Family planning is one thing that we Indians have managed to adhere to, thanks to which there are a lot more conscientious parents out there. But the same thing cannot be said about car manufacturers in India. The siblings are growing and the Mercedes-Benz GLC is a strong example of this. Mercedes never really had a rival for the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3, yes there was the ML and now the GLE and it was at par on price too but it belonged to a different segment, we all knew that. The GLE will not have to battle it out anymore, thanks to the GLC. The GLC will slot between the GLA and the GLE and this is the first time the company is venturing into this segment in India and it's extremely excited. We got you an exclusive review of the SUV last year in November but it was the petrol variant we drove but and now we land our hands on the India-spec version.
There's a reason why it's called the GLC and that is because it shares the underpinnings with the C-Class sedan. The overall proportions of the car, though, are more like a station wagon than an SUV, however, it follows the same line of treatment that both the Q5 and the X3 get in terms of overall look. So, yes it's shapely and well-proportioned for an SUV.
The front reminds you of the C-Class sedan with the dual projector units adding to that feeling, however, it is the shape of the bonnet and the LEDs that give it its unique character and make it different from the sedan. The front grille too is more like the C-Class and basically bears resemblance to the other cars from this family, so it carries the DNA. But there is a lot of engineering gone into the look as well.
The front bumper, for starters, gets more protection and that is to provide a higher angle of approach for off-roading. Yes, it gets the off-road package, and that's the reason why the model sits 20mm lower than the standard GLC and though that figure might be marginal, it makes a lot of difference. It doesn't bear the aggressive, in-your-face look and the side profile of the car doesn't do too much to win you over. It's more like a station wagon, as I said earlier, but the dual-tone 18-inch five spoke alloys give it a bit of an advantage when it comes to overall looks as they look smashing.
But it's the rear that is something we've not seen on any of the SUVs from Mercedes-Benz India. It's more inclined to a C Class estate or even a Coupe and that bodes well with the design of the GLC. The influence of the GT is clearly seen in the tail lamps and they are sleek looking ones especially when the sun goes down. You wouldn't mind getting stuck behind this one in traffic. So, there's a bit of sporty, bit of elegance and a pinch of 'boring' in the design but the interiors come from a different world altogether.
The cabin is well equipped and well finished. There's, again, a strong resemblance to the C-Class inside and the fit and finish is top notch. It is by far, the best looking SUV from the inside from Mercedes. The controls are well laid out and you have the rotor to select and de-select and choose from the various settings; may they be off-road or radio channels. The quality is undoubtedly pleasing to the eye and to your fingers.
What's also pleasing is the way it's all laid out. There's a 7-inch infotainment screen which gives you all the information and helps you get a 360 degree view of your car which comes in very handy during parking or when you take the car off-road. The aerial view makes it easier for you to check out your surroundings before you start to move. Other infotainment features include a 20 CD stereo, a Garmin-based navigation system, two USB ports, Bluetooth and an SD card slot. The rear seat doesn't get any control of the infotainment system though. .
The space inside too is better than on the sedan, it's way better. Meant to seat 5, the GLC boasts of a wheelbase of 2873mm (113mm more than the sedan) and that translates into more space up front and the rear. The door panels are equipped with bottle holders which adds to the convenience. There's 550 litres of boot space available too and that's more than the Q5 and at par with the X3 but how much of that space is usable, is the question you have to ask, as it is home to a space saver spare tyre. You, can remove it and use the space, but the question is would you? You can fold the second row to make room for more things because there's a massive 1600 litres of available space and you might be able to manage to squeeze in a baby elephant in there. But then will you be able to drive with that load on board? Yes you can, because the engines are pretty powerful.
The GLC will be available in two engine options - the 220d diesel and the 300 petrol. We drove the diesel which features the 2143cc, turbocharged diesel engine which produces 170hp and that is enough to propel you from 0-100 km in about 8.3 seconds. There's enough torque on offer too, all 400Nm of it from 1400rpm and the power delivery is strong thanks to the good mid-range boost it has. You can't help but notice that the GLC will make for a good tourer and there is no cribbing if you push it hard. The 9G-tronic gearbox works well to provide you with enough power and the various driving modes help too.
Mercedes-Benz GLC Front
You can choose from Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and a customisable Individual mode, where you can change the setting of the engine and the steering according to your driving style. As we moved along the twisty roads of Madekeri, the GLC was composed, however, we wish the NVH levels were better and the obvious comparison for this was the 2.0 TDI from Audi. The steering feel is good and even when you try the patience of the car by down shifting in the corner and get on the power and up-shift, the GLC doesn't bat an eyelid, which is why it is fun to drive in. There is a bit of roll though at higher speeds, but that's because of the soft suspension set up and it's tuned that way to eat up any undulations on the road.
But if you feel the power is less in this one then you can go in for the petrol which offer 245hp from the 1991cc engine. 0-100km/h is taken care of in 6.5 seconds and top speed is set at 222km/h and this is thanks to the low kerb weight and of course the power on offer.
The GLC also gets the 4MATIC off-road package and this adds 20mm to the overall height. We didn't really get to drive it off-road but there were a bunch of settings to choose from like off-road, incline and slippery. Choose from it and the all-wheel drive system will be tuned accordingly. There's hill-descent control as well and that is standard across models. The safety list too is a big one as there's everything from parking assist, attention assist, adaptive brake lights, tyre-pressure monitoring system and even 7 airbags.
Mercedes-Benz has managed to pack in a lot in the GLC and considering it's venturing into a market never tapped by it in India, there are a lot of expectations from the product. The GLC will come to India as a CBU and it has been launched at ₹ 50.9 lakh (ex-showroom Pune) for the petrol version, and Rs 50.7 lakh (ex-showroom Pune) for the diesel version. Based on the performance of the car, we will probably get to see the GLC Coupe, then again, that's reserved for a future date, probably the 2018 Auto Expo? So, let the spawning continue, we say; and it is at times like these that we thank your stars that car manufacturers have nothing to do with family planning, right?
GLC 220d 4MATIC
Displacement: 2143cc, turbocharged diesel
Max. Power: 170bhp@3000-4200 rpm
Max. Torque: 400Nm@1400-2800rpm
GLC 300 4MATIC
Max. Power: 245bhp@5500 rpm
Max. Torque: 370Nm@1400-2800rpm