Mercedes-Benz GLC 2020 review: 300 Coupe
The Mercedes GLC 300 Coupe looks like it means business, but can you fit everyone in there? Here's why it surprised our family reviewer with its interior space.
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In the 21st century Jaguar has finally mastered the art of recognising it’s star-studded back catalogue without getting stuck in the past. And if you need evidence of that, look no further than the subject of this review.
Emerging in 2016, the F-Pace emphatically moved beyond the famously British maker’s walnut and leather heritage that had held it in a design and engineering time warp for so long.
As the name implies, the R Sport 25T leans on sporty looks and driver engagement to go along with the five-seater’s day-to-day practicality promise. So, how does this ‘around $80K’ machine, with the growling cat on the grille measure up?
|Jaguar F-Pace 2020: 25T R-Sport AWD (184KW)|
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
Priced at $80,167, before on-road costs, the F-Pace R Sport 25T lines up against a slew of premium, mid-size SUVs from Europe and Japan, including the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti ($78,900), Audi Q5 45 TFSI Quattro Sport ($74,500), BMW X3 xDrive30i M Sport ($81,900), Lexus RX350 Luxury ($81,890), Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic ($79,700), Range Rover Velar P250 S ($82,012), and Volvo XC60 T6 R-Design ($78,990).
For that many dollars, and In that company, you’d be expecting a handsome standard equipment list, and this F-Pace comes to the party with, perforated leather seats with contrast stitching (Luxtec faux leather on the doors and dashtop), an R-Sport leather-trimmed steering wheel, 10-way electric sports front seats (with driver memory and four-way electric lumbar adjust), plus a 10-inch ‘Touch Pro’ multimedia screen (with voice control).
Then you can add, dual-zone climate control (with adjustable rear vents), satellite navigation, 380W/11-speaker Meridian audio (with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support), keyless entry and start, 19-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, auto headlights, LED DRLs and tail-lights, front and rear fog lights, heated and power folding exterior mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, Illuminated front (metal) treadplates, and ‘Ebony’ suede cloth headlining.
That’s a decent bunch of features, but for a car positioned beyond the $80K mark there were a few surprises. For example, the headlights are xenon rather than LED, the steering column adjusts manually (electric adjustment - $1060), and digital radio is an option ($950), as is a hands-free tailgate ($280).
In fact, the options list is as long as your arm, and as well as digital radio our test example featured several, like the Driver Assist Pack (see Safety section - $4795), a fixed ‘Panoramic Roof’ ($3570), ‘Firenze Red’ metallic paint ($1890) ‘Black Pack R-Sport’ (gloss black side vents with R-Sport badge, gloss black grille and surround, plus body-coloured door claddings, with gloss black finishers - $1430), privacy glass ($950), and heated front seats ($840). Even a remote release for the rear seats costs $120 extra. Which adds up to an all-in price of $94,712, before on-road costs. And there are around 50 other options available, either individually or as part of a pack.
The car in its standard form is pretty well equipped for the money. Just make sure to clarify exactly what you’re after and investigate the standard equipment and options lists carefully.
Few automotive brands can match Jaguar’s emotional appeal, and few automotive designers seem to understand that as well as Ian Callum. As Jaguar design director for 20 years (1999 to 2019), he was able to capture the essence of the brand and deftly express it in a modern way.
With the F-Type sports car (and the various concept models preceding it) Callum created a design language consisting of tightly wrapped curves, beautifully balanced proportions, and instantly recognisable details.
And that approach transferred seamlessly to the larger F-Pace SUV canvas. The big honeycomb grille, sleek headlights, and gaping side vents create a new-look Jaguar face, while tipping its hat to various classic models.
And I for one, think the current Jaguar tail-light design is genius. Taking the slim form of the early E-Type’s cluster, and morphing its circular reflector into a small curve that cuts into the body below the main stop light is a wonderfully creative blending of old and new.
The interior follows the exterior’s curvy form, with a small hood over the two main (circular analogue) instruments, and a 5.0-inch TFT screen between them. The signature rotary gear selector points to the F-Pace’s relative age, with the more recent compact E-Pace SUV moving to a more conventional shifter.
A hint of F-Type is included in the shape of a raised hood in the dash top over the air vents at the top of the centre stack, and contrast stitching on the neatly tailored leather seats is a high-end touch. The overall look and feel is relatively low-key, but quality all the way.
At just over 4.7m long, a little under 2.1m wide, and close to 1.7m tall, the F-Pace is sizeable without crossing the borderline into huge. But a close to 2.9m wheelbase is ample to accommodate just the two rows of seats.
There’s plenty of headroom in the front, even with our car’s optional sunroof in place, and there’s enough storage to get by, with a good size lidded box between the seats (doubling as an armrest and housing twin USB-A ports, a micro-SIM slot and 12V outlet), two big cupholders in the centre console, small cubbies neatly scalloped into either side of the console (perfect for a phone and/or keys), an overhead sunglasses holder, and a modest glove box (with pen holder!). Door bins are small, but offer capacity for standard drink bottles.
Move to the back and that lengthy wheelbase and lofty overall height deliver heaps of space. Sitting behind the driver’s seat, set for my 183cm (6.0ft) position, I enjoyed generous leg and headroom, with enough width for three adults abreast on short to medium journeys.
Backseaters are also provided with adjustable air vents, another two USB-A (charge only) inputs and a 12V socket, so no problems keeping devices charged and occupants happy. There are also netted pockets on the front seat backs, a small storage shelf in the back of the centre console, two cupholders in the fold-down centre armrest, and small door pockets with just enough room for some bits and pieces and a drink bottle.
Boot space weighs in at 508 litres (VDA), which is in the ballpark in this size segment, opening up to no less than 1740 litres with the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats lowered. There are handy bag hooks, tie-down anchors (x4), an elasticised storage area (behind the passenger side wheel tub) and yet another 12V outlet back there, too.
Towing capacity is 2400kg for a braked trailer (750kg unbraked) with a 175kg coupling weight, and ‘Trailer Stability Assist’ is standard. But a tow hitch receiver will set you back $1000.
The F-Pace R Sport 25T is powered by a 2.0-litre, turbo-petrol version of Jaguar Land Rover’s modular ‘Ingenium’ engine, based on multiples of the same 500cc cylinder design.
This ‘AJ200’ unit features an aluminium block and head with cast iron cylinder liners, direct injection, electro hydraulically-controlled variable intake and exhaust valve lift, and a single, twin-scroll turbo. It produces 184kW at 5500rpm, and 365Nm from 1300-4500rpm.
Drive goes to all four wheels via a (ZF-sourced) eight-speed automatic transmission, and the ‘Intelligent Driveline Dynamics’ all-wheel drive system consisting of an electro hydraulic multi-plate wet clutch, controlled by a centrifugal electro-hydraulic actuator.
Lots of tricky words, but the aim is seamless shifting of torque between the front and rear axles, which Jag claims takes as little as 100 milliseconds. Even a full shift of power from 100 per cent rear to 100 per cent front takes just 165 milliseconds.
Claimed fuel economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 7.4 litres/100kmL/100km, the R Sport 25T emitting 170g/km of CO2 in the process.
In our week with the car, over a combination of city, suburban and freeway conditions (including some enthusiastic B-road running) we recorded an average of 9.8L/100km, which is pretty good for a 1.8-tonne SUV
Minimum fuel requirement is 95 RON premium unleaded, and you’ll need 82 litres of it to fill the tank.
The Jaguar F-Pace received a maximum five-star ANCAP assessment in 2017, and although the R Sport 25T boasts a broad suite of active and passive safety systems, some important tech sits in the options column, rather than on the standard specifications list.
To help you avoid a crash, there are the expected features like ABS, BA, and EBD, as well as stability and traction controls. While more recent innovations like AEB (10-80km/h) and lane keeping assist are also included.
A reversing camera, cruise control (with speed limiter), a ‘Driver condition monitor’, and tyre pressure monitoring are standard, but ‘Blind spot assist’ ($900) and a 360-degree surround camera ($2160) are options.
Adaptive cruise control (with ‘Steering Assist’) is only available as part of the ‘Driver’s Assist Pack’ ($4795) as optioned on ‘our’ car, which also adds blind spot assist, the 360-degree surround-view camera, high-speed AEB, Park Assist, a 360-degree parking aid, and rear cross-traffic alert.
If an impact is unavoidable six airbags are on-board (dual front, front side, and full-length curtain) as well as three top tether points for baby capsules/child restraints across the rear seats, with ISOFIX anchors in the two outer positions.
3 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
Jaguar’s three-year/100,000km warranty, is well off the mainstream pace, which is five-years/unlimited km, with some brands at seven years. And even in the luxury segment, Mercedes-Benz has recently dialled up the pressure with a move to five years/unlimited km.
Extended Warranty Insurance is available for 12 or 24 months, up to 200,000km.
Service is scheduled every 12 months/26,000km, and a ‘Jaguar Service Plan’ is available for a maximum five years/102,000km, for $1950, which also includes five years roadside assistance.
The F-Pace shares its ‘iQ-Al’ (Intelligent Aluminium Architecture) chassis platform with the Jaguar XE and XF, as well as Range Rover’s Velar SUV. But despite the lightweight underpinnings it still tips the scales at 1831kg, which isn’t excessively hefty for a car of this size and type, but isn’t exactly lightweight either.
Nonetheless, Jaguar claims the R Sport 25T will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.0sec flat, which is satisfyingly rapid, the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four delivering its not inconsiderable 365Nm of maximum torque from just 1300rpm, all the way to 4500rpm.
So, there’s always plenty of oomph available, with the smooth eight-speed auto doing its bit to keep revs in that optimum band when required. And for relaxed highway cruising the top two ratios are overdriven keeping revs down, reducing noise and lowering fuel consumption.
But relaxed cruising isn’t the primary name of this F-Pace’s game. Sure, Jag will sell you a loopy SVR version with a 400+kW supercharged V8 under the bonnet. But as its R Sport name implies, this is a warm rather than scalding hot take on the sporty F-Pace formula.
Suspension is double wishbone front, ‘Integral Link’ multi-link rear, with ‘Continuously Variable Dampers’ all around. The tricky shocks are a triple-tube design with externally mounted hydraulic valves able to fine-tune response on the fly.
Ride comfort, even in the firmest ‘Sport’ setting is great, despite medium-profile 255/55 Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber wrapped around the big standard 19-inch rims.
Steering is electrically-assisted, variable ratio rack and pinion and it points nicely, transferring good road feel without any major bumps or shocks.
The combination of well-weighted steering, well buttoned-down body control, and raspy exhaust note makes for an enjoyable backroad driving partner, most likely when family driving duties take a back seat (or not?).
Default drive balance is 90 percent of torque to the rear axle, for a traditional rear-wheel drive feel, with as much as 100 percent going to the back wheels under full acceleration on a dry surface. But the AWD system constantly monitors traction levels and will feed drive to the front axle as required.
In fact, Jaguar claims the system can transition from 100 per cent rear-bias to a 50/50 torque split in 165 milliseconds.
The sweet spot set-up for around-town is engine and transmission in Sport (sharper throttle response with more urgent shift patterns), with the suspension in ‘Comfort.’
Brakes are 325mm ventilated discs all around and they deliver strong, progressive stopping power.
Although we didn’t venture off-road, those keen on doing so should know the car’s approach angle is 18.7 degrees, departure is 19.1 degrees, ramp angle is 17.3 degrees. maximum wading depth is 500mm, and ground clearance is 161mm.
Under the heading of general notes, the ‘Touch Pro’ media system is easy to use, although it’s a bit flaky when you have a smartphone already connected and re-start the car, sometimes making it necessary to reconnect the device for (in this case) Apple CarPlay to fire up.
Ergonomics are good, despite a relatively high button count (or maybe because of it), and the sports front seats feel as good as they look, even on longer trips.
Great looks, useful practicality, and composed dynamics help the Jaguar F-Pace R Sport 25T stand up proudly in a hotly contested segment. It combines classic Jaguar refinement and driving enjoyment with a modern design twist. But we’d like to see some active safety tech options included, the ownership package is well off the pace, and the standard features column is missing a few expected items.
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|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||8|