque per ton figures almost similar at ~ 200 Nm for both.
The engine is quite refined with very linear power delivery. It has a nice, raspy note post 3,000 rpm and doesn't mind being revved till the redline at 6,000 rpm. In most mode, except the Sports+ mode, you will not get the 'shove your back into the seat' feeling with the engine picking up speed and changing gears in a very linear and refined manner. The 9 gears keep the GLC in the power-band at most times, depending on the mode you have selected with negligible turbo-lag felt in any driving situation. On the highway, the GLC is very quick to pick up speed and can munch miles all day long in 6/7th gear in comfort mode. The NVH for the petrol GLC are quite good with very little road/wind noise entering the cabin at regular highway speeds. ajmat mentioned a complete turnaround in terms of refinement compared the CLA 200, which he had driven earlier.
Economy mode - Car is very lethargic, only worth it if you are being driven
Comfort mode - Decent power delivery, but car is a little wallowy in challenging bends and floaty on the highway
Sport - Steering gets firmer, engine gets more responsive. This is our preferred mode
Sport + - A bit pointless, car becomes too aggressive for what it is
Gearbox - Shifts smoothly and downshifts are fairly responsive in most modes, except for the Sports+ mode where we felt them to be a tad bit jerky. On the estate roads, we barely saw 6th gear in sport mode. Only in comfort mode did we see 7th gear engaged, but one never felt the car was under-powered. On the highway, we saw 7th gear at 120 km/h. 8th came up only in comfort mode and 9th was seen only in economy mode. Frankly, 9 speeds is overkill. However we must say that at no times we found the car to be hunting for gears in any driving mode.
Steering - Direct. It lacks the enthusiastic turn in of an X3, but it goes where one points it.
Ride & Handling - The GLC's handling is neutral, slightly biased towards understeer. For the keen driver, it does not hold a candle to the X3, but if you have bought a GLC, you will not be burning a candle for the X3 either. The suspension has a bias towards a firmer side and becomes excellent at highway speeds. The GLC gets less upset on bumpy corners and is very composed in all situations. It has excellent road manners on the highway and the odd rumble strips can be dismissed easily at speed with the car solidly planted and sideways movement of the rear is controlled. Sweeping highway curves and corners can be taken with confidence without dropping speed.
Brakes - Short travel, very firm and excellent response. On a rural stretch, we could accelerate hard, brake for speed humps and continue. Even the E 350, which we used on the same route could not handle this.
The busy engine bay:
Take a close look at the edges, where you notice the weld seams. The chassis isn't painted:
The air inlet:
The bonnet has a two-stage strut for holding it open:
One can also setup the GLC for individual parameters to one's liking. Engine drive options:
Options for steering:
GLC has settings for various off-road specific modes. We could not test the GLC for off-road driving, but can safely say that it can do a bit of soft-roading and take you to your farm house on dirt tracks and rural roads:
For driving on slippery surfaces - that would be grass, snow or even loose gravel:
An off-road mode called offroad :
For towing trailers:
Last edited by Aditya : 27th June 2016 at 11:27.
|27th June 2016, 11:21||#6|
The spare tyre is wrapped in a zipped cover:
The spare is a 19-inch space saver:
Tyre pressure sensor:
Note the chrome exhaust trims that look like exhaust tips from a distance:
The windscreen has a Daimler signature:
Space on left to be utilized for charging in hybrid versions?
Attachment for flexible cargo net/barrier. Two slots on either side of B-pillar and two near the C-pillar area:
The top button (headrest) is dummy and doesn't work :
Last edited by Aditya : 27th June 2016 at 11:28.
|27th June 2016, 11:21||#7|
It's become a tradition with Mercedes-Benz to launch the initial new/facelift models with a limited set of CBU vehicles. The GLC will have the Edition-1 at launch, which will have more goodies.
The all black interiors:
Notice the double stitching on the edge of the dashboard:
The faux wood trim on the dash (compared to an almost piano black finish in the GLC 300 model we drove):
The front driver and passenger seats get memory functions and electrically adjustable headrests and under-thigh support:
Climate control for the rear:
Illuminated scuff plates:
Aluminium-look running board with rubber studs:
A different style alloy wheel design:
In addition to the above, we noticed the following on the display vehicles compared to the one we drove:
Disclaimer: Mercedes-Benz invited Team-BHP for the GLC test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.
Last edited by Aditya : 27th June 2016 at 11:29.
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|27th June 2016, 11:49||#9|
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Re: Driven: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
Great review, this will be the usual car when the edition kits run out. Mercedes has the field to itself for a few months before the replacements for the rivals arrive, the interiors are plush and the 9 speed gearbox allows for bragging rights, even if the gear is barely used. The graphics on the tablet are a downer and the bezel is too wide for 2016.
|27th June 2016, 12:23||#10|
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Re: Driven: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
Great review there! Thanks for sharing
GLC was one missing link in their portfolio, and with the no. of models on offer, Mercedes is almost like the Suzuki of the luxury space (in India). Personally, I feel their newer designs have loads of charm and youthfulness, except for that old iPad Mini type of screen sticking out.
|27th June 2016, 13:33||#11|
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Re: Driven: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
Great First Drive Report again by the Team BHP Team. Though it looks like y'all got pretty limited time with the car.
The GLC wears the new family face pretty well, though somehow I feel the side profile looks a little station-wagonish(read: unexciting), with that bulky rear and overly droopy nose.
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|27th June 2016, 14:47||#12|
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Re: Driven: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
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Last edited by GTO : 28th June 2016 at 10:28.
|27th June 2016, 23:44||#13|
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Re: Driven: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
Beautiful car and the pricing will make this sell in good numbers ! By good numbers i mean in luxury car terms !
Interestingly, my cousin got his ML 250 2.5 years back for 52Lakhs ex showroom !! That car now sells as the GLE for an ex showroom price of 62L or so !! The GLC was obviously built keeping in mind the Q5, it looks so similar in terms of its softroader stance and size.
|28th June 2016, 08:50||#14|
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Re: Driven: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
Thanks for the nice review. . I think the GLC is the best looking car in its class.
With the knowledge that Mercedes will be launching this car in 2016, I had researched it extensively when I was in the market for a luxury crossover in December last year. I eventually bought the X3 30d. I was a bit put off by the lethargic diesel and relatively lower driving pleasure compared to the X3. Also discounts on the X3 meant that I got the X3 30d for almost the same price as the current GLC 220d.
I think it sucks that the CKD versions lose out on many features compared the CBU. Why should that be? When you are paying so much money its not nice to know that the earlier batches had so many goodies, that you'll be missing out on. Things like memory seats are a must in this class. Its generation old rivals have it. You can't skimp out on these! If the CBU versions have it, why not the CKD? Baffling!
The fuel cap says 98 RON with 95 RON in brackets. Does that mean it runs best on 98 RON and can do with 95 RON when 98 is unavailable? That's not good news is it? Many VAG Cars like the TSIs mention 95/91 RON , so they are OK with 91 but best with 95. I am sure the petrol GLC's performance is going to be stunted with our regular 91 octane and hope there is no long term problem damage to the engine running on 91 all the time.
How was the column stalk mounted gear lever to use? For people used to right side indicator stalks, do you think they'll accidentally tip the gear lever instead?!!
Last edited by Santoshbhat : 28th June 2016 at 08:53.
|28th June 2016, 10:44||#15|
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I cannot comment on the gear lever as I normally drive a VW so my mind is Euro oriented from the start. Anyway, the lever cannot be moved without activating the brakes. It only actuates, Park, Neutral, Drive and Reverse.
Last edited by ajmat : 28th June 2016 at 10:47.
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