First Drive: Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d


The Mercedes GLC is a car designed by the German carmaker to target the ever-flourishing crossover market. Offering four-wheel-drive alongside impressive economy, it'll enter the minds of people looking for more space and a commanding driving position. Does it do enough to fend off rivals? AOL Cars finds out.

What is it?

The GLC is a creatively styled compact crossover which offers a more premium edge over some rivals. With a range of trims levels to pick, there's plenty of interior equipment and technology to choose from. That said, the all-important Mercedes badge does, of course, have a big impact on the price.

What's under the bonnet?

Our test car was powered by a four-cylinder, 2.1-litre diesel engine producing 201bhp and 500Nm torque. Driven through a nine-speed automatic gearbox, it's a very refined engine and does well to disguise its small capacity. With a combined economy of 56.5mpg, there's very little filling up to be done – something that will be a hit for business users. It also emits 143g/km CO2, which is impressive given the size of the GLC.

Acceleration is on-par with rivals at 7.6 seconds to 62mph, topping out at 138mph. Thankfully, the GLC never feels out of breath or lacking in power on the motorway, meaning that driving at higher speeds isn't as lethargic as you'd think with a smaller engine.

What's the spec like?

In AMG Line specification, like our test car was, there's very little left out in the way of technology or equipment.

As standard, the exterior of the car features a full AMG bodykit, which includes redesigned sides skirts and front and rear bumpers. There's also LED high-performance headlights with integrated daytime running lights. On top of that you get an electrically-operated bootlid, automatic headlamps and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.

Inside, the GLC is a comfortable and spacious place to be. Our car came with a 7.0-inch display which housed all of the car's multimedia, such as navigation and smartphone controls. It's a system which may need updating soon, but it still works well and is easy to use. One of the best options on the car is the 360-degree camera, which gives drivers an overhead view of the vehicle when reversing. It's available on most Mercedes, and it's the first option we'd tick given the choice as it makes manoeuvring the car incredibly easy.

The interior of the GLC also featured Mercedes' artificial leather, a heads-up display and ambient lighting. There's even a built-in air freshener, to boot. Tipping the scales at the best part of £50,000, this specification GLC is not one for those looking for budget motoring. That said, it does contain nearly every piece of equipment you could possibly want or need.

Any rivals?

In this market, there's plenty. You've got the recently-released Jaguar F-Pace, which is attracting buyers in their droves thanks to good styling and impressive driving dynamics. Next to that there's the Porsche Macan, bringing with it that all-important premium image as well as exceptional levels of quality. If Mercedes thought it'd be an easy battle here, it was quite wrong.

What's it like to drive?

Of course, no amount of interior quality in the world can disguise a car that doesn't drive well. Thankfully, this is not the case with the GLC. Air suspension allows drivers to choose between different modes and ride heights, though comfort is just fine for the road. The car's nine-speed gearbox is smooth, and does well to settle the car down when on faster stretches of road.

If there's corners on the horizon, the GLC doesn't disappoint either. Thanks to that previously mentioned suspension, it does well to contain much of its body roll without being too hard or jarring – even when riding on 20-inch alloy wheels. There's not very much steering feel – we've come to expect that – but that doesn't mean the car is difficult to place.

First Drive: Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d

First Drive: Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d

One of the most notable points about the GLC is its size. Smaller than the GLE, it feels a good size on the road, and doesn't feel cumbersome or difficult to thread through small gaps. As well as this, it still retains the commanding driving position that attracts buyers to this market and gives a good view of the road ahead. The car's Distronic cruise control system is very good too, and reacts well to cars entering or exiting lanes. As soon as you've used it once, you'll know how to use it straight away again.

AOL Cars Verdict

The GLC really is a complete package. It's economical, has excellent interior quality and isn't too bad to drive, either. As well as that, relatively low running costs mean that despite its size, the GLC isn't as thirsty as you'd think.

We'd been worried with Mercedes' build quality of late, but it seems that the German car maker is addressing the issue, as everything feels well screwed on and solid in the GLC. Of course, there is the subject of cost to consider – this definitely isn't a cheap car. That said, given the amount of equipment that comes as standard it represents a reasonably fair deal. Rivals may offer better on-road driving dynamics, but the GLC is still enjoyable enough on the road and gives owners a fair trade-off between comfortable and sporting driving tendencies.

The Knowledge

Model: Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d 4MATIC AMG Line
Price (As tested): £49,485
Engine: 2.1-litre turbocharged diesel
Power: 201bhp
Torque: 500Nm
0-62mph: 7.6 seconds
Top Speed: 138mph
Economy: 56.5mpg (combined)