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Mercedes-Benz GLC 2015 review

EXPERT RATING
8
Richard Berry road tests and reviews the Mercedes-Benz GLC with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at it's australian launch

The missing link in Mercedes-Benz’s Australian SUV line-up is here. The new GLC sits above the GLA and below the GLE and gives Aussies looking for a mid-sized premium SUV more choice than just the BMW X3 or Audi Q5.

The X3 and Q5 have had a bit of a free run in this class Down Under, with the GLC’s GLK predecessor only being produced in left-hand drive and therefore never making it to Australia.

Bigger and curvier than the boxy GLK, the GLC's name reflects Benz’s new nomenclature where GL refers to it being an SUV and the C points to the sedan class it’s based on.

The GLC has been launched in three trim levels - each aligning to a different engine - starting with the diesel 220d for $64,500, stepping up to the petrol 250 for $67,900 and topping out with the more powerful diesel 250d at $69,900. The diesel models both fly under the Luxury Car Tax radar due to their relative fuel efficiency.

For reference, Audi’s Q5 range starts at $62,200 and BMW’s X3 at $61,100. However, the Merc's extra few dollars aren't likely to worry buyers at this end of the market.

Benz specs its Australian models generously and even the base 220d is well equipped with standard features such as active LED headlights, 7-inch touch screen with satnav, digital radio, auto parking system, adjustable dampers, and 19-inch alloys. The standard safety kit is impressive too with 360-degree camera, nine airbags, blind spot warning and collision alert system with partial braking.

The 250 and 250d add leather upholstery (stepping up from the synthetic leather in the 220d), adaptive cruise control, lane guidance, auto emergency braking, foot kick tailgate opening function and 20-inch alloys.

The 2.1-litre diesel in the 220d makes 125kW/400Nm while the same engine in the 250d is tuned to produce 150kW/500Nm. The petrol engine in the 250 straddles the diesels with 155kW and 350Nm.

The diesel models both fly under the Luxury Car Tax radar

All three GLC specs are all-wheel drive and fitted with a smooth-as-butter nine-speed torque converter auto.  

On the road

The GLK's angular appearance had its fans overseas, but the row of GLCs on show at its Australian launch are a sight to behold with their curves and sleekness.

Visibility through the windscreen is excellent – cinematic even

You could argue that it’s appearance was predictable given the family resemblance to the rest of Benz’s line-up, but the same thing can be said for the X3 or Q5. There’s the bold grille, the tough stance and wraparound taillights - but when scaled down for the GLC it’s far prettier.

Starting in the base 220d, first impressions are of how serenely quiet it is – a combination of a refined diesel engine and great sound insulation. Next impression: visibility through the windscreen is excellent – cinematic even.

With twisting country roads egging us on, we push 220d harder. Nobody expects this car to handle quite like a Porsche Macan – because it’s not one. That said, the GLC's grip surpirsed me as we come through a particularly fast sweeping right hander with no hint of understeer or threat that this could end upside down.

The handling is good, but it’s the ride where the GLC excels – comfortable with well sorted suspension.

  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLC 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLC
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLC 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLC
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLC 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLC
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLC 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLC

Slipping into the petrol 250 adds a tad more power and the same impressive handling and wonderful ride. The petrol is the pick for me – city buyers will probably prefer its more responsive throttle.

The 250d ups the torque – which in my books can only be a very good thing and climbs hills like a champion.

The GLC shares much of its platform with the C-Class, and the cabin is just as plush as the sedan with many shared interior elements.

With this cabin and that ride this truly is the C-Class of Benz’s SUVs, but with the bonus of an elevated driving position. There’s also so much room that the C-Class Estate should probably feel threatened, especially as the wagon is more expensive than its new SUV family member. And it should be worried – the 550 litre boot in the GLC outdoes the Estate’s 490 litres and matches the X3 and Q5.

Verdict

The wait for a mid-sized Benz SUV has been worth it. The GLC is such a quality offering that is every bit as good as a C-Class sedan - from the cabin finish to the ride - all with the higher driving position and extra space that an SUV brings.

Would the GLC tempt you away from the X3 or Q5? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

 

Pricing Guides

$52,999
Based on 45 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$44,900
Highest Price
$65,888

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GLC250 2.0L, PULP, 9 SP AUTO $46,490 – 65,888 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLC-CLASS 2015 GLC250 Pricing and Specs
GLC220 d 2.1L, Diesel, 9 SP AUTO $44,900 – 55,684 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLC-CLASS 2015 GLC220 d Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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