Not available in India, the C-Class sedan’s boxy SUV derivative, the Mercedes-Benz GLK has just been replaced by a curvier, smarter and smoother looking 2016 GLC that showcases the future design language on the automaker’s future lineup of SUVs. Now named as the GLC as per the manufacturer’s new nomenclature to match closely with the C-Class, the SUV couldn’t be any more important the folks of Stuttgart with a right-hand drive model and a coupe in the pipeline. If you didn’t read between the lines, both the GLC and GLC Coupe will head to India eventually, sometime next year.
To begin with, the 2016 Mercedes GLC is based on the new Modular Rear Architecture shared with the new C-Class and is lighter by 50 kgs courtesy of the use of high-strength steel and aluminum, but has also now grown in dimensions. The SUV has grown 4.7 inches in length, 2 inches in width and 0.3 inches in height, while the wheelbase has increased by 2.36 inches that translates into improved cabin space. What also stands of importance are the 28-degree approach and departure angles on the luxury SUV.
A big leap forward from the squared-off GLK, the 2016 GLC pleases the eye in far more ways than one. The large twin-slat silver grille dominates the front with the very familiar three-pointed star logo boldly resting in the centre. The front fascia is now lit up by the optional full LEDs and also gets integrated DRLs and a muscularly sculpted hood. At the sides, the wheel arches are more prominent now and the roofline curves at the rear meeting the beltline. There is still some of that boxy feel to the rear profile, but not as dominating as its predecessor. The rear is done up tastefully with the wide wraparound LED tail lights and a bulged tailgate with the registration plate holder in the centre. The rear bumper gets done up in black with a chrome lining and rectangular twin exhausts.
Inside the cabin, the 2016 Mercedes GLC is as luxurious as its sedan version and is radically different from the older GLK. So you get, a new flowing styled centre console that extends up to the armrest in the centre with a 7.0 inch touchscreen floating touchscreen infotainment system on top of the dashboard and a touchpad COMAND controller. It’s a luxurious affair all round the cabin with the linear grain wood finish and piano black inserts. There is also the optional walnut brown and ash black inserts available to take the finish a notch higher. Space is comparable to the current GLK but with improved comfort levels and a little more legroom. Further, you get 40:20:40 split seats at the rear and a boot capacity of 1600 litres.
Featuring a dynamic feature list, the Mercedes GLC gets multicolour ambient lighting, heated steering wheel and rear seats; a head-up display, fragrance atomization, panoramic sunroof, active parking system with steering assist, 360-degree parking camera with front and rear cross-path visualization. Then there is Dynamic Select with Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and the customizable Individual driving modes. You also get radar cruise control, Rocking Assist Program that increases the height by 50 mm and Off-Road, Incline and Trailer modes. A quirky addition is the opening of the tailgate which can be done by waving your foot under the bumper.
Safety is of the highest prominence in every Mercedes and the GLC is no less. You get Attention Assist and Collision Prevention Assist Plus as standard, while the Driving Assistance Package adds a handful of electronic aids including Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian detection, BAS Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. There is also the new Pre-Safe Plus that helps detect an impending rear-end collision and will take adequate protection measures. Lastly, there is also a surround camera system on offer.
The 2015 Mercedes GLC will be sold in two variants for now in the US including the rear-wheel drive GLC 300 and AWD GLC 4MATIC. Both the versions get a diesel heart with the lower 300 using a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine producing 241 HP at 5500 RPM and 370 Nm of torque between 1300-4000 RPM. The unit comes paired to Mercedes’ new 9-speed automatic transmission. The European markets will get an abundance of variants including the GLC 250 4MATIC, GLC 220d 4MATIC and GLC 250d 4MATIC with power coming from a 2.1-litre diesel motor. There are no V6 units on offer as of now.
So, the Mercedes GLC looks promising in design as well as luxurious in appeal and will be able to give a tough fight to the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and the Volvo XC60 in the segment. With a showcase at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September this year, the order books for the new GLC are open across Europe with deliveries set to commence in November. Mercedes will also be adding a spectacular AMG variant to the GLC’s lineup early next year that is expected to spruce up the power quotient further with a thunderous V8 or maybe a twin-turbocharged V6. Which one would you prefer?