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2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Overview
Introduced for the 2016 model year to replace the GLK-Class, the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is a compact luxury SUV that forms part of Mercedes’ seemingly endless range of luxury vehicles. It's fairly large for a compact crossover and looks very similar to the midsize GLE-Class. Across the industry, it seems like cars are getting bigger and SUVs are getting smaller, and for the 2017 model year Mercedes introduced a “coupe” to the GLC lineup, at the New York International Auto Show. The coupe arrives in dealerships early next year, and the GLC-Class is available in both base and AMG trims. With a smoother overall shape and LED headlamps, the GLC-Class is a notable improvement over the GLK that it has replaced, and its main competitors are vehicles like the BMW X3 or X4, Volvo XC60, Audi Q5, or Jaguar’s new F-PACE.
Available in both rear-wheel-drive (RWD) and 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations, the base GLC-Class, the GLC300, is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with an ample 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to Mercedes’ 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission, and in RWD configuration the GLC will achieve mileage of 22 mpg city/28 highway/24 combined. When equipped with AWD, city mileage drops to 21 mpg. Upgrading to the AMG version of the GLC-Class gets you a biturbo 3.0-liter V6 rated at 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes-Benz claims the V6 will do 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds and go on to a limited top speed of 155 mph. The AMG is equipped with AWD and the same 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic as the GLC 300.
Underneath the GLC-Class is a 4-link front suspension and 5-link rear axle. Various selectable driving modes adjust the suspension for different driving situations, and the Sport+ mode can lower the chassis by almost an inch. Other powertrain modes include Eco, Comfort, and Sport. Air suspension is standard on the AMG version, which also gets bigger brakes, and is an option on the GLC300--and though air suspension is certainly appealing, it’s worth noting that a break or failure can be catastrophically expensive to repair.
A 7-inch infotainment screen comes standard, featuring standard Bluetooth and USB and optional navigation. Other options include a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and a Burmester sound system. Because the GLC-Class is significantly longer and wider than its predecessor, the GLK, it has a notably roomier rear passenger area and is actually roomier overall than many of its competitors. Back seat headroom is spacious enough for adults as well as children, and the rear seats split 40/20/40 for cargo storage. Obviously, the new coupe version of the GLC-Class sacrifices a significant amount of space due to its sloping roofline.
The previous GLK-Class performed very well in crash tests and Mercedes-Benz generally has a well-deserved reputation for safety. The current GLC-Class has only helped that reputation. Standard equipment includes collision prevention-assist plus and an attention assist feature that detects drowsy driving. Active Parking Assist is available, and a Driving Assistance Plus package gets you all sorts of other safety bonuses, including adaptive cruise control with steering assist, blind-spot monitors, lane-keep assist, Pre-Safe Plus, and automatic emergency braking. The list of airbags is equally extensive, with new window bags for the outer seats, thorax and pelvic bags for the front seats, and a knee bag for the driver.
The full Mercedes-Benz model range comprises over two dozen different vehicles, so there really is something for everyone who's interested in the brand. Mercedes has now also introduced a coupe version of the GLC-Class to expand the model range even further (and to keep up with successful vehicles like the BMW X6). Slotted between the GLA- and GLE-Class, but notably smaller than the GL- or M-Class, the GLC is a good compromise on size. It is basically the SUV version of the C-Class (with which it shares a platform), so for someone who likes the idea and driving feel of a C-Class but wants some extra height and space, the GLC-Class is an ideal pick.
Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a 1969 Lynx Formula Vee. After receiving two degrees in history, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.
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