Published on February 2nd, 2016 | by Subhash Nair0
Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 4MATIC Review: Premium-Flavoured Practicality
The Mercedes-Benz GLC arrived a little late to the game to add a little Benz flavour to the SUV market in Malaysia. It landed on our shores earlier this year along with its bigger brothers, the GLE and GLE Coupe. And unlike the familiar GLA, the all-new GLC is able to deliver on the promises of ‘spaciousness’ typically expected of this body style. But there’s a lot more to this car than having a big boot. Let’s start with that new Mercedes design language.
Unlike Lexus and Audi, Mercedes-Benz believes in curves – and we can see why. Though lacking in distinct character (there’s no denying the fact that all their cars have the same face), the contours of the GLC are a marvel to behold through the camera lens and in real life.
There is emotion massaged into every exterior surface – each crease and bend in the metal speaks volumes. It’s nothing short of a sculpture on wheels.
The paintwork is sublime as well. Yes, the shade of brown our test car came in is slightly lighter than shown in these pictures, but we chose to add a slightly darker filter in post production as it properly showed the effect of light hitting the surface of the paint. Of course German carmakers have been using this combination of expensive paint and high-tech sheet metal forming to come up with some incredible work for about a decade now.
But it’s still nice to see Mercedes push the technology and design work in this very interesting and classy direction. In a world where even Korean and Chinese manufacturers have gotten the hang of good design, Mercedes-Benz have managed to squeeze out of the pack and distinguish itself once again. It’s a muscular design which manages to still look low to the ground from the front.
On the inside, there’s plenty of high-quality finishes and a layout not dissimilar to that found on the current C-Class. Not a surprise considering the other mechanical similarities between the two. Unlike the exterior, the interior isn’t perfect. The centre-mounted display isn’t the best we’ve seen, and almost looks like an afterthought. With its wide bezels, low ppi count and less-than-fluid animations, the display really brings the level of excellence down a notch. Elsewhere though, there’s plenty to be impressed with.
Material choices are excellent. The chrome-finished parts feel like they’re solid pieces of metal, plastics used have a great texture and thickness, glossy highlights help to keep things exciting, and there’s the same sculpted feel in the cabin as there is on the outside.
It’s also worth noting that the door card/panel is one of the best laid-out, and functional we’ve seen on any car. It’s a Mercedes trademark to stick the seat controls up on the door and we think it’s absolutely brilliant.
How does it drive? Fantastic. Mercedes-Benz have certainly made good use of their 2-litre engine. Torque is immediate and the power band is nice and linear. It’s not a supercar, but as far as SUVs go, the GLC will not disappoint. It has the dynamics of its C-Class sibling, with suspension tuned to provide both comfort and agility. Great as a highway cruiser, city slicker or even for tackling unfavourable terrain as the 4MATIC system feeds power to all four wheels all of the time.
Surprisingly, moving 1735kg on all four wheels has done little to damage the car’s overall fuel efficiency. If you’re light-footed, the 9 (that’s right NINE) speed automatic will return an impressive 13.5km/l. That’s on par with smaller hatchbacks! Don’t be tempted to put it into ‘Sport’ Mode if fuel savings is what you’re after though. This car can give you performance worthy of the Benz name, but gun it and you’ll soon find yourself at a petrol station. Of course if you’re in the market for an SUV like this, it’s practicality you’re after not raw performance.
In that regard, the GLC also scores well too. The detachable tonneau cover for the boot helps conceal luggage in the capacious boot from prying eyes. The rear seats just as comfortable and spacious as the ones in the front and can be folded flat from the trunk with a simple button press.
A powered trunk lid was also extremely nice to see on the GLC. It adds a premium touch to the car and allows one to look really cool in shopping mall car parks.
The sunroof isn’t quite panoramic. Instead, it’s split into two sections – a fixed moonroof for the rear passengers and a larger, retractable moonroof in front. With a touch of a button, a fabric shade can be extended for both glass pieces. It’s also worth noting that rear passengers have retractable window shades for added comfort.
When it comes to infotainment, the GLC is a little bit hit-or-miss. It has everything one would want. There’s seamless Bluetooth connectivity and useable navigation. COMAND works, but it’s certainly not the car’s biggest selling point. Not having a dedicated steering mounted button for skipping tracks was the biggest complaint.
There are context-sensitive button on the steering for this function, so it’s not a deal breaker. Sound quality is absolutely top-notch. The GLC we tested came equipped with a state-of-the-art Burmester sound system. Not only does it sound amazing, the speaker grilles mounted on the doors have a finish to them that help to elevate the overall quality of the interior. We loved it.
All-in-all, we were impressed with the new addition to the Mercedes line of products. Stunning to behold and great to drive, the GLC is a near-faultless premium SUV that manages to blend the best of the brand in a bodystyle that more and more buyers seem to prefer. For that, it deserves a very warm welcome into the Malaysian market.
Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 4MATIC Specifications
Engine: Turbocharged 4-cylinder
Transmission: 9-Speed 9G-TRONIC with Permanent All-Wheel Drive
Max power: 208hp @ 5500RPM
Max torque: 350Nm @ 1200-4000RPM
Top Speed: 222km/h
0-100km/h: 7.3 secs