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The Mercedes GLC – an introduction to the world of the future

By Irish Pharmacist - 04th Sep 2023

Mercedes-Benz GLC

Many years ago, the Mercedes A-class was the best-selling model in the Mercedes range in the UK. Now their best-selling model worldwide is the GLC. It is a sign of the times that their best-seller is no longer a small hatchback, but an SUV. It is also a sign of the times that we are having difficulty fitting our cars into the car park spaces in hotel car parks and apartment blocks that were sketched out nearly 30 years ago. In Ireland, we remain thinking small, as the Mercedes best-seller (beepbeep.ie) is the GLA, which is their smallest SUV. 

The GLC is a car Mercedes have to get right. In line with expectations, it is only available as a hybrid, whether plug-in or mild hybrid, with its 48-volt starter/generator. This translates into real-life starting with no discernible noise or sensation of engine firing. 

I picked up the car from Dublin fully charged. I got home to Drogheda at motorway speeds and was driving around all the following day before I managed to deplete the battery (I got about 95kms of range, Mercedes say 129kms) and then the engine gently woke up. Only for the rev-counter moving I would not have known. From then on, driving was a mix of electric and petrol propulsion. My wife, sitting beside me, never knew at any time when the petrol engine was working, unless I floored it. Even then it remained refined. 

My impression of the GLC was that it was big. It is 6cms longer than the outgoing model, not that you’d notice. It has a larger rear overhang giving it increased (+70 litres) boot capacity despite the elevated floor to accommodate the electrical stuff. Many years ago, we talked about drag co-efficients (Cd) for cars. The GLC has an excellent value for an SUV of 0.29Cd.

I’m told that the GLC is at home on any terrain, but I’m not taking a €91,000 Mercedes across any sandbanks or muddy fields any time soon. For those who need to know, towing capacity is 2.5 tonnes. Let me say that I know a family who used to swear by Land Rovers and are now loving their new GLC, as well as a builder who travels to Dublin daily entirely on electric power. And yes, he tops it up on site in Dublin. 

The almost two-tonne
GLC has a 0-100kmh time
of 6.7 seconds and
a top speed of 218km/h
 

At home, I plugged the GLC into a three-pin socket in the garage. It told me it would take 17 hours to fill from empty. If I had the Mercedes wall adapter it would have been substantially less. Negotiate for one of these with your purchase. 

The information I got said that the specification has been significantly upgraded with over €16,000 of extras compared to the outgoing model. Don’t expect a list from me, but I am also told that the MBUX infotainment system is even more intelligent. It seemed to understand me better than Alexa at home. By that I mean spoken commands, not my moods…. 

There have been lots of improvements in vehicle technology over the years, with some lifesavers such as the anti-lock brakes, airbags, and stability control systems. Later examples include radar distance control and active brake assist, which can activate if I drive too close to the car in front. 

Engine choice is four-cylinder petrol or diesel, with a further choice of mild or plug-in hybrid. Power ranges from 190kW (250bhp approximately) and 400Nm of torque (that’s lots) in the petrol GLC to 195kW and 450Nm in the diesel, and both add 17kW and 200Nm of torque with the starter/generator electric motor. Provided it is fully charged, of course.

All cars have nine-speed automatic gearboxes and all-wheel drive. 

The almost two-tonne GLC has a 0-100kmh time of 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 218km/h. More good news, road tax is €140. In my opinion, when it comes to hybrid, the only way is plug-in. 

After all that, the GLC is a wonderful introduction to the world of the future. It is large, pleasant, and when used intelligently, it is economical and quiet when under electric or petrol power.

And for those who need to get to Cork or Kerry from Dublin without stopping, there’s a backup engine you can use.

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