Mercedes-Benz has pulled the covers off the all-new GLC (X254), the second-generation evolution of the German marque’s popular SUV. How can this new one better armed to attack the BMW X3 and Volvo XC60?
The ‘more is better’ adage does somewhat seem to apply consistently across the automotive industry with each subsequent car being larger, better equipped, and usually more expensive than the one it replaces.
A C-Class SUV, As Usual?
With the GLC, kind of like clockwork, Mercedes-Benz has revealed the all-new version roughly 16 months after the debut of the W206 C-Class, its in-segment sister model. Like the saloon, this GLC is built upon the same MRA architecture and has broader, more advanced compatibility for electrified/electric powertrains and support for optional rear-axle steering.
From the exterior, there’s not too much that sticks out as different, unique, or new as there are both visual callbacks to the older X253 as well as nods to the W206 such as that tail lamp cluster that adds a sense of visual width to the rear end.
X254 GLC-Class - Improved Specs
It measures 4,716mm from nose to tail, is 1,650mm at its highest point, and is 2,075mm wide making it slightly larger than the older model in all those dimensions. However, it’s the GLC’s 15mm increase in wheelbase that might yield the most appreciable improvement to passengers. Surely this is the biggest contributor to the extra 50-litres in cargo space.
Mercedes-Benz has not revealed the full breadth of variants and their associated powertrains and spec breakdowns, but for now we have details on the GLC 200 and GLC 300 that will no doubt make up the bulk of units sold as was the case before.
X254 GLC-Class - Powertrain
Both feature a 2.0-litre M254 inline-4 turbocharged petrol engine each with a 48V belt-driven starter-generator that effectively makes them mild hybrids (EQ Boost). Power is between 203PS and 257PS and will be distributed through a 9-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels via the 4Matic AWD system.
Plug-in hybrid variants will supposedly comprise many more variants than there were previously with buyers getting the option of the GLC 300e and GLC 400e. They are essentially using the combustion engine as the GLC 200 and GLC 300, but with a 136PS gearbox-mounted electric motor for additional fuel economy and substantially higher outputs of 310PS and 378PS, respectively.
Mercedes-Benz is also pairing the GLC with a couple of turbodiesel engines with or without that accompanying electric motor. However, their availability won’t be nearly as widespread as the petrol MHEV or plug-in hybrids, which can yield an impressive pure electric range of up to 120km and supports DC fast charging at up to 60kW.
GLC-Class - AMG
On the matter of performance, there are two AMG performance variants of the all-new GLC, likely to be GLC 43 and GLC 63, and mirror the powertrain and mechanical upgrades from the C-Class based C 43 and C 63, both of which are slated to ditch the big V8 to be high output plug-in hybrids utilising F1-style electric turbocharger for insane boost pressures into a small-displacement four-cylinder.
Like the W206 C-Class, this GLC uses the same multi-link front and rear suspension but only the SUV supports the brand’s Airmatic shocks with self-levelling and adjustable damping, which comes standard on plug-in hybrid variants. This also allows the car to give itself 20mm extra ground clearance when a special off-road mode is engaged.
The cabin is another area where the C-Class' influence is very clear, using the same combination of 12.3-inch digital instrument display and portrait-style 11.9-inch centre infotainment touchscreen. Just as the C-Class has been praised for elevating the level of material quality and luxury over its predecessor, so too should the GLC.
In most markets, the spread of equipment levels and variants should follow closely, if not identically mirror, their C-Class equivalents. These would include certain premium additions such as a panoramic roof, a 710-watt Burmester sound system, and all the usual expected active safety features.
Of course, we’ll keep our ear to the ground as to when we can expect Mercedes-Benz Malaysia to bring in this newest 2nd-generation X254 GLC-Class. Like its predecessor as well as the W206 C-Class, it will likely arrive in showrooms as a locally assembled vehicle, skipping any early CBU confusion.