Mercedes-Benz: Drop the “K”, insert a “C” for the New Small SUV, the GLC

Say goodbye GLK.  Hello GLC…

“Our new GLC represents a further, systematic step in the implementation of our successful SUV philosophy. It combines the ultimate in driving comfort with a sporty touch, impresses on the road and – more than ever – off it as well, and appeals to the eye with the new design and equipment line,”


That’s a quote from Thomas Weber, Daimler Board AG member, and head of Mercedes Benz Group Research and Cars Development, on the newest re-introduction of Mercedes’ not-so-baby SUV.  Last year this time, the GLK was the Baby Benz, roomy and dependable, with a lot of luxe.  With the decision to simplify the naming convention, the SUV names were all changed to align with the sedans.  Out is the “GLK”, in is the new “GLC”.  GLC logically matches up with the size and performance expectations of the C-Class.

What has changed, other than a new letter?  Lots.  Let’s start with the looks…

From a straight side view, there’s a tiny tinge of BMW X5 on the backend. But that’s it, everything else is pure Mercedes styling.  Or “Sensual Purity”, as Mercedes calls their design philosophy.   Functionally, the GLC sits higher than the GLK, better for everyday driving.   The new SUV is longer and wider than the GLK.  Giving front seat passengers an additional 2 inches of shoulder room is nice.  But if you’re tall, the real value is with the 2.25 additional inches of legroom in both the front AND the rear.  On a plane they’d call this increased space “business class”, and charge you an extra $200 each way.

With the appetizer of looks complete, let’s get to the meat: 2 diesel engines and a new hybrid powertrain.

The 220d and 250d 4Matics

Mercedes and Europeans are no strangers to turbodiesel power, and the new GLC offers 2 quite powerful engines for their size.  The 220d generates 170 horsepower and 295 lb/ft of torque.  Despite this, the 220d saves an extra 6 mpg (unofficial), and sprinkles 19% less CO2 into the air.  As well as propelling you from 0-62 in 8.3 seconds.

The 250d offers 204 horses and 368 torques.

Let me stop there and say “wow”, especially on that torque number.  I imagine it’s like going down that first big hill of a rollercoaster. It also saves an additional 7 mpg, and spews 19% less particles into the air.  Floor it, and you’ll go from 0-62 in 7.6 seconds.

The 350e 4Matic Plug-in Hybrid

The 350e is my Kryptonite.  Putting hybrid technology in a small SUV, is something I’ve been wanting for awhile.  Power wise, the 350e comes equipped with a 3.5 liter gasoline engine that generates 211 horsepower; better than that of the 250d.  When you couple that with an 85 kw (113 hp) electric motor, you have a 324 horsepower, and an enormous amount of torque.

Back when I started this blog, I wondered when we’d get more hybrid offerings than the Lexus RX450h, or the Ford Escape.  I figured the technology would catch up with the sales figures.  Boy-oh-boy was I right.  That’s not to say the gasoline-only version won’t outsell the diesel and hybrids.  They will–especially in the U-S-of-A.  But they’re here to stay.

Inside the New GLC: More Useful Space

I really liked the GLK, but once you got in the back, you were a bit cramped.  And there wasn’t much room for storage with the seats up.  There was that lower storage area, but I usually think of that stuff after I’ve loaded the top.  Maybe you’re more attentive.

At the time I originally became captivated by the GLK, I was in full-on baby travel mode–big car seat, bumpus, mobile booster seat, pack ‘n play, baby bag full of God used to know what–and then whatever the adults needed to bring.  The GLK wasn’t going to fit the bill.

The GLC looks like it would be tight, but could fit it all.  It has an additional 50 liters of usable cargo area.  Instead of the usual 60/40 rear seat split, it comes with a very versatile 40/20/40 split.  It’s nice to have options when you’re packing for a weekend trip with baby, Home Depot, garage sale-ing, or just in general.  Along with everyone else in the automotive world, the GLC now offers the ability to open the rear gate by sweeping your foot past a handy bumper-mounted sensor. Another cool option is the Air Body Control, which allows you to lower the rear of the car a few inches; making loading or unloading booty from Costco easier.

A couple of years back we did a week’s vacation in a BMW X3.  After we took out the privacy curtain, and folded down the seat, everything fit tight but fine.  It looks like the GLC would have made things a little bit more roomy.  Not much, not like a GLE (ML) or an X5.  But at least my son wouldn’t have looked like he was part of the cargo, and my golf clubs may not have been directly in the rear-view mirror.

Can’t wait to test drive it….



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Sebastian James

Accept no substitutes

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