Mercedes GLC mid-size SUV arrives
IT'S the Mercedes-Benz model that simply had to happen.
The mid-size premium SUV market is hot property right now, and Merc has been a notable absentee while its competition has cheerily gobbled up sales.
The GLC, which arrives in Australian showrooms this month, is here to change that. And on paper it should firstly be very good (it's based on the really quite brilliant current C-Class) and secondly bring further sales success to Mercedes, the German auto maker going through one hell of a purple patch in Australia thanks to its extensive model range which (for the most part) is both desirable and well priced.
Cause for optimism surrounding the GLC is there thanks to sales of the competition.
On the mid-size SUV front, Audi has sold 3540 Q5 models in 2015 (compared to 2126 A4s) BMW has shifted 3375 X3s and X4s (only the X5 and 3 Series are bigger sellers), Land Rover has found homes for 1443 Discovery Sports and 2009 Range Rover Evoques, while Porsche's best seller this year - by miles - is the Macan: 1818 sold so far compared to just 350 911s.
With 1137 Porsche Cayennes sold in 2015 too, it's not hard to see which models are keeping the traditional sports car company in the black.
But all these mid-size luxury SUVs are sure to take something of a sales hit with the new Merc player in town.
The GLC arrives in three guises: the 220d for $64,500, 250 petrol at $67,900 and range-topping (at launch) 250d for $69,990. The entry-level 220d features a 2.1-litre turbo-diesel good for 125kW and 400Nm; the 250 is the only petrol variant and offers 155kW/350Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo. The 250d delivers 150kW/500Nm from its 2.1-litre turbo-diesel. All come with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive and a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Toys will also be offered in abundance, with standard equipment on the 220d including 19-inch alloys, sat nav, electric seats, electric tailgate, LED lights, keyless start, Collision Prevention Assist Plus autonomous braking, blind spot monitoring and a 360-degree view camera. The 250 and 250d also score 20-inch alloys, proper leather seats and additional driver assistance goodies.
Quoted economy figures add to the appeal, with the 220d and 250d said to return 5.0litres/100km, and the 250 petrol 6.5litres/100km. The 220d will sprint to 100kmh in 8.3seconds, the 250d 7.6seconds and the 250 petrol just 7.3seconds. Towing capacity is 2500kg for the diesels and 2400kg for the petrol and there is 580litres of boot space with rear seats up, or 1600litres folded down.
The GLC doesn't look half bad either, and such is our love affair with the mid-size SUV segment right now (up 20% in 2015 so far), you can almost hear the wallets opening as the new Merc SUV arrives.
Seeking any negatives in a sea of positives? Well, the GLC makes the Merc's own C Class Estate look vulnerable and comparatively expensive - a C200 wagon starts at $63,400, only $1200 less than the all-wheel-drive GLC 220d SUV. As if sedans and wagons need any more kicks while they're down from the all-conquering SUVs.
The GLC looks a segment-shattering success story in the making. Welcome to the mid-size SUV party Mercedes; come on in, the water is very warm.