First Drive: Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 d 4matic
New engines, plus styling and tech tweaks, refine the already very competent GLC package, reckons Martyn Collins.
SECTOR Compact SUV PRICE £39,420-£57,670 FUEL 39.2-41.5mpg (WLTP) CO2 137-159g/km (NEDC Correlated)
With the UK’s ongoing love of SUVs, it’s no wonder the GLC is one of Mercedes’ biggest models in the UK. In fact, in 2018, it accounted for 22k of the brand’s 172k total sales (nearly 13%) with around 30% of sales going to fleet customers.
Three years into the current GLC’s life, and with rivals such as Audi’s Q5 and Land Rover’s Discovery Sport catching up, it’s time for a facelift. Outside, this equals a sleeker nose, with all-LED headlights, plus new grilles and revised front bumpers dependent on version. Updated alloy wheel designs and new LED rear lights and bumpers also feature.
Inside, facelift highlights include the MBUX multimedia system, which brings the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice activation and optional MBUX Interior Assistant with the multimedia system able to recognise and distinguish between hand gestures by the driver and front passenger. It also gets the all-digital instruments fitted from AMG Premium Line models upwards.
More significant changes for the GLC have happened under the bonnet, with two new diesel engines available at launch, powering the 220 d and 300 d.
The GLC 220 d is fitted with a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, producing 194hp and 400Nm of torque, while achieving 40.9mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and emitting 137g/km of CO2 (NEDC Correlated). Go for the GLC Coupé and this model is capable of a WLTP-combined 41.5mpg with 145g/km of CO2.
The GLC 300 d is also powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, this time with 245hp and 500Nm of torque. However, this GLC delivers up to 39.2mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and emits just 157g/km of CO2. Go for the sleeker Coupé, and it can achieve 39.8mgp WLTP combined, while emitting 159g/km of CO2.
Most important from a fleet point of view is that both these new diesels are RDE2-compliant, thus meaning they’re not subject to the usual 4% surcharge on BiK or increased first-year VED.
Fleet World tried the 300 d, in range-topping AMG Line Premium Plus Ultimate trim, at the international launch. Overall, it’s a refined and punchy engine, well suited to the GLC’s car-like drive. Being the top-spec car, this GLC was also fitted with Air Body Control, which includes air suspension and continuously adjustable damping. The upshot was that despite the standard 20-inch wheels, this GLC was very comfortable to drive – only feeling slightly wallowy during some camber changes and around town.
Out of town, this GLC is pleasingly dynamic to drive, with responsive steering. Body control is also very good – with body roll kept well in check, although you are always aware of how heavy the GLC feels, especially when feeding it along tight country roads.
New tech aside, the look and feel are much the same as the last GLC. This means high-quality trim and switchgear – but is the interior design a bit dated now? Front and rear space is good though.
The GLC has been sensibly updated. These changes, plus the new RDE2-compliant engines, should be enough to stop buyers going elsewhere.