The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is an all-new vehicle that gets its size from the outgoing GLK-Class and shares interior and exterior styling cues — and about 70% of its parts, including the engine — with the recently redesigned C-Class sedan.
The product of this strange marriage is a luxury compact crossover SUV with attractive styling, a fuel-efficient, turbocharged engine, and safety to spare.
Good thing, too, because the GLC-Class was built to compete with such popular schoolmates as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Volvo XC60.
The GLC improves on the outgoing GLK by adding width, height, and length, and limiting the initial engine options to a 2.0-liter turbo four-banger, which delivers 241 horsepower (hp) and 273 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque. The 2.0 burns 24 miles per gallon (mpg) in combined city and highway driving — with or without available all-wheel drive; the GLK’s 3.5-liter V-6 earned a combo score of 21 mpg with all-wheel drive.
The new vehicle’s understated front fascia and sophisticated sheet metal is a welcome departure from the GLK’s boxy, toylike exterior. The interior is clearly modeled after the C-Class, from the freestanding touchscreen to the touchpad/control wheel combo that controls it. The doublewide center console propagates the theory that luxury car buyers only feel comfortable in cockpits that feature faux wood accents.
Standard equipment includes a five-year subscription to “mbrace,” an operating system slash cellphone app that allows drivers to start, warm up, and cool down the GLC remotely, 18-inch alloy wheels, adjustable suspension, a power liftgate, dual-zone climate control, an eight-speaker stereo, and more.
The GLC is outfitted with a wide array of standard safety features, including traction, stability, and trailer-sway control, a forward-collision warning system with autonomous emergency braking, and PreSafe, which adjusts seat belts, seats, and head restraints to protect the driver and passengers when a collision is imminent.
Available Sport, Night, Air Balance, Lighting, Premium, and Multimedia packages add such features as bigger wheels and brakes, advanced safety features, and leather upholstery.
The gasoline-powered GLC-Class is in showrooms now with a starting MSRP of $38,950 for the GLC300 and $40,950 for the GLC300 4MATIC. A 369-lb.-ft. diesel is due before the end of the year, and a 320-hp hybrid powertrain and 365-hp AMG performance model are expected for 2017.