2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Petrol Review

Posted on Thu ,29 Sep 2016 5:32 pm
Vaibhav Yedavi
Rating by CG: 
    
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Petrol Review

The Mercedes GLC is one nice looking and plush riding SUV.


 

GLA, GLE, GLS for the sensible and GLA 45 AMG, GLE 450 AMG Coupé, G 63 AMG for the crazy. Mercedes-Benz has every crevice covered in the premium SUV segment; but one. You see, it didn’t have anything to rival the formidable Audi Q5 and the BMW X3, at least in the markets with the steering wheel on the right-hand side. The markets with the steering wheel on the wrong side enjoyed the GLK. So, when Mercedes began development of an all-new model, they started-off with a clean sheet of paper and clear instructions to the engineering department to make provisions for the steering wheel on either side. Also they gave it a new nomenclature – the GLC.

 

 

The GLC is actually based on the C-Class platform (okay, so they didn’t start off with a clean sheet of paper, my bad!) with a 33mm longer wheelbase and an increased ride height (because SUV). The GLC sold here gets an ‘off-road package’ fitted as standard. The package comprises a shorter front bumper allowing for greater approach angles during off-road manoeuvres, underbody protection and a ride height which has been further increased by 20mm. There are two 4-cylinder turbocharged engines on offer – a 2.0-litre petrol (GLC 300) and a 2.1-litre diesel (GLC 220 d). Both engines are coupled to a 9-speed automatic gearbox which sends power to the 4Matic all-wheel drive system fitted in as standard.

 

Mercedes GLC 300 4Matic Petrol Front Perspective

 

Mercedes GLC 300 4Matic Petrol Rear Perspective

 

Look at the GLC from the front and you will see a fascia which looks similar to the C-Class sedan, but the sculpted bonnet, bumpers with integrated skid-plates, 18-inch wheels with high-profile tyres and a flatter side profile ensures that the GLC has an identity of its own. The side profile of the GLC resembles an estate and the taillights look inspired by the ones found on the AMG GT. Overall I must say that the Mercedes GLC is among the nicest looking SUVs available in the market today.

 

Mercedes GLC 300 4Matic Petrol Dashboard

 

Step inside the SUV and you will be greeted with a dashboard which has been lifted straight from the C-Class. It just sits a little bit higher. Not a bad thing I must say as the C-Class has one of the classiest looking dashboards in business. The cabin is wrapped in an amalgamation of soft leather, satin silver finished trim elements and wood. It is very well put together and the material quality is of very high standards, something which you expect in a Mercedes costing INR 50 lakh plus.

 

Mercedes GLC 300 4Matic Petrol Boot Space

 

The driver and passenger seats can be adjusted electrically and I found that they offer just the right amount of bolstering. The rear seats are comfortable too. Only two can sit in a relaxed position at the rear, as the central tunnel protrudes up high, making life of the third passenger miserable. My colleagues made me the guinea pig for a considerable amount of time, and I suffered every minute of the journey sitting there. The large panoramic glass roof brings in some cheer though and the superb AC keeps everything and everyone cool inside the cabin. Now, I got to drive the CBU unit also called as the Edition1 which comes with a three zone climate control system, however, the GLC is now localised and you only get dual-zone climate control.The boot space at the back is respectable too and it has enough volume to stuff in a couple of large bags if you decide to keep the space-saver tyre at home. Tough decision I must say!

Powering the GLC are two engine options – GLC 220 d with a 168bhp 2.1-litre diesel and GLC 300 with a 241bhp 2.0-litre petrol. I drove the petrol for this review. The 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine pumps out some respectable figures – 241bhp at 5,500rpm and 370Nm at 4,000rpm. I must tell you that the power delivery in Comfort mode is caramel smooth and in Sport+ mode the engine can propel the nearly 1,900kg SUV to 100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds. The 9-speed automatic gearbox changes gears quickly and always finds the right gear no matter the situation. There are paddle shifters too, for you to take control, but I suggest you leave the gearbox to make its own decisions. It’s better that way. 

 

Mercedes GLC 300 4Matic Petrol Engine

 

The engine and gearbox are tuned more for smooth high-speed cruising and I noticed it as soon as I turned the Dynamic selector knob to Sport mode. The GLC petrol just moved ahead in a calm demeanour. Even in Sport+ mode it is the same, just the gearbox holds the gears till the absolute rev limit and you hear some noise from the engine. But if you are expecting neck-breaking acceleration fun, I suggest you look somewhere else.

The combination of the 2.0-litre petrol engine and the 9-speed automatic gearbox offers an amazing mileage. No matter how hard I pushed the GLC petrol around, it averaged 10.5 km/l during testing. A respectable figure and something which put a smile on my face after the miserly 6.5 km/l average of a Czech sedan I had driven earlier (it had amazing neck-breaking acceleration though).

One more reason I say the GLC is tuned more for smooth high-speed cruising than outright performance is the way the suspension is setup. The softly sprung steel springs, high profile tyres and the tall ride height (remember the extra 20mm because of the off-road package) ensures the SUV can ride over almost anything at some serious speeds without upsetting the passengers. The soft setup means that the GLC does bob at low speeds on undulating roads, but when the speed picks up it rides flat. Well almost. Also the soft setup means that there is a bit of body roll in the corners, something which the BMW X3 can take on staying flat.

 

Mercedes GLC 300 4Matic Petrol Off-Road Package Bumper

 

The advantage of the GLC’s suspension setup shines more when you put it into Off-Road mode and head out on the rough surfaces. The high ground clearance, good approach angle, softly sprung springs, high profile tyres and the clever 4Matic all-wheel drive system makes sure the GLC goes as well on the rough as it does on the flats. There is not a hint of murmur or sign of struggle from the engine and drivetrain during the excursion. It is the same in Slippery mode which I tested on some beach sand.

 

Mercedes GLC 300 4Matic Petrol Off-Road

 

Alas, the only kind of off-roading the GLC is ever going to encounter is the pothole ridden roads, but there is assurance that when the need arises, the GLC is equipped to tackle some of roughest tracks out there. 

The electric steering rack is very precise and though there is no feedback from it, the thing weighs nicely as the speed rises above the triple digit mark. The GLC has brakes which are progressive, have a good feel and not grabby at all. A good setup which is not appreciated by many who think the system is not working optimally. You have to learn to adjust to it.

 

The GLC may have competition from the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and the Land Rover Discovery Sport. But none of them except the Discovery Sport come with the option of a petrol engine at the moment. The GLC doesn’t have the dynamics of its rivals but when it comes to refinement, comfort, smooth but fast performance and a supple ride quality, it’s a tough SUV to beat.

 

The initial lot of GLC’s badged Edition 1 were imported as CBUs. The SUV is locally assembled now from CKDs at Mercedes’s Chakan plant. The diesel has received a heavy price cut and now gets a base Style variant (link).

And don’t fret over the smooth acceleration, as an AMG version (GLC 43 AMG) will be available next year for those wanting to experience neck-breaking acceleration in the GLC.

 

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic Petrol Specifications:

Engine – 1,991 cc, 4-cylinder turbo petrol | 241bhp @ 5,550rpm & 370Nm @ 4,000rpm

Gearbox – 9-speed automatic

Drivetrain – Longitudinal front engine all-wheel drive

Speed – 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds | Top speed 222 km/h

Mileage – 10.5 km/l (average)

Dimensions – 4,656 x 1,890 x 1,639 mm (l x w x h)

Wheelbase – 2,873mm

Kerb Weight – 1,871 kg

Boot Space – 550 litres (1,600 litres with the rear seats folded down)

Wheels & Tyres – 235/60 R18

Equipment List – LED headlamps, adaptive brake lights, Dynamic Select Controller with 5 modes (Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+, Individual), Off-Road package with underbody coating, 4Matic all-wheel drive system, panoramic sliding sunroof, electric tailgate opening, 3-zone climate control, reverse camera with Active Park Assist, 7-inch Comand infotainment system with navigation, touchpad controller, ESP, Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist, tyre pressure monitoring system, 7-airbags, etc.

Price (on-road, Mumbai) – INR 63.03 lakhs (approximately)

 

*Update – The locally assembled GLC which was launched today ditches the electric tailgate, navigation system (available as an option now), memory seats, and 3-zone climate control (a 2-zone climate control is available now) found on the CBU which we have tested here.

 

 

 

Words by Vaibhav Yedavi

Photos by Anuj Malandkar & Amith Bhagwan

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