Mercedes-Benz has officially unveiled the GLC-Class SUV with a complete redesign and a full suite of the automaker’s latest technologies. Last year the luxury carmaker announced it would reorganize its model names so that it would make more sense of it letter designations. One affected model, the mid-size GLK has been replaced with the GLC.
The new GLC, coming out as a 2016 model, takes a completely different styling direction, losing the boxy look of the GLK in favor of a raked roofline at the rear hatch. The rear design in particular looks similar to that found on Audi and Infiniti SUVs. The front, however, retains some brawn, the grille sporting a twin blade rather than the single blade of Mercedes-Benz’s more sport-oriented models.
LED headlights will be available on the GLC, and include automatic high beams, which seamlessly transition their throw patterns depending on ambient light and traffic. An available sensor package with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, pre-collision warning system, and
With new name and look also comes a new powertrain. No longer available with a V6 engine, the only motor available at launch in the US is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 241 hp at 5,500 rpm and 273 lb-ft of torque at 1,300-4,000 rpm. That’s about 60 less ponies but the same torque as the V6-powered 2015 model year GLK.
The US will initially get two variants: the GLC300 is the rear-wheel drive model, the GLC 300 4MATIC is all-wheel drive version. Both versions of the crossover get a nine-speed automatic transmission. At a later date, a diesel and plug-in hybrid version of the GLC will make its way to North American shores.
This new powertrain is expected to help improve fuel efficiency, although no official numbers have been shared at this time. Also helping to improve the fuel usage of the new vehicle is a slimmer curb-weight and improved aerodynamics. Even though the new car is lighter than the outgoing GLK, the GLC is larger in just about every dimension. The GLC is taller, wider, longer and features a larger wheelbase. This helps give the crossover an additional 2.2 inches of rear-seat legroom. Front seat passengers benefit with additional shoulder and elbow room.
The new GLC also has more cargo capacity as a result of better space and interior design packing when compared to the GLK. Maximum cargo space is now 20.5 cubic feet – somewhere between an Audi Q3 and Q5. Loading stuff into the rear cargo area becomes an easy task with assistance of the hands-free access of the tailgate and lowering the crossover’s height when equipped with the adaptive air suspension.
The GLC features a totally new chassis and suspension that promises offer excellent driving dynamics and agility. Standard is the AGILITY CONTROL suspension that has steel springs and a variable damping system. Optional suspension packages are offered to enhance either the sporting nature or off-road capabilities of Mercedes’ new SUV. A smoother ride and better handling can be achieved with the optional electronically controlled air suspension system, AIR BODY CONTROL with ADS Plus. The fully adjustable air suspension system adjust ride height and damping settings, while continuously monitoring and adapting the shock rates to provide optimum performance in whichever setting the driver chooses: ECO, COMFORT, SPORT, SPORT+, or personal settings.
Now that the GLC is no longer the entry-level point of the Mercedes-Benz crossover/SUV lineup, it is offered with high-class appointments and trim including Nappa leather and open-pore wood. Other amenities like a panoramic sunroof and large 17-inch infotainment display monitor are also available.
For those readers who will really like the outgoing GLK, here is our first drive of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL SUV: