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A real class act

With the introduction of the previous generation of the Mercedes-Benz GLC, it quickly became a global leader within its segment in terms of styling, luxury and capability. ANTON WILLEMSE JNR heads to Cape Town for a spin in the second generation and reports that the German brand is on track to remain ahead of the pack.

Upon first inspection the latest-generation Mercedes-Benz GLC doesn’t look like much of a departure from its predecessor. The design is what one would expect from Merc – subtle and stylish. And as to be expected from the German brand, class and refinement are key themes.

The first thing you notice when walking up to is an imposing front grille, made all the more striking by chrome accents. And if you inspect it, you’ll notice the little Merc stars on the grille – affirming the GLC as the marque‘s shining star.

Interior and space

The interior is designed with the overall driver experience in mind, aiming to channel all your attention to the road and what’s ahead. However, I found the abundance of tech a tad distracting at times. With that being said, the tech is phenomenal and covers everything you can think of and more. In the centre of the cabin sits a massive 11.9-inch high-resolution LCD screen that flows freely into the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that seems to float above the trim area. Well put together, the GLC’s interior is truly stylish and high-end.

Style means nothing without practicality, though, and here the GLC also doesn’t disappoint. With a length of 4 716mm, it is 60mm longer than its predecessor, and also 4mm lower. While the overall width has remained unchanged, the track width has been improved by 6mm in the front and 23mm at the rear.

The luggage capacity benefits from the larger rear overhang and has increased significantly to 620 litres. That’s 70 litres more than the previous model and comes in rather handy for family trips. Practicality and convenience are further bolstered by the so-called EASY-PACK tailgate as standard. This opens or closes by pressing the button on the key fob, a switch in the driver’s door or the unlocking handle on the tailgate itself.

Power and performance

The range kicks off with the GLC220d 4Matic. In this entry-level variation lays a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that sends 145kW and 440Nm to all four corners through Mercedes-Benz’s well known 4Matic system. The internal combustion engine works with a mild-hybrid system capable of adding 17kW and 200Nm for brief periods of boost. This bestows the Merc with a pretty decent 0-100km/h sprint time of eight seconds.

Next in line is the GLC300 4Matic. And no, it’s not a 3.0-litre, but rather a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol with an output of 190kW and 400Nm of torque on tap, also using the mild-hybrid system for an additional 17kW and 200Nm. In this iteration sprinting from standstill to 100km/h happens in 6.2 seconds.

At the top of the model pile sits the GLC300d 4Matic. Its turbodiesel engine is good for 198kW and 550Nm, which is briefly supported by the aforementioned mild-hybrid system. It sprints from 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds.

In terms of handling the GLC doesn’t feel like a bulky and cumbersome SUV, mostly due to the fact that it utilises the same architecture as its sedan sister. This means that it navigates a twisty mountain or coastal road as happily as any hot hatch or sports sedan, while the AIRMATIC suspension eats up any and imperfections in the road surface.

In conclusion

Overall, the Mercedes-Benz GLC is, in essence, just more of what works for the brand. It’s a punchy and well-handling, extremely refined luxury SUV. It does sit at the pricy side, but that is to be expected from any Merc.

Model line-up & pricing

• Mercedes-Benz GLC220d 4Matic: R1 211 220

• Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic: R1 328 500 (excluding CO2 tax)

• Mercedes-Benz GLC300d 4Matic: R1 410 194

*All models come with a 2-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and a 5-year/100 000km PremiumDrive Platinum service and maintenance plan.

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