Outside, the blocky look of the outgoing model has been completely eradicated in the redesign. While the GLK's design was squared-off and truck-like, the GLC looks more like a tall wagon, which is essentially what it is.
The GLC's elegant cabin is replete with leather and wood options in varying colors and finishes topping off a tech-laden and elegantly laid-out interior space. Clever packaging allows for lots of storage, especially in the front, where the woofers have been moved out of the doors and into the front frame rails, adding more bump to the audio system's bass line and making space in the doors for additional (and larger) cubbies.
In the rear, the swept roof line does not infringe substantially on headroom. Passengers up to 6' can sit in the back seat, even in models equipped with the panoramic sunroof. Total interior volume is up quite a bit over the old model too, thanks to a nearly five-inch increase in wheelbase.
An available mbrace system adds a host of cloud-based goodies, including a concierge service, location-based traffic and weather updates, stolen vehicle location assistance, automatic collision notification and more. Available apps add internet browsing, Google local search with street view, Yelp reviews, Facebook access and news reports. Owners can even use an mbrace smartphone app to remotely lock, unlock or locate their vehicles.
The only GLC-Class model available at launch is the GLC300. As with many modern German cars, the "300" no longer denotes an engine displacement. The standard (and currently only) engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder producing 241 horsepower and 273lb-ft of torque. It's mated exclusively to a nine-speed automatic transmission, and power can go to the ground via the rear wheels or a 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
Hybrid, diesel and AMG models may expand the range in coming model years.
EPA testing has not yet been certified, but Mercedes-Benz was aiming for a 20% improvement in fuel economy over the V6 in the old GLK, and between downsizing the engine and cutting nearly 176lbs from the car, the company's engineers are confident those numbers will be confirmed.
Standard and Optional Features
The GLC comes standard with a selection of standard features befitting a luxury model, including keyless start, a touchpad interface, power driver's seat with memory, rearview camera, a 7" color multimedia display with a full media interface, dynamic select (engine and transmission), power folding mirrors and a powered liftgate.
Since the GLC300 is the sole model in the GLC-Class lineup at launch, additional features come in the form of packages and stand-alone options, rather than being dependent on trim level.
The Sport package adds AMG interior and exterior styling elements, including 19" twin 5-spoke grey wheels, an upper dash trimmed in MB-Tex leatherette and upgraded brakes.
The Night package replaces the Sport package's grey wheels with the same design in black. Exterior trim is re-done in gloss black, and the MB-Tex leatherette dash topper carries over. It also includes the other upgrades found in the Sport package where they do not overlap.
The Lighting package adds active full-LED headlamps, LED tail lamps, adaptive high-beam assist and active curve illumination.
The Interior package adds illuminated front door sills, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery and multicolor LED ambient lighting. Selection of this package also requires the Premium package.
The Premium package adds blind spot assist, Keyless access and start, heated front seats, an AC power outlet and SiriusXM radio.
The Multimedia package adds COMAND hard-drive navigation and upgrades the infotainment screen to an 8.4-inch unit. It also adds an SD card reader, voice control, SiriusXM traffic and weather and no-charge navigation map updates for three years.
Stand-alone options include the panorama roof, brushed aluminum running boards, the Air Balance cabin air fragrance and purification system, a head-up display, Burmester sound, SiriusXM radio, a heated steering wheel, a 14-way power front passenger seat with memory, heated front and/or rear seats, rear-side window sunshades and chrome door handle inserts.
The GLC comes standard with dual front, front pelvic, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to a driver's knee airbag, active front head restraints and traction and stability control systems.
Also standard is an ATTENTION ASSIST system that can alert the driver to the first signs of drowsiness, a factor that causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S.A steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving. Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning and a "Time for a Rest?" message with a coffee cup icon in the instrument cluster.
Optional safety equipment includes the Lane Keeping Assist system, which alerts the driver by simulating a rumble strip vibration in the steering wheel if the car drifts from its lane without the turn signals on. Part of the Lane Tracking Package, it operates at speeds above 37 mph via a system that recognizes lane markings, thanks to a small camera in the windshield and a computer that analyzes the video images.
The Lane Tracking Package also includes Blind Spot Assist, which monitors both blind spots behind and to the side of the vehicle. Whenever a turn signal is activated with a vehicle in the blind spot, the driver gets visual and audible warnings.
Those looking for even more safety kit can spring for the Driver Assistance package, which adds brake assist plus, active blind spot assist and active lane keeping assist in addition to a radar-based cruise control system.