SUV is getting bigger and more expensive: Mercedes is renewing the bestseller GLC

Mercedes sells more of any model than the GLC.

SUV is getting bigger and more expensive: Mercedes is renewing the bestseller GLC

Mercedes sells more of any model than the GLC. Now the Stuttgart-based company is renewing the mid-range SUV. It will be a little longer and also a little more expensive. With restrained changes to the body, the range now only offers hybrid engines and is better equipped than its predecessor.

24 years ago, Mercedes showed courage to take rough edges. With the SUV called GLK below the successful ML class, the Stuttgart-based luxury manufacturer is countering the success of the BMW X3, which has been in production for some time, and the Audi Q5, which appeared almost at the same time. The model, which has since been renamed the GLC, is now the most successful Mercedes in the world.

With good reason, because the appearance has changed completely since the founding years. In 2015, the chunky GLK of yore became a briskly styled car that perfectly served the buyer's longing for a sporty SUV, boasted attributes such as a high seating position and plenty of space and, with every model change, more and more perfect technology from the larger and more expensive luxury models in brought the middle class. The new GLC is now reaching its peak. Never before has there been a car in this class that offered such a package of equipment, most of which for an extra charge, of course, but some were already built in.

The GLC is not only better equipped than before - for example with a standard electric tailgate. The visually streamlined city SUV is also six centimeters longer and has a wheelbase that is around two centimeters longer. This should offer more space for the rear bench and a 600 liter volume ten percent larger trunk. The Swabians' best-selling model should go on sale this fall and cost at least 57,632 euros, the manufacturer said. This makes the SUV for the upper middle class a good ten percent more expensive than its predecessor.

Before the first tour, you are spoiled for choice among seven variants - Mercedes GLC 200 4MATIC, 300 4MATIC, 300 e 4MATIC, 400 e 4MATIC, 220 d 4MATIC, 300 d 4MATIC and 300 de 4MATIC. Four of them have a so-called mild hybrid system, in which a small battery supplies important functions such as the starter with energy, saving fuel and increasing performance by 17 kW/23 hp. Three of the newcomers rely on plugs. Here, a 100 kW electric motor supports the combustion engine quite powerfully and a 32 kWh battery that can be charged at the socket ensures purely electric ranges of more than 100 kilometers, if the driver plays along.

Since more and more diesel fans are saying goodbye to the GLC and rechargeable hybrids are also likely to find fewer buyers due to the end of state aid, a classic is needed. The GLC 200 is the entry-level model and is the only one of its kind to stay under the 60,000 euro mark. In this price class, subtleties such as rear-axle steering or air suspension cannot even be ordered, but the basic equipment with the futuristic MBUX instrument system, LED high-performance headlights, electric tailgate, keyless access or the parking assistant with rear-view camera is much neater than in earlier Mercedes times .

The interior ambience is similar to that of the C-Class, characterized by the tablet-like central display and the wide display panel behind the steering wheel. Inside, the covering made of a deceptively similar imitation leather flatters silver-grey trim elements and a leather steering wheel equipped with numerous buttons and switches. It continues to be classy even after you set off. Thanks to greatly improved noise insulation and fine-tuning of the aerodynamics, engine and wind noise are largely ignored. Only in sport mode does the pottering of the four-cylinder hold no secret, but it doesn't look tinny with effort.

The 48-volt technology, on the other hand, remains a mystery. When starting and stopping at traffic lights, it wakes up the petrol engine in fractions of a second. When so-called "sailing" with the right pedal lifted, it takes over the powerful transition to the power spurt by giving the two-liter engine up to 23 hp more and at the same time increasing the torque by a whopping 200 Newton meters.

Also typical for Mercedes in the SUV is the tangible sovereignty of the electronically controlled all-wheel drive chassis, the precision of the steering and the perfect interaction with all the assistance systems, if you have ticked them in the price list. When the navigation system is activated, the GLC recognizes roundabouts, town entrances, speed limits and imminent bends. Then he slows down on his own, sometimes surprising drowsy drivers because, thanks to the data from the navigation system, he can see much further ahead than human eyes.

All in all, an almost perfect family member that, depending on your taste, thanks to its lavish comfort, can tackle long distances as well as a wilder hunt when time is of the essence. Another highlight of the GLC experience is turning off the slippery road in the direction of natural wilderness with stony slopes, deep furrows or steep ascents and climbs. In order to really enjoy the new off-road feeling of the GLC, you have to change. The 400 e is one of the plug-in hybrids in the GLC range. The 31.7 kWh battery, about as productive as the battery of a VW E-Up, is full to the brim.

Since the 100 kW electric motor releases its power as soon as the accelerator pedal is gently touched, the GLC can free itself from inhospitable situations more effectively than a petrol engine, which ultimately first has to build up its power and send it to the wheels. Of course, the GLC doesn't want to compete with roughnecks like the G-Class, Jeep or Land Rover, but it still gets ahead where most other SUVs get stuck.

He manages lean angles, stretches a wheel in the air when passing deep cracks in the terrain or digs through deep mud. The "glass" bonnet, which reflects an image artificially generated from various cameras onto the central monitor, helps with this, making obstacles such as large stones under the front end visible.

Thanks to the air suspension, the Mercedes can increase its ground clearance and the child axle steering helps to negotiate tight bends without manoeuvring. All in all, impressive skills of the lounge lion, even if most of the future owners will avoid such escapades with regard to the high investment of their expensive piece.

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