The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC brings more power, more technology, and more comfort than ever before.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC has been around in India since 2016, and in those 7 years, the company has sold more than 13,000 units of this SUV. So, you can say it’s popular for sure, and no wonder; the company was in a hurry to bring it to India, but there was a delay, and it comes to our market after nearly a year of its global launch. So, what is it all about? Read on.
Now Mercedes-Benz very modestly says that the new generation was ‘hard to improve’ on the outgoing car, but that hasn’t stopped it from tinkering around. Up front, the SUV still reminds you of the previous-gen model, and there are new LED DRLs. There is a chrome slat, and the star logo is a massive one too.
When you come to the profile, you do see the obvious change, and that is the size. The GLC is now longer by 60 mm and the wheelbase too has grown by 15mm. And then you have this coupe-like shape which makes the GLC squat a bit so you do feel it sits lower.
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The 19-inch wheels with the new alloy design add to the appeal as well. It’s simple, stylish and not at all over the top even though there’s a generous dose of chrome all around.
The tail lamps get a 3D treatment, and there is a bit of a muscle on the bonnet and the sides but nothing striking but the overall design is just as before very understated. We can’t say that about the cabin though.
The cabin is now a bit more sophisticated than before and Mercedes has gone the digital way. A lot less buttons and a lot more touch. The dashboard is all new and is dominated by this 11.9-inch screen that’s tilted 6 degrees towards the driver so that s/he gets good enough visibility.
The system itself is very intuitive and you get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging and more. The steering now gets touch-sensitive buttons which are very easy to use and makes your life easier as you browse through information on the digital instrument cluster.
The space up front is good and the lighter colours on the dashboard and carbon fibre-like treatment on the centre console help push the ‘luxury’ look and feel agenda and it achieves it too. But it’s the seat at the back that is underwhelming. With the driver’s seat adjusted according to my driving position, there was hardly any room for my colleague, who is 6 feet tall. But there is good enough head and shoulder room at the back, and that’s good.
On the feature front, it’s quite extensive, right from biometric authentication to voice recognition and wireless smartphone integration. It’s all part of the package. You’ve come to expect that of Mercedes-Benz now. The GLC is also the first SUV in the company’s line-up to get the latest MBUX NTG7 telematics.
But there are some driver-friendly features too like the Transparent Bonnet. You get a live feed of the road condition as you drive, which comes in handy when dealing with bad roads and gets deactivated once you hit 10 kmph. The one big miss though is a proper grip for the dead pedal and I had said this back in 2016 as well with the previous gen car. But of course, you want to know how it drives. so let’s get to it.
The GLC 300’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine makes 255bhp and gets an added 23bhp from a 48V motor generator. The all-wheel drive 4Matic+ system is now standard on the car so you expect power from the get-go. But there is a slight lag on the petrol variant we drove. The 9-speed transmission is on point. But at lower rpms, there is a lag and the sweet spot is between 2000-3500 rpm where it will sit happily all day long.
Off the mark, the engine is smooth, and the gear changes are also very sharp and quick. The 400 Nm of torque to pushes the bulky car ahead, and with 4 driving modes on offer, there are a lot of options for you to drive in, but it is not a sporty car. Yes, it has a 0-100 kmph time of 6.2 seconds, but the way it behaves is more like a family car than a sporty SUV, so let there be no doubt in your mind about it. Frankly, Mercedes-Benz isn’t going anywhere close to calling it a 'Sporty SUV’ either.
In Sports mode though it’s fun to drive because that’s when it is at its peak performance. The body roll is well controlled and you don’t feel like pushing the car much but it is a highway mile-muncher and truly exceptional in that department. There’s a 15 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency too and now the petrol returns a mileage of 14.72 kmpl. Mercedes will also bring in diesel but at a later stage. It too gets a 2-litre motor punching out 194 bhp but we’ll review that one soon.
The ride quality on the previous generation car was a bit too comfortable and the suspension travel was a bit much for my liking hence there were times when the car used to scrape its belly on big mounds. Well, that correction has been made in the new generation model. It’s taut and though it’s a family car, the stiffer suspension setup does not take away from the comfort aspect of the SUV. The back seat too is comfortable for passengers and sitting for long journeys is not going to be a problem because the seats are comfortable and there is no lateral movement you feel at the back.
Now on the safety front 7 airbags, 360-degree camera, parking assist, and lane keep assist are part of the package but this one gets Level 1 ADAS only which is a miss given that it will be expensive. Level 2 was definitely expected. All the seats in the car get a three-point seat belt and that again is a big thumbs up from our end.
Currently priced between Rs. 62 lakh to Rs. 68 lakh, the new GLC will come at a premium, because it has a lot more to offer. So, I am expecting it to begin from Rs. 67 lakh going all the way to Rs. 70 lakh (ex-showroom), and that’s expensive. I’ll put it into perspective. When it was first launched in 2016 it cost Rs. 51 lakh, so the prices have gone up by almost Rs. 15 lakh.
But rivals like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and the Volvo XC60 are priced similarly which is why I am expecting Mercedes to be very competitive because the GLC, though understated brings more to the table, more power, more tech and more comfort than ever before.
Photography By: Anand Malepu
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