Mercedes is in the middle of a naming overhaul that brings about a slightly revised name with each redesigned vehicle. In the midsize SUV realm, the second-generation GLK is now becoming the GLC, and the new SUV has just made its worldwide debut.
As you can see in the images, Mercedes has massaged its midsize SUV’s body, taking out the kinks and boxy look. The resulting GLC has a sleeker look that not only keeps it up with the times, but also allows it to cut through the air more effectively.
What’s more, the GLC weighs 176 pounds less than the outgoing GLK, thanks to the extensive use of aluminum and high-strength steel. This weight loss is even more impressive when you consider the GLC is 4.7 inches longer, 2.0 inches wider, and 0.3 inches taller than the 2015 GLK.
Wheels sized up to 20 inches complement the looks of the GLC nicely.
Inside the cabin, the GLC gains some of the looks of its big brother, the GLE-Class. This trend of working down the lineup using styling cues from flagship models is a recent addition to Mercedes’ design philosophy. Inside the GLC are premium features, like open-pore wood and a glass roof.
Roominess is a problem that the GLC doesn’t have to deal with. It offers up an extra 1.3 inches of foot space when compared to the GLK, 20.5 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, and 56.5 cubic feet of total cargo capacity (European specifications). What’s more, it can handle cargo measuring up to 52 inches long by 43.3 inches wide, so you can go ahead and pick up that new flat-screen TV and not worry about it not fitting.
In the U.S., the GLC will be available in two flavors: GLC 300 and the GLC 300 4MATIC. Both models will make use of Mercedes’ 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 241 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 273 pound-feet of twist from 1,300 revs. This engine mates to a 9G-Tronic nine-speed auto transmission. The optional 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system ships 45 percent of the power to the front wheels and 55 percent to the rear as default.
There is a brief mention and some images of a GLC 350e 4MATIC plug-in hybrid in the U.S. press release, but the U.K. presser details it better. This 327-horsepower SUV will emit just 60 grams of CO2 per km, hit a top speed of 146 mph, hit 62 mph in just 5.9 seconds, and travel up to 21 miles on electricity alone. My guess is that this will be a late addition to the U.S. lineup, which would explain its omission in our press release.
To ensure the GLC delivers quality comfort when needed or dynamic handling in the corners, Mercedes fit it with Air Body Control, which uses standard steel springs and variable dampers. This system is further enhanced by the Dynamic Select handling-control system, which has five programs: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual. Each system changes this suspension system to fit your driving style, for example, the Sport+ mode tightens the suspension and lowers the GLC by 0.6 inches.
The Dynamic Select system also has a direct effect on the transmission and throttle response for improved performance when needed or higher fuel economy.
The 2016 GLC also comes with a large suite of safety features as standard, including Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Crosswind Assist, Active Highbeam Assist, and Attention Assist. Optional safety features include Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian detection, BAS Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist, and more.
Mercedes has yet to reveal pricing for the GLC, but it did mention that it’ll hit U.S. dealers in November 2015 and that pricing will be similar to the 2015 GLK-Class.