Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d AMG Line On Test
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
With SUVs undoubtedly being the flavour of the month, Mercedes-Benz has been missing out. The well-established larger models (now badged GLE and GLS) have suited many, but those buyers seeking premium quality in a smaller package have been forced to look elsewhere.
That all changed with the introduction of the GLC model on test here. Having driven all of the car's obvious rivals, namely the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Jaguar F-PACE and Volvo XC60, I was keen to find out whether Mercedes has created a credible contender for class honours.
The GLC is closely related to the C-Class saloon and indeed shares much of its engine range. At the time of writing that means choosing between three diesel and two petrol motors.
The mid-range 204hp four-cylinder diesel fitted to my test car may just be the pick of the range. Mated to a silky smooth nine-speed automatic gearbox, acceleration is brisk. The headline sprint from 0 to 62mph takes just 7.6 seconds and with 500Nm of torque available, there is plenty of power on tap for safe overtaking.
Real world economy impresses too, with just over 40mpg showing on the trip computer after 500+ miles of mixed motoring. The official combined figure is stated as 56.5mpg. CO2 emissions are commendably low at 129g/km, so no huge tax burden for the company car driver.
Helping to put the power down safely is the Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC four-wheel drive system. Although designed primarily for tarmac driving, the GLC boasts enough ability to cope with a little light off-roading. I tackled a few muddy tracks, some wet grass and a little sand without any difficulty. I doubt any would-be owner will demand more.
The GLC was fitted with an optional air suspension system (£1,495) and I would suggest this is money well spent. In 'Comfort' mode, the suspension irons out the lumps and bumps of our city streets and when free from urban constraints, selecting 'Sport' mode sharpens up the handling. Safe and secure is the order of the day and those seeking a little more driving enjoyment will be well advised to try the Jaguar F-PACE.
The GLC's cabin mimics the C-Class to a tee and there is much to commend. Premium in feel, the GLC is undoubted a lovely car to drive and to travel in. All the controls work with precision and the quality of materials used is first rate.
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As expected, all GLC models come well equipped but even in high spec AMG Line trim there is ample scope for personalisation. On top of the £40,675 asking price, the test car had been specified with an additional £9,000 worth of options.
The Interior Premium Plus package is responsible for £2,995 of this and is probably worth adding. With it comes an opening panoramic glass sunroof, memory function for the driver and passenger seats, an upgraded 8.4-inch high resolution touch screen and ambient lighting.
The Driver Assistance package (£1,695) is also hard to ignore. It comprises of adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assistance, blind spot monitoring and cross-traffic assistance.
I suppose as nobody pays cash for a car these days, the addition of these packs will not add a huge amount to monthly PCP or company car lease payments.
Thanks to a raft of safety equipment, the GLC scored five stars from safety gurus Euro NCAP. The child safety and occupant protection scores of 89% and 95% respectively are extremely impressive.
So where does the GLC fit in the luxury SUV hierarchy?
The BMW X3 has just been replaced and should score highly in the driver enjoyment stakes. Jaguar's F-PACE is also a great driver's choice.
The latest Audi Q5 majors on comfort and ease of use and has a premium interior that is hard to beat, though perhaps the Volvo XC60 does just that!
The GLC falls somewhere in between and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It is well styled, equipped with all the latest technology, beautifully made and boasts strong performance and economy. It may just be exactly what you are looking for.
Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 d 4MATIC AMG LINE
Price £40,675 ((£49,085 with options)
2,143cc diesel engine (204 hp/500Nm of torque)
Nine-speed automatic transmission
0-62mph in 7.6 seconds
Top speed 138mph
Combined economy 56.5mpg
Emissions 129g/km CO2
Insurance Group 40
Warranty 3 years unlimited mileage
Trailer load 2,500kg (braked), 750kg (unbraked)
Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d AMG Line On Test, 6th November 2017, 17:15 PM