BEHIND THE WHEEL: MERCEDES BENZ GLC250
MONDAY NOVEMBER 14, 2016
Cars have definitely gotten cheaper over the years. A decade ago, the cheapest German SUV you can buy is an X5 priced at about half a million ringgit. Fast forward ten years, you'll be spoilt for choice from 300 onwards. They are now about the size of a mark one X5 and have harnessed a decent amount of traits to make up for driving enjoyment.
Good looks matched with a price tag within the reach of many, the GLC is an interesting proposition but being based on the C-class is something to be worried of. The Audi Q5, BMW X3, RR Evoque and Disco Sport (that nobody buys) are all in for competition. This time round, I can just hope Mercedes did not pull off another A-class gimmick.
Pleasing looks, inside and out
0-100 km/h: 7.3s
Top speed: 222 km/h
The car sent my way was in black. It was one sleek looking thing. Call it boring where most SUVs are, at least it’s not in silver or grey. The proportions I must say are rather good, especially from behind. A cohesive design from the front to its bulbous rear accompanied with shoes from Jimmy Choo’s. This is definitely a car that deserves a place on anyone's porch.
What gravitated me most in the GLC was its Burmester audio, something I have been dying to try but can’t seem to find the time. Now that I do, the first thing I did was pairing my phone to the car. It didn't take long for me to realise COMAND-APS still does not want to be my friend as it needed several trials and many swivels before I was able to make things happen.
Off I went with the gear selector on the right column which is by the way still very Estima to me. It takes little effort to steer the GLC and anyone can zip out of junctions quickly as they are able to see over cars along the road, real convenient.
" For most, that three-pointed star will do but
this is more than just that "
Despite having passive AMG dampers, the ride is not overly stiff to a point where passengers would complain. It may crash a little over larger potholes but as a whole, well controlled. Body roll isn’t severe despite not having adaptive suspensions. This is a setup done right despite fitted with run flat tyres.
Onto the negatives, the steering is skewed to the left which is not optimal by any measure. And of course being an electric steering, there is no feel but it is one that isn’t shabby in terms of accuracy as far as SUVs go. Its 2-litre mill is good for taxes but at the expense of shove. Also an Audi Q5 accelerates marginally faster. Following that, grinding noise from that engine still manages to find their way into the cabin.
Panoramic roof invites glare on top of unwanted heat into the cabin, robs that bit of comfort away and it is something that the GLC can do better without. It too comes with collision prevention which did not assist me in any ways but scared me instead. Also its automated parking feature is very much garbage.
Like every car that’s turbo charged, there inevitably will be lag and this one is no different, most notably in comfort mode. It is easily irradiated by selecting Sport or Sport+ then the GLC’s transmission shifts smoothly through its nine gears. If it still annoys you, there’s an individual setting. It is one of the company’s better efforts after two decades of making automated gearboxes.
There is not much to dislike about the GLC. It seats five, has a huge boot, keeps outside noise out rather well. Headroom in the rear is good with decent legroom and like most midsized SUVs, seats are a tad bit upright. The texture of the naked matte wood feels really nice, the interior is tightly screwed together yet I have not gotten to the best part.
The 13-speaker Burmester audio. They are no less than one of the best in the business. Not only do they look expensive but the sound it produces is seriously rich in detail. Just tailor the bass to your liking then tunes will sound warmer. They may not be at home HiFi quality but being confined in a car, things do not get much better.
I returned later in the evening where the sun had set, greeted by an illuminated logo as I exited the car and thought to myself this is a Mercedes-Benz that is worthy of its star.