Launch model is GLC300 with turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
Optional 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive (AWD)
Larger, lighter, quieter, more efficient than GLK
New standard and optional equipment
On sale in November 2015
Replacing the boxy GLK-Class in the Mercedes-Benz SUV lineup, the new 2016 GLC-Class shifts to the automaker's new naming conventions, serving as a step up from the smaller GLA-Class and slotting beneath the larger GLE-Class (formerly the M-Class).
Though the GLE-Class is a 5-passenger midsize model, Mercedes also characterizes the new 5-passenger GLC-Class as a "midsize SUV." It goes on sale in the United States in November 2015, and Mercedes says it will be priced similar to the current GLK-Class.
According to Mercedes-Benz designers, the GLC's styling theme is called "Sensual Purity." Company spokespeople claim that what is seen in the GLC's sheetmetal "serves as the standard for future SUV families."
Dimensionally larger and sitting on a longer wheelbase, the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC is more aerodynamic and lighter in weight than the GLK it replaces, with the expected result of improved fuel efficiency and a quieter interior. Mercedes plans to offer the new GLC in 12 exterior colors, including three premium Designo choices.
Mercedes-Benz promises that the 2016 GLC will have a more modern interior appearance rendered in improved materials, as well as more space for passengers and cargo. Larger doors make it easier to get into and out of the vehicle, too. The automaker has also taken significant steps toward quieting the GLC's cabin.
Standard equipment includes MB-Tex leatherette upholstery. A 7-in. infotainment display screen is also standard, equipped with Bluetooth, USB port, and Internet connectivity when paired with an appropriate smartphone and data plan. A rotary dial on the center console operates the system and includes a fingertip touchpad with handwriting-recognition technology.
Buyers will be able to option a GLC using a long menu of upgrades. Highlights include standard or premium leather upholstery, open-pore wood or piano black lacquer trim, an Air Balance ionizer and fragrance system, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, and multi-color ambient lighting.
Navigation, a premium audio system, and a panoramic sunroof are also available, along with a new Easy-Pack hands-free tailgate operated by waving a foot under the rear bumper. Additional options include adaptive LED headlights, aluminum wheel selections up to 20 in. in diameter, and a number of safety and convenience technologies.
Designo interior packages equip the GLC-Class with special leather colors and interior trim, and a Night package includes bigger 19-in. aluminum wheels and high-gloss black exterior trim. Mercedes also offers an AMG Line package with 19-in. wheels, unique grille and bumper designs, and polished aluminum trim.
Under the Hood
Initially, this new Mercedes SUV will be offered as the GLC300 and the GLC300 4Matic, the latter swapping rear-wheel drive for permanent AWD with a 45/55 front-to-rear power split. Additional models will arrive in 2016 and 2017, including a plug-in hybrid called the GLC350e.
The GLC300 has a turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which makes an estimated 241 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 273 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,300 rpm to 4,000 rpm. A 9-speed automatic transmission is standard, along with Dynamic Cornering Assist and electromechanical Direct Steer steering.
Drivers can choose different programs that alter the GLC300's dynamics. They include Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual, and they adjust the optional adaptive damping air suspension when the SUV is equipped with that option. Mercedes claims that the new GLC300 is even more adept off-road than the GLK-Class was, boasting 28-degree angles of approach and departure.
Every 2016 GLC-Class will have several standard, high-tech safety features, including Attention Assist, Crosswind Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, Active Highbeam Assist, and a trial subscription to Mbrace data services including automatic emergency calling.
As an option, buyers can choose a Driving Assistance package that includes adaptive Distronic Plus cruise control with Steering Assist technology, which is designed to keep the SUV centered in its lane. Standard and active versions of blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist systems are also included, along with Cross Traffic Assist, Pre-Safe Brake with Pedestrian Detection, Pre-Safe Plus collision-preparation technology, and more. For 2016, Pre-Safe Plus adds vehicle preparation for an impact when another motorist is about to strike the SUV from behind.
Mercedes will offer a new head-up display system for the GLC-Class, along with a 360-degree camera view system and an Active Parking Assist system that works for both parallel and perpendicular spaces.