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Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class


Jaguar F-Pace

Summary

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

I’m the eldest child in my family, and the best. That’s despite not having a degree in international law and working for the United Nations saving lives like my younger sister, or being a high-flying accountant like my other sister, or running a design agency in Germany like my other sister.

But being first and best like me is the exception to the rule because normally first versions of anything aren’t as good as they can be – like the Mercedes-Benz GLC when it made its debut in 2015. Now the updated version has arrived and it’s better, much better... in some ways.

Yes, the GLC is the most popular Mercedes-Benz model in this country. It is literally the C-Class of the brand’s SUV line-up (which has changed, too).

There’s no longer a diesel, but there’s a hybrid instead, although that won’t arrive until 2020 along with the hardcore AMG versions.

Which is why at the Australian launch in October, 2019, I was only given the GLC 200 and 300 to climb all over and drive. So, while neither I nor anybody else piloted all of the types of GLCs you can buy, here’s everything you need to know about them.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.8L/100km
Seating5 seats

Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar has announced that by 2025 it will only make and sell electric vehicles. That’s less than four years away and means the F-Pace you’re thinking about buying could be the last Jaguar with an actual engine that you ever own. Heck, it could be the last car with an engine you ever own.

Let’s help you pick the right one then, because Jaguar’s just called last drinks.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.4L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class7.6/10

The updated Mercedes-Benz GLC has improved in many ways. It’s better looking, more powerful, and smarter with the addition of Hey Mercedes and new technology. The loss of the diesel won’t upset many. Benz says its customers are moving away from that fuel and the arrival of the plug-in hybrid is a step in the right, and more environmentally friendly, direction.

The GLC 300 is the sweet spot in the range. It's a bit over $10K more expensive than the 200 but comes with all-wheel drive, proximity unlocking, privacy glass and the awesome safety tech.


Jaguar F-Pace8.1/10

The F-Pace has been gifted new styling, new engines and more practicality making it an even better SUV than it already was. You could seriously pick any of the grades and be happy with your purchase. Then there’s the question of the engine…

Jaguar says there’s a few more years left in the combustion engine yet, but we know exactly how many years – four, because the company has gone on the record announcing it will go fully electric by 2025. The question for you is – how will you ring out the end of an era – with a four-cylinder petrol, a six-cylinder turbo diesel, an inline turbo six petrol or a cracking V8? 

The sweetspot in the range is the R-Dynamic SE 400, with just enough luxury and more than enough grunt.

 

Design

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class8/10

I’ve worked it out: Mercedes-Benz’s designers have just flipped the grille of the previous model upside down. No, they haven’t, but the new face of the GLC looks more resolved, broader and determined than the 2015 car.

Along with the grille and bumper, the headlights have been restyled and now appear more elegant, while the inlays in the tail-lights now have a floating square-shaped design.  

Changes to the interior may seem minimal, but only from a material and trim perspective, the upgrade in technology is big. There’s the new display screen, the digital instrument cluster, the steering wheel and touch pad controller, and new upholstery colours.

There are 17 upholstery colours and combinations. Black is standard across the line-up in Artico and leather, while 'Silk Beige' and 'Magma Grey' are no-cost options on GLC 200 and 300 SUVs.

There are 10 paint hues to choose from with 'Polar White' (non-metallic) being a no-cost colour across the range and 'Iridium Silver Metallic' standard on the GLC 63 S SUV and Coupe.

Optional colours include: 'Hyacinth Red', 'Brilliant Blue' and what seems like 50 shades of grey with names like 'Selenite Grey', 'Mojave Silver' and 'Obsidian Black.'

Do the grades differ in their look? Yep, you can tell you’re looking at a GLC 300 and not a 200 by the 20-inch alloy wheels, running boards and rear privacy glass.

The GLC 300 Coupe could be mistaken for a full-blown AMG model thanks to its AMG Line body kit including 20-inch wheels, while the cabin is also outfitted with the AMG Line interior package adding aluminum sports pedals, flat-bottomed steering wheel and AMG floor mats.

As for the AMG grades the GLC 63 S looks more hardcore than its 43 ‘lite’ sibling thanks to the 21-inch rims, ‘jet-wing’ design front apron, flared guards, finned diffuser, spoiler lip and AMG performance exhaust system.

All interiors, regardless of the grade, are stunning. Even the entry-level GLC 200 with its black ash open pore wood trim and chrome air vents feels modern and uber stylish (I’m reclaiming the word uber).

There’s definitely more wow factor here than in the cabins of Audi and BMW rivals, particularly now with the large media screen and virtual instrument cluster.

What are the GLC’s dimensions? Well, it’s not a huge SUV at just 4669mm long, 1890mm wide and 1639mm tall.


Jaguar F-Pace9/10

The very first F-Pace arrived in Australia in 2016 and even after all these years and the arrival of more rivals I still think it’s the most beautiful SUV in its class. The new one seems to look a lot like the old one, but the styling updates have kept it cool.

If you want to see instantly how the design of the F-Pace has evolved from the original to the new one, be sure to watch my video above.

Short story is, this new F-Pace has been given a pretty major styling overhaul inside and out.

Gone is the old F-Pace’s plastic beak. That sounds weird but the previous F-Pace’s bonnet stopped short of the grille and a nose cone had been fitted to cover the rest of the distance. Now the new bonnet meets a larger, wider grille and its flow from the windscreen down isn’t disturbed by a large join line.

Also more pleasing to the eyes is the badge on the grille. The snarling jaguar head is now larger and no longer mounted on a terrible looking large plastic plate. The plate was for the adaptive cruise control radar sensor, but by making the Jaguar badge bigger, the plate was able to be house in the badge itself.

The headlights are slimmer, and the tail-lights have a new design which looks futuristic, but I miss the styling of the previous ones and the way they dipped into the tailgate.

Inside, the cabin has been made over with a giant landscape screen, new chunky climate control dials, a new steering wheel and the rotary shifter has been replaced by a regular upright one which is still small and compact, with cricket ball stitching. Again, take a look at the video I’ve made to see the transformation for yourself.

While all F-Paces have a similar look, the SVR is the high-performance member of the family and stands out with its giant 22-inch wheels, a tough body kit, quad tailpipes, a fixed SVR rear wing, and bonnet and fender vents.

For this update the SVR has been given a new front bumper and larger cooling vents flanking the grille. But it’s more than just tough looks, the aerodynamics have been revised to decrease lift by 35 per cent, too.

What hasn’t changed are the dimensions. The F-Pace is a mid-sized SUV measuring 4747mm end to end, standing 1664mm tall and with the mirrors out is 2175mm wide. That’s not huge, but make sure it’ll fit in your garage.

Practicality

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class7/10

It depends. The SUV is absolutely (and obviously) the more practical of the two body styles, and at 191cm tall I can sit with plenty of head and legroom behind my driving position, while the boot’s cargo capacity is 550 litres.

The Coupe will need you to make a couple of practicality compromises. There weren’t any Coupes at the Australian launch in October, but Matt Campbell tested it in Europe and at 182cm tall he found the raked roofline better suited to smaller adults and children. The boot in the Coupe is smaller, too, at 500 litres capacity.

Cabin storage on board both the SUV and Coupe is good with four gigantic cupholders (two up front and two in the back), big door pockets, a large centre console bin and a decent-sized hidey hole under the trapdoor in front of the media touch pad.

Talking of that touch pad, it’s just one of the ways to access the media system, you can also use the touchscreen and the small black ‘swipe’ button on the left of the steering wheel.

The MBUX media system with its Hey Mercedes personal assistant function works to open the sunblind for example, or adjust the climate control, or locate destinations in the sat nav.

While the tech is still a bit clunky it represents the primitive stages of cars that’ll probably be more like companions in years to come. That’s possibly a bit creepy, but damned convenient and practical, nonetheless.

The digital instrument cluster is configurable to align with each driver’s personal preferences.

All GLCs come equipped with two USB ports and a 12-volt outlet, while grades from the 300 up also have smartphone wireless charging.

Three-zone climate control is only standard on the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S, but all grades come with directional air vents for the rear seats.


Jaguar F-Pace8/10

The F-Pace was always practical with a big 509-litre boot and great rear leg and head room for even me at 191cm tall, but the cabin re-design has added better storage and usability.

The door pockets are larger, there’s a covered area under the floating centre console and in a victory for common sense and practicality the window switches have been relocated from the window sills to the armrests.

This is along with a deep centre console storage area, and two cupholders in the front and another two in the rear fold-down armrest.

Parents will be happy to know that all F-Paces come with directional air vents in the second row as well. And there are ISOFIX outboard child-seat anchors and three top-tether restraints, too.

Price and features

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class7/10

There are eight members in the GLC family. Most affordable is the GLC 200 with its list price of $66,100, then the 300 at $77,700 and a 300e plug-in petrol-electric hybrid for $80,400. 

Then there are the Mercedes-AMGs – the GLC 43 at $109,900 and the 63 S for $161,000. These can be had in Coupe form, too: $117,400 for the 43 and $168,100 for the 63 S.

Want the Coupe body style and AMG-look without the price tag? Well, there’s a GLC 300 coupe, too, for $87,700.

Standard features on the GLC 200 include 'Artico' upholstery (think leather but not leather), black ash open pore wood trim, leather-clad steering wheel and dual-zone climate control.

There’s also a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.25-inch media display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 'Hey Mercedes' MBUX assistant function, sat nav and a five-speaker sound system.

Then there are the 19-inch alloy wheels, roof racks, agility control suspension (see driving section), power tailgate and LED headlights.

The GLC 300 adds wireless charging for your smartphone, 20-inch alloys, privacy rear glass, proximity unlocking, multi-beam LED headlights with adaptive high beams and the 'Driver Assistance' package (see the safety section).

The GLC 300e has the same features as its petrol-only twin but adds air suspension, and pre-entry climate control, while the 300 Coupe come standard with the 'AMG Line' interior and exterior packages.

The Mercedes-AMG 43 SUV and Coupe are seriously loaded up with equipment. Standard is leather upholstery, Burmester sound system, a head-up display, heated front seats, Artico dashboard, panoramic sunroof (in the SUV and a glass sunroof in the Coupe), AMG 'Night Package', AMG 20-inch alloys, sports brakes, AMG grille and black roof rails.

The full-fat Mercedes-AMG 63 S SUV and Coupe step up another level with 21-inch AMG alloy wheels and an AMG body kit complete with front apron, spoiler lip and rear apron. 

There’s an AMG performance exhaust system, plus heat and noise insulating glass. Coming standard inside is the AMG performance steering wheel, nappa leather upholstery and three-zone climate control.

Is it good value? Better value than the previous model, that’s for sure, what with the increase in cabin tech, but the sweet spot of the range is the GLC 300.

The GLC’s rivals include Audi’s Q5 which lists from $65,900, the BMW X3 starting at $63,900, and Volvo’s XC60 from $62,990.

If you’re contemplating a Porsche Macan then $81,800 is the start-price there.


Jaguar F-Pace8/10

There’s a Jaguar F-Pace for every budget as long as your budget is somewhere in between $80K and $150K. That’s quite a large range in price.

Now, I’m about to take you through the grade names and I need to warn you that it’s going to be messy and confusing a little bit like white water rafting, but not as wet. Life jacket on?

There are four grades: the S, SE, HSE and top-of-the-range SVR.

They all come standard with the R-Dynamic pack.

There are four engines: the P250, D300, P400 and P550. I’ll explain what this means in the engine section down below, but all you need to know is 'D' stands for diesel and 'P' for petrol and the higher the number the more grunt it has.

The S grade only comes with the P250. The SE comes with a choice of P250, D300 or P400. The HSE only comes with the P400 and the SVR has exclusive rights to the P550.

Following all this? Great.

So, the entry grade is officially called the R-Dynamic S P250 and it lists for $76,244 (all prices listed are MSRP - before on-road costs). Above this is the R-Dynamic SE P250 and it lists for $80,854, then there’s the R-Dynamic SE D300 for $96,194 and the R-Dynamic SE P400 for $98,654.

Almost there, you’re doing super.

The R-Dynamic HSE P400 lists for $110,404 and at the top is King F-Pace – the SVR with the P550 listing for $142,294.

There you are, wasn’t so bad was it?

Coming standard from the base grade up is the new 11.4-inch touchscreen, sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there’s keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone climate, power adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, LED headlights and tail-lights, and an auto tailgate.

The entry-level S and the SE above it come with a six-speaker stereo, but as you step into the HSE and SVR more standard features appear such as a 13-speaker Meridian sound system, plus heated and ventilated front seats. A fully digital instrument cluster is standard on all grades apart from the entry S.

The options list is extensive and includes a head-up display ($1960), wireless charging ($455), and an Activity Key ($403) which looks like an iWatch that locks and unlocks the F-Pace.  

Paint prices? Narvik Black and Fuji White are standard at no extra cost for the S, SE and HSE. The SVR has its own standard palette and includes Santorini Black, Yulonhg White, Firenze Red, Bluefire Blue and Hakuba Silver. If you don’t have the SVR but want these colours it’ll be $1890, thank you.

Engine & trans

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class8/10

There are four petrol engines and a plug-in hybrid on offer in the Australian GLC line-up.

The GLC 200 is rear-wheel drive (RWD) only and has been given a new four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine making 145kW of power and 320Nm of torque (up 10kW/20Nm), while the GLC 300 is all-wheel drive (AWD) using the same engine tuned to produce 190kW/370Nm (up 35kW/20Nm).

Both have a nine-speed automatic transmission and use a new 48-volt mild-hybrid system which can cut the engine during coasting and add up to 150Nm of torque.

The GLC 300e is a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid and is also AWD with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine making 155kW/350Nm, plus a 90kW/440Nm electric motor.

The Mercedes-AMG GLCs are both AWD and use a nine-speed sports automatic transmission but have different engines. The Mercedes-AMG 43 has a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 making 287kW/520Nm, while the 63 S has a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 producing 375kW/700Nm.

This update marks the disappearance of the GLC 300 d diesel from the line-up. Mercedes-Benz told us why in our news story here.


Jaguar F-Pace9/10

Jaguar’s engine names sound like forms you have to fill in when you apply for a home loan.

The P250 is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine making 184kW and 365Nm; the D300 is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo diesel producing 221kW and 650Nm; while the P400 is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo petrol with outputs of 294kW and 550Nm.

The P550 is a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 producing a colossal 405kW and 700Nm.

The SE grade gives you the choice of the P250, D300 and P400, while the S only comes with the P250 and the SVR of course is powered only by the P550.

The D300 and D400 are new engines, both are straight sixes and replace the V6 engines in the old F-Pace. Superb engines, they are also found in the Defender and Range Rover.

Jaguar calls the D300 and P400 mild hybrids, but don’t be misled by the terminology. These engines are not hybrids in the sense that an electric motor is working to drive the wheels along with a combustion engine. Instead, a mild hybrid uses a 48-volt electrical system to help take the load off the engine by helping it start and running the electronics such as climate control. And yes, it does help save fuel, but not stacks.

There’s plenty of grunt from all these engines no matter which you choose, they all have eight-speed automatics and all-wheel drive.

You are also very likely looking at the last combustion engines to go into an F-Pace. See Jaguar has announced that it will only sell electric vehicles beyond 2025.

Four years and that’s it. Choose wisely.

Fuel consumption

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class7/10

Mercedes-Benz says the GLC 200’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine should use premium unleaded at a rate of 7.8L/100km over a combination of open and urban roads. The combined fuel consumption of the GLC 300 according to Mercedes is 8.1L/100km. 

More fun but less economical are the AMGs with the GLC 43’s V6 using 10.4L/100km over a combination of open and urban driving, while the GLC 63 S is even thirstier with the official fuel economy being 12.2L/100km.

Mileage figures have yet to be given for the 300e plug-in petrol-electric hybrid.


Jaguar F-Pace7/10

It doesn’t make sense that Jaguar has announced that it will be going all electric by 2025 yet doesn’t offer a plug-in hybrid in its Australian line-up, especially when there is one available overseas.

Jaguar says it doesn’t make sense either, but by that they mean business sense, in bringing one to Australia.  

So, for fuel economy I’m marking the F-Pace down. Yes, the D300 and P400 use clever mild-hybrid tech, but it doesn’t go far enough to reducing fuel use.

So the fuel consumptions, then. The official fuel consumption for the petrol P250 is 7.8L/100km, the diesel D300 will use 7.0L/100km, the P400 is stated to sip 8.7L/100km and the P550 V8 petrol will drink 11.7L/100km. Those figures are "combined cycle" numbers, after a combination of open and urban driving.

Driving

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class8/10

The GLC 300e and AMG versions hadn’t arrived in Australia at the time of launch in October 2019, but I did have the opportunity to put hundreds of kilometres on the GLC 200 and 300, on our less than perfect local roads.

I should point out here that the SUVs we drove had the standard 'Agility Control' suspension, which is Benz-speak for regular shock absorbers and coil springs.

That was good news to me when I arrived ready to drive, given the GLCs we tested in Europe earlier in 2019 were fitted with air suspension and driven on incredibly smooth roads.

Both the GLCs I tested were also fitted with the AMG Line pack and while this doesn’t affect the output or change the suspension it did increase the 200’s wheel size from 19- to 20-inch rims.

Starting in the GLC 200 I was impressed by how easy the SUV was to drive with accurate and light steering, great visibility and while acceleration from 0-100km/h in 7.8sec is nothing to brag about I was won over by the balanced feel of the RWD SUV.

I didn’t get that same balanced feel in the AWD GLC 300 but there was the superb traction and much swifter acceleration (0-100km/h in 6.2s).

The GLC 300 and 200 struggled, however, to remain composed and maintain a comfortable ride on the extremely shoddy, but typically Aussie roads I tested them on.

There also seemed to be a lack of travel in the suspension causing both cars I tested to ‘bottom-out’ at regular speeds in fairly small dips. If you’re planning to spend money on optioning yours up, I’d seriously consider ticking the 'Air Body Control' air suspension box.

That said, the driving experience was a tranquil, easy and enjoyable one – the way a C-Class SUV should be.  

I know there are readers out there keen to know about the off-road capability of the GLC but there was no chance to test this out on the Australian launch.

Matt Campbell did have the opportunity to get the GLC muddy in Europe and found that with the 'Off Road Pack' it’s capable of handling tougher terrain than many would think. Unfortunately, that off-road pack won’t be available in Australia.

And while we’re yet to sample the updated version of the Mercedes-AMG 43 and 63 S the previous models were outstanding, and going by our impression of the vehicles in Europe, will slap a smile on your face. We’ll know for sure when those SUVs arrive later in 2020.


Jaguar F-Pace8/10

My two test cars at the Australian launch of the new F-Pace were the R-Dynamic SE P400 and the R-Dynamic S P250. Both were fitted with the road noise cancellation system which comes with the optional $1560 Meridian stereo and reduces the level of road noise coming into the cabin.

Which would I rather? Look, I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say the SE P400 with its smooth inline six that has seemingly endless shove, but it’s $20K more than the S P250 and neither engine is low on grunt and both handle and ride almost identically.

That ride has been improved in this new F-Pace with the rear suspension being retuned so that it’s not so firm.

Steering is still on the sharp side, but body control feels better and more composed in this updated F-Pace.

On the twisty and quick country roads I tested the S P250 and SE 400, both performed superbly, with responsive engines, great handling, and serene cabins (thanks to the help of the noise cancelling tech).

The second part of the test was driving both in city traffic for the best part of an hour each which isn’t pleasant in any car. The now wider F-Pace seats were comfortable and supportive, however, the transmission seamlessly swapped gears and even rolling on 22-inch wheels in the SE and 20-inch alloys in the S the ride was excellent.  

Safety

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class9/10

The Mercedes-Benz GLC was given the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2015.

Coming standard from the entry-grade GLC 200 are nine airbags, a 360-degree camera, auto parking, plus advanced safety technology such as adaptive cruise control, AEB, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and traffic sign recognition.

Grades from the GLC 300 upwards pick up the 'Driver Assistance Package' which adds active steering, cross traffic function, active blind spot and lane keeping assistance, evasive steering and lane changing assistant.

For child seats you’ll find three top tether points and two ISOFIX mounts across the second row. 


Jaguar F-Pace8/10

The F-Pace scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2017. Coming standard is advanced safety tech such as forward auto emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot assist, lane keeping assistance and rear cross-traffic alert.

This tech is great, but in the five years since the F-Pace first arrived safety equipment has moved on even further. So, while the AEB can detect pedestrians, it’s not designed to work for cyclists, there’s no reverse AEB, nor evasive manoeuvre systems, nor a centre airbag. All are items which weren’t common in 2017 but are now on most 2021 five-star rated cars.

Ownership

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class7/10

The GLC is covered by Mercedes-Benz’s three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. While the duration of that coverage is short it does align with the other German 'big three' competitors, Audi and BMW.

That said, we’d encourage the luxury brands to follow the lead of mainstream manufacturers and move to five-year warranties.

Servicing is recommended annually or every 25,000km, whichever comes first. Owners are able to prepay for the servicing which amounts to $2150 for three years or $2700 if you pay as you go.


Jaguar F-Pace8/10

At the launch of the new F-Pace Jaguar announced that all of its vehicles would be covered by a five-year unlimited/kilometre warranty, a step up from the three-year coverage it used to offer.  

Service intervals? What are they? The F-Pace will tell you when it needs maintenance. But you should sign up for a five-year service plan which costs $1950 for the P250 engine, $2650 for the D300, $2250 for the P400 and $3750 for the P550.