New Mercedes GLC ride review
When it comes to SUVs, plenty has changed for Mercedes since it first entered the fray in 1997 with the M-Class.
An expansive line-up of SUVs means that cars of this type accounted for 49 per cent of all Mercedes sold globally in 2021. The company has been transformed by these vehicles, and the mid-size GLC has been a big part of that change.
The next generation of this modern Mercedes hallmark is due to be revealed this summer before going on sale in September, and we’ve had a passenger ride already. The new version of Merc’s big-selling GLC is set to receive plenty of modernisation.
It moves to the new MRA2 platform used by the latest C-Class, and inherits a similar list of tech to the compact executive saloon. Packaging is improved, with more legroom in the rear, while practicality steps up too, with a boot capacity 50 litres larger than before, at a generous 600 litres.
Electrification is another area of improvement, and a plug-in hybrid model using a larger battery than before, at 23kWh, will be offered. This will be capable of delivering around 62 miles of pure-electric running and company car tax-busting Benefit-in-Kind rates.
First to arrive, though, will be 48-volt mild-hybrid petrol and diesel engines. One of the latter powered the car we tried alongside test driver Peter Kolb, and the integration of 48-volt technology has greatly improved the refinement. The engine shuts off and coasts seamlessly, while noise isolation is excellent, distancing you from diesel knocking thanks to new foams, insulation and the availability of double glazing.
The new GLC is longer than the last car, but our first impression is of an SUV that’s altogether sportier and more agile. In Sport mode, it’s far more composed than before, cornering flatter and feeling more controlled than the current car.
Indeed, increasing stability has been the overriding aim for the new GLC’s chassis engineers, and to that end it is fitted with an important item of technology found on the new S-Class and C-Class: rear-wheel steering.
The rear axle can turn by up to 4.5 degrees. At high speed the wheels turn the same way as the fronts for greater stability, while at low speed things go in the opposite direction.
This means the new GLC turns into slower corners with sharper responses, but it should also make the SUV more manoeuvrable around town, thanks to a reduced turning circle of just 10.8 metres.
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