The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLC will be priced from $64,500 plus on-road costs when it launches in Australia on December 1.
The GLC is shaping up as Mercedes-Benz’s most important all-new model in years — an overdue, and desperately needed, medium SUV to rival the popular Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Land Rover Discovery Sport. It also undercuts equivalent versions of the C-Class wagon on which it is based.
The company’s local arm has had to watch impatiently for years as its German foes scooped up buyers, driving the mid-sized luxury SUV market to years of high growth. Meantime the GLC’s predecessor, the GLK, was only ever made in left-hand-drive.
Not this time around though. The GLC is a properly global car with serious aspirations pegged to it, given it is based upon the ‘MRA’ architecture that underpins the new C-Class that continues to take all before it in the sales race.
As such, Mercedes-Benz Australia expects the GLC to be not just its top-selling SUV model (and thereby helping it leap ever further ahead of BMW and Audi in the premium sales race by addressing one of its major weak points) but also the segment’s new number one offering.
The current sales king is the Audi Q5 with 2142 registrations this year, ahead of the BMW X3 on 1644. The segment as a whole is up a massive 34.2 per cent. If the GLC beats this as planned, it’ll swiftly become Mercedes-Benz Australia’s second top-selling model full stop, behind only the C-Class (4857 sales this year).
The lion’s share of this will be incremental, though no doubt the GLC will cannibalise some C-Class buyers, notably prospective wagon shoppers.
Kicking off the GLC range will be the GLC 220d 4MATIC priced at $64,500 before on-roads — compared to $62,600 for the equivalent base diesel Q5 2.0 TDI quattro, and $64,700 for the BMW X3 xDrive 20d.
This variant, projected to comprise about half of all GLC sales at launch, uses a 2.1-litre turbo-diesel engine making 125kW/400Nm. Most rival models kick of with a petrol offering instead.
The base petrol in the GLC, though, is the GLC 250 4MATIC priced at $67,900 — it sits mid-way between the X3 xDrive 20i at $61,100 and the xDrive 28i at $73,400 — producing 155kW/350Nm (the latter from 1200rpm), again about mid-way between the two BMWs. The claimed 0-100km/h sprint time is a sprightly 7.3 seconds.
It’s also about $4000 cheaper than the equivalent C-Class wagon, the $71,400 C250.
Topping the launch range is the GLC 250d 4MATIC priced at $69,900, undercutting the Q5 3.0TDI and X3 xDrive 30d by about $8000 — though, its 150kW/500Nm 2.1-litre turbo-diesel engine has less grunt that either of its German rivals. Still, 500Nm is a healthy whack of torque.
All versions of the GLC feature 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive only, and each uses a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission to funnel torque to the wheels. The torque split is 45:55 (front:rear) on the 220d and 250 petrol, or 31:69 in the 250d.
In time, the engine range will be expanded to include to GLC 450 around mid-2016, packing a twin-turbo V6 petrol engine with 270kW/520Nm, and the range-topping Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 (likely in S guise with its 375kW 4.0 twin-turbo) in early 2017.
The company will also roll out a GLC200 petrol range-opener and rear-drive derivatives down the track, though it’s being cagey on exact timing. It could be a few years.
There’s also a Dynamic Select handling control system with five driving programs as standard. In addition to the ECO, COMFORT, SPORT, SPORT+ and INDIVIDUAL settings which are familiar from other models, there’s also an Off-Road Engineering package priced at $7500.
This comprises up to five programs including Slippery and four off-road driving programs. Off-Road mode is automated for easy off-road terrain such as gravel or sand tracks. Incline boosts climbing capabilities. In conjunction with optional ($2490 on all models) air suspension, the additional Rocking Assist program offers the last resort should the vehicle get stuck by raising the driving level by 50 millimetres and the upping wheel-slip control thresholds. The fourth off-road program, Trailer, is designed for optimum trailer towing off-road and facilitates moving off on wet grassland, for instance.
Mercedes-Benz is talking up the 4WD-only GLC’s off-road abilities, not that many Australian buyers will likely use them. It has a breakover angle of 19.7 degrees with the optional Off-Road pack and adjustable air suspension fitted, a climbing ability of 70 degrees and a fording depth of 300mm.
Despite nominally being a base model, the GLC 220d will get standard equipment such as: side steps, 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless start, electric tailgate, an LED Intelligent Light System, Garmin MAP PILOT satellite-navigation with touchpad control, electric front seats, side steps and a 360-degree view camera.
You also get nine airbags, Collision Prevention Assist Plus (low-speed autonomous braking to prevent potential collisions) and blind-spot monitoring.
The GLC 250 petrol and diesel models get additional stuff such as 20-inch wheels, keyless go, real leather seats, tinted privacy glass and the Driver Assistance Package Plus pack that offers extras such as steering (lane) assist and adaptive cruise control.
The GLC’s rear seats feature a 40/20/40 split, and can be flip-folded via latches in the rear. You can also adjust the rear rake angle to liberate extra space behind them.
The load capacity behind the rear seats is up to 580 litres (1600L with the rear seats folded flat). Added convenience for loading and unloading is provided by lowering of the load compartment sill by 40 mm with the air suspension.
All GLCs for Australia are made at the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant in Germany alongside the C-Class. There will be no South African sourcing for us, unlike with the C-Class.
Mercedes-Benz GLC pricing (plus on-road costs):