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New Mercedes GLC review: A car with enemies

Despite its long list of enemies, the mid-size crossover looks set to remain a best seller for Mercedes-Benz.

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The GLC gets the hardware side of things right, and does so with a sense of grace so typical of a proper Mercedes.

BT_20191220_MERC2_3982545.jpg
The GLC gets the hardware side of things right, and does so with a sense of grace so typical of a proper Mercedes.

Singapore

IN ONE way, the car world is upside down. Here, the more popular something is, the more enemies it has.

That's why the Mercedes GLC, a best seller for its maker, has such a long list of foes: mainly, the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Lexus NX, and peripherally the Infiniti QX50, Porsche Macan and Range Rover Evoque.

Good luck to them all, because a mid-life revamp makes the Mercedes more appealing than ever.

On the outside, not much seems to have changed. The GLC has new lamps, new bumpers and a new grille. That's fine, because it was a handsome car to begin with. It's inside the cabin and under the bonnet where the surgeons have done much more meaningful work. New engines now propel the GLC family, promising lower fuel consumption, livelier acceleration and smoother operation. They deliver it, too, thanks to a mild hybrid system. It recovers energy when the GLC slows down, stores it in a lithium-ion battery and uses it to drive a motor that aids the engine.

Anyway, the 258 horsepower engine in the GLC 300 gives it the satisfying vitality needed to stay a front-runner in those sprints between traffic lights. Though the transmission could use a dose of smoothness, the ride comfort is terrific and most of the time the engine whispers like a mafia don.

No matter what the salesman tells you, you don't need the GLC 300's 4Matic all-wheel drive system, so consider the rear-wheel drive GLC 200 if you can live with less power.

Anyway, where the GLC truly excels is in its role as a family car. It's very roomy in the back, and the boot is large but also well-designed, with useful touches like a compartment for the luggage cover and a fold-up plastic basket.

As for what's new, the instruments are now digital and customisable, but still clear and elegant. Also newly installed is the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) system, which comprises a 10.25-inch touchscreen and touchpad combo that takes some getting used to, especially the "Hey, Mercedes" voice command system. If you want to see your Mercedes salesman squirm, ask for an extended demo.

That said, the GLC gets the hardware side of things right, and does so with a sense of grace so typical of a proper Mercedes. Whether you like the MBUX system, there's no point resisting the new digital features and being an enemy of progress. The car itself has enough foes as it is.


Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic

Engine 1,991cc, inline 4, turbocharged Power 258hp at 5,800rpm

Torque 370Nm at 1,800-4,000rpm

Gearbox 9-speed automatic

Top speed 240km/h

0-100kmh 6.2 seconds

Fuel efficiency 8.0L/100km

Price S$242,888 with COE

Agent Cycle & Carriage

Available Now