EngineTurbo 2.0L I4
Power241 HP / 273 LB-FT
Curb Weight3,900 LBS (est.)
As part of Mercedes' expansion with new models (and old models taking on new names) the GLC will no longer be the entry-level CUV for Mercedes – that title has been assumed by the GLA crossover. The GLC moves up not only in the hierarchical range, but grows 4.6 inches in the wheelbase, and is more roomy overall. Most evident, the GLC gets completely new styling, something that is immediately clear upon first glance. Mercedes says the 2016 GLC represents the future design direction for all its SUVs. Continuing the "Sensual Purity" design language of the new S-Class and C-Class, our Euro-spec GLC prototype is curvier, cleaner, and more modern than the more rugged-looking GLK. Mercedes says the US will have standard front and rear bumpers optimized for off-road use, with a 28-degree approach and departure angles for all variants.
Despite boasting four doors, the GLC has a coupe-like silhouette. Our model's LED headlights, chrome-finished dual exhaust pipes, and large wheels (up to 20-inches) add to this sporty aesthetic. The real story however, is on the inside, where the GLC mimics the striking interior of the C-Class. Based on our model's open-pore wood, flowing center console, and brushed metallic and piano-black finishes the GLC boasts the nicest interior in the class.
With a few short hours spent evaluating Benz's new ute – and evading endless Baltic speed traps – we were able to get some immediate impressions. There's a lot to like here.
- The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is rated at 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. But what the driver actually experiences will depend on the five different driving modes. A simple toggle switch on the center console by the MMI touchpad and scrollwheel moves you through the various modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual. Each mode represents a marked difference in steering feel and throttle response.
- Eco and Comfort modes are fine for driving around town, but lack any semblance of sportiness. Sport and Sport Plus improve feedback, but the GLC never feels quick in any mode. It does feel nimble, and the drive is more car-like than SUV, which bodes well for the majority of US customers.
- Finding a comfortable position in the power front seats is easy. The Designo-clad buckets we tried have plenty of torso bolstering but a little less around the legs, meaning larger drivers won't feel cramped. There's ample headroom for tall folks, though the coupe-like silhouette puts a hit on rear headroom.
- The nine-speed transmission shifts seamlessly. In manual mode the shifts are quick. It seems Mercedes's transmission work is paying off.
- We detected some wind noise at high speed, but road noise is completely absent inside the cabin.
- Mercedes says its use of aluminum and high-strength steel helped shed 176 pounds from the GLC versus its predecessor. That will help with fuel economy, but the big takeaway is an SUV that genuinely feels light and easy to maneuver.
- The color head-up display has clear resolution and is easy to read in bright sunlight or with polarized sunglasses on.
- Overall ergonomics are excellent. The interior feels exceptionally wide. The rear seats are easy to fold for larger cargo, and the vast panoramic sunroof makes the cabin an airy and pleasant place to be.
After our short time in the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC we came away impressed with the lavish interior, the sportier design, and the nimble, car-like feel of Mercedes's newest crossover. We'll have our full impressions soon.