Published on April 23rd, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4-Matic test drive review
It is the right time to be looking at a luxury SUV?
This is an imposing vehicle with muscular lines that make it look larger than its actual footprint. The roofline and the wide stance gives it added girth and this is probably why it has sold more than expected since launch.
Now, the good people at Mercedes-Benz AG has face-lifted this luxury SUV and are offering two engine variants for our market. The GLC 200 and the GLC 300 4-Matic. We are test driving the more expensive of the two and it is far from a run-of-the-mill family SUV and we are not merely referring to its looks.
The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is the same unit that you would find in Mercedes-Benz C-Class and E-Class sedan, but it has been refined and retuned to suit the needs of this larger and heavier SUV.
With this facelift, the engine continues to be smooth in its delivery and the power delivery is more linear rather than only kicking in at the high end. The engine is mated to a smooth, 9-speed automatic transmission, which then delivers the power to all four wheels when needed.
With a retuned 2-liter engine in the GLC 300 4-Matic, there is 258 horsepower against the 197 horsepower that the GLC 200 delivers. The result is a vehicle that feels light on its feet, despite its near 1.9-tonne weight.
The handling reflects this. Large 20-inch rims wrapped in sticky rubber help to keep the GLC 300 on the road. Traction control is barely noticeable if and when it decides to operate, the only real sign being the flashing warning light. The truth of it is that even if you were to start losing grip at the front or rear, the AWD system will automatically allocate torque to the wheels with the most grip in order to keep you on the road- which makes the traction control more of a formality than a necessity. Steering is well weighted and responsive, offering precision when threading through corners. This GLC 300 4-Matic seems nearly unflappable, even when driven on our rain soaked uneven roads. It is a sign that the engineers have definitely managed to close the gap to their luxury sedans when it comes to ride and handling.
Much like the other luxury car manufacturers out there, Mercedes-Benz strives to create a distinct look that people can easily identify as being unique to the brand. On the inside, this Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC is sold with either the Exclusive Line and AMG Line packages, respectively. This SUV comes with the illuminated door sills whereby the word “Mercedes-Benz” is illuminated in brilliant white, set in an elegantly machined stainless steel panel on the door sill. The ARTICO Leather upholstery makes the seats even more sophisticated which turns into the space for experiences. The MBUX is complemented by a fully-digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster with display styles – “Classic”, “Progressive” and “Sporty”. The touch-operated media display, on the other hand is 10.25-inch in size, with the resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC features a suspension for higher ground clearance. The damping is controlled individually for each wheel according to the driving situation, vehicle speed and the condition of the road surface. The AGILITY CONTROL suspension with selective damping system in the GLC 300 4MATIC combines balanced ride comfort and high driving stability. Thanks to the passive damping system, the driver will benefit from superior ride comfort on every road surface. Ride characteristics, damping effects and stabilisation are continuously and automatically adapted to the condition of the road surface.
Fact, this is a Mercedes SUV and this alone is enough for some Malaysians to visit showrooms nationwide during normal economic times. Yes, the market downturn due to COVID-19 will impact some sales but we all know that the Mercedes-Benz buyer has reserves available for a new vehicle at the right discount. So, does it really matter what we think about its behind the wheel experience? Nope!
The segment buyer almost and most of the time never really bothers what any test drive review says. They have seen the GLC on the road, they like the way it shines under the afternoon sun and the Mercedes-Benz badge makes the sale all that easier.
Still, let us share our two cents. It is a comfortable cabin. You get all the necessary features which is shared from the E-Class 300 sedan which sells for RM378,888 and the AMG Line 300 version which sells for a little higher at RM399,888. So, for most Malaysians, a SUV is preferred over a sedan and this is why this RM349,888 SUV seems a better buy.
It is an SUV that drives like a well-sorted hot hatch when it ‘Sport’ mode, with the comfort one would expect from a luxury car marque. Leave the drive mode in ‘Comfort’ and the response is still entertaining but the suspension setting is not happy to go over some of our badly maintained roads. On smooth tarmac it is fine.
We found the ‘Sports’ setting to be best for our needs as fuel consumption is not really an issue, given the bank balance of the GLC 300 4-Matic buyer and the current low petrol prices at the pump.
However, sales in coming months will be slow in all segments and the need for a new luxury SUV might only come from stock market speculators or SME owners who managed to get their government low interest loans approved.
Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4-Matic Specifications
Engine: Inline 4, turbocharged
Max power: 258bhp @ 6100rpm
Max torque: 370Nm @1300-4000Nm
Top Speed: 240km/h
0-100 km/h: 6.2 secs
Selling Price: RM349,888.