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New Mercedes GLC — Lofty mission for a tall car

The new GLC and GLC Coupe round off a busy year for Mercedes-Benz.

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The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV (far left) and the GLC Coupe. The mid-size SUV is available as the GLC 200 and GLC 300 4Matic, while the coupe comes only in the GLC 300 4Matic guise for now.

Singapore

NEVER mind standing out, the newest Mercedes models in Singapore are all about standing tall.

The German luxury-car maker launched new versions of its GLC and GLC Coupe here on Nov 29.

The mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) is now on sale in GLC 200 and GLC 300 4Matic guise, while its slinkier spin-off is only available as a GLC 300 4Matic Coupe for now. High- performance versions from Mercedes-AMG will join the range next year, but for now, the three-model line-up starts at S$226,888 for the GLC 200.

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The more powerful GLC 300 costs S$242,888, and the Coupe version adds another S$21,000 to the price. All prices include certificate of entitlement.

The mid-life revamp brings a mild but noticeable facelift, with much of the work done on the Mercedes' face. The GLC has new headlamps with more distinctive LED lights. They flank a redesigned radiator grille, which in turn sits above a new bumper with a bigger bash plate that makes the car look more rugged.

A restyled bumper and redesigned lamps also freshen up the back, but the more major updates are inside and under the bonnet.

Mercedes has updated the cabin with a 10.25-inch touchscreen and the voice-guided interface it calls MBUX, for "Mercedes-Benz User Experience". Say what you want (within reason), and the GLC will apparently respond appropriately now.

For anyone engineering-minded, the most exciting changes must be the new mild hybrid drivetrains.

Both the GLC 200 and GLC 300 models have a new 2.0-litre turbo engine in different states of tune, and with more horsepower and some assistance from a small electric motor, they offer better performance with lower fuel consumption.

The GLC 200 sprints to 100 kmh in 7.8 seconds, which is half a second quicker than before the facelift. The GLC 300 does the same in 6.3 seconds, a full second faster than the GLC 250 it replaces.

While keen drivers will appreciate the improved acceleration, the car's real task is to sprint up the sales charts. Worldwide, the GLC has been Mercedes' best selling SUV, and board member Britta Seeger singled out the facelifted version as a key reason the brand just had its best October ever, when it delivered 199,293 cars.

The new GLC and GLC Coupe arrive just in time to help Mercedes get off to a strong start in 2020. These tall cars have a lofty mission.