Mercedes-Benz GLC250 4MATIC: C on pointe

It is rather inevitable that crossovers would gain much popularity one day. After all, these compact SUVs do much better at clearing bumpy roads, deliver the same (or higher) level of comfort compared to their sedan brothers, and ultimately, pack a sporty punch to it.

So we weren’t really surprised when Mercedes-Benz launched their new GLC-Class, a seemingly replacement for the GLK, which we never got a chance to see on our shores.

And since we didn’t get to try out the GLK, we took a drive in the new GLC250 4MATIC to see how it handled.

Exterior

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The competitor to Audi’s Q5 and BMW’s X3 proved to look much sportier than we expected.

On the first glance, one might just mistake the GLC as its younger GLA brother. After all, both cars sport the same boxy facade at the front, just that the former stands a little taller at 1,639 mm (as compared to the GLA’s 1,494 mm).

The soft creases on the GLC flows seamlessly from the bonnet across its side profile, all the way to the rear. There are no sudden arches or angular curves, not even at the boot area, maintaining that sophisticated yet clean vibe the entire chassis presents itself with.

Interior

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We’ve been amazed by the interior of the new W205 C-Class, and this is no different. Less the analogue clock in the middle of the console, the interior of the GLC exuded a combination of luxury and sportiness.

The dashboard contour of the GLC runs from the steering side, across the COMAND infotainment screen, and tapering down into the passenger’s A-pillar. We thought it flowed extremely smoothly, similar to the streamlined side profile of the car when viewed from the outside.

Sophistication comes in the form of the rotary control knob in the middle of the center console, allowing you to toggle information and change settings via the infotainment screen. There’re not too many buttons accompanying it, and you don’t really need a full hour to get used to the controls. It’s as simple as look, touch, and go – really.

We never had a chance to sit in (not to mention, try out) the GLK, but the GLC seats three adults comfortably at the rear, with room to spare for a fourth. Legroom is ample, and Mercedes’ seats will cushion  you comfortably during your ride, as usual.

The Drive

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Now that we’ve been amazed by the looks, we took it onto the highways to find out how it handles.

In general, the GLC250 4MATIC feels like a C-Class on pointe. It tips above the C-sedan, yet maintaining the comfort and perspective you’d get on any ordinary C-Class.

Packing a 2-litre engine in the front of the car, the GLC puts out 208 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque. Less all the technical jargon, this simply means that the GLC should get you reasonably ahead of most other cars from the lights, in just 7.3 seconds to the 100 km/h mark.

Smooth and refined are probably the best words to describe your normal everyday drive, cruising on the highways or even navigating tight turns in the urban cityscape. The GLC delivers impressively, with a considerably good NVH count that shuts out a fair amount of external noise.

Gear changes are as smooth as we’d expected on Mercedes-Benz’s new 9-speed transmission system. Even when pushed hard, changes between gears are swift and decisive, with no apparent lag where your vehicle decides whether it should or should not give you that extra push. You wouldn’t get to the ninth gear, though, it’s just too many to count for comfort.

While the GLC offers a smooth and refined ride, we thought that it loses out in terms of dynamic handling. Pushing this crossover hard, we realised that it didn’t appear as nimble as we’d expect (or as what an X3 would offer). Tight corners prove to be a little too challenging for this 1.7 tonne car, but it nevertheless conquered most of our twists and turns without too much uncomfortableness in us.

Conclusion

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Despite its shortcomings when you’re out for an adrenaline-rushed de-stressing ride, the GLC proves to be a pretty good and viable option when all you need is a reasonably-spacious, sporty, yet luxurious ride.

It doesn’t drive as well as its Bavarian cousin (whom focuses a whole lot on sportiness), nor looks as sleek as the four-ringed friend across the block, but it sure does exude its own sense of prestige and refinement.

Between the three, we’d say this could probably make the cut.

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