GLK to GLC – the change to the last letter in the name of Mercedes’ mid-sized SUV is an important one. After all, this one is coming to India…
Seven years after it was launched, the GLK, Mercedes’ compact crossover SUV is driving off into the sunset. And thanks to the revised nomenclature implemented by Mercedes, the new car will now be badged the GLC, rather than the GLK.
When it comes to style, the latest GLC is radically different from its predecessor. It’s an all-new model, with no sign of continuity between the old model (which was a 2008 design) and the new one – which goes on sale in India next year. The square-edged military vehicle-inspired lines of the GLK are now history. In their place, there’s now a much more expressive exterior design – largely inspired by the new C-Class – with far more heavily raked front and rear windscreens. The GLC is the latest standard bearer of the new stylistic credo at Stuttgart – with organic lines, solid volumes and soft shapes.
The GLC shares crucial elements of the fourth-generation C-Class – the Modular Rear Architecture (MRA) platform, drivelines and technical features. This has resulted in a longer wheelbase (same as the corresponding sedan at 2.84 metres), a wider track, and greater boot space. The improved interior space, however, doesn’t add up to the addition of a third row of seats. From what we’ve learned, the GLC will strictly remain a five-seater.
The range of engines, four and six-cylinder petrol and four-cylinder diesel, broadly follows the choice of motors available in the C-Class – with the addition, in all likelihood, of even smaller units of 1.6-litre capacity. The seven-speed automatic gearbox will be standard, and we even expect a nine-speed to make its debut.
From an aesthetic point of view, the GLC makes no bones about being purely an on-road machine, but 4Matic all-wheel drive versions will be offered as well – which will offer some level of off-road ability.
When it comes to the engines, the six-cylinder petrol continues with the ‘V’ layout and architecture. The expected return to the six-cylinder in-line layout by Mercedes has neither been confirmed nor denied by the carmaker despite persistent speculation. Internal sources, however, suggest that it’s still under evaluation and there are no plans for the moment to adopt in-line engines. The interiors, meanwhile, will also take inspiration from the C-Class – as they’re expected to be soft, enveloping and dominated by the big floating screen.
The GLC will also have a sportier version called the GLC Coupe, consistent with the new naming policy of the Mercedes brand.
For now, it’s a concept car, unveiled at the Shanghai Show – but the intentions are serious. The show car is a forerunner to the production model, which will complement the equally unprecedented GLE Coupe – so as to not leave any battleground unmarked in the war with its German rivals. BMW already has the X6 and X4 in its line up, and Audi will soon add even sleeker versions to the already sporty variants of the Q3 and Q5. The GLC Coupe, when it debuts in 2016, will adopt the most powerful engines of the C-Class range.