Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its new GLC SUV in Germany today, ahead of an Australian debut expected to occur later this year.
The launch of the first-ever GLC also gives Mercedes its first global midsized SUV, replacing the GLK that was only ever produced in left-hand-drive.
If Merc’s popular new C-Class is anything to go by - leading the 3 Series (1645 sales YTD) and Audi A4 (1185) with a huge 3967 sales so far in 2015 - the GLC has the potential to be a new segment leader.
The GLC won’t be alone, either. As with BMW’s X3 and X4 combo, Mercedes’ new SUV will launch with its own fastbacked friend: the GLC Coupe, already revealed as a concept earlier this year.
The GLC is noteably larger than the GLK it replaces, measuring 12cm longer, while also beating out the older Audi Q5 in most dimensional directions.
That’s most obvious in the wheelbase, where the GLC’s 2873mm footprint is 66mm longer than in the Audi.
Mercedes claims a sizeable rear storage capacity of 1600 litres with the 40:20:20 split-fold rear seats laid flat. Seats-up storage is 550 litres.
Driving the new SUV is a range of petrol and diesel engines, opening with a 125kW/400Nm 2.1 litre diesel in the GLC 220 d. The same unit offers 150kW/500Nm in the GLC 250 d.
Both versions lists fuel figures between 5.0 and 5.5 l/100km, and the pair’s 0-100km/h times are listed at 8.3 and 7.6 seconds respectively.
Petrol options at launch - in Europe, at least - will be limited to the 155kW/350Nm GLC 250 4Matic, which is driven by the same 2.0 litre turbo mill that features in all of Merc’s recent ‘250’ models.
That model lists fuel use at between 6.5 and 7.1 l/100km, with a 0-100km/h time of 7.3 seconds.
The range will be headlined by the GLC 350 e 4Matic - the ‘e’ representing the model’s status as a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid model.
In that model, Mercedes has paired the 155kW petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor.
The company promises a 0-100km/h time of 5.9 seconds, making it much more than a mere frugality-focused family rig.
Fuel figures for the 350 e are still to be revealed, but the company does promise an all-electric driving range of up to 34 kilometres.
The GLE 350 e’s greatest weakness, perhaps, is in storage: thanks to its large underfloor battery pack, rear storage drops to 350 and 1445 litres respectively.
Hero AMG-tuned options are expected to follow, although they have not yet been revealed. Expect those to include AMG Sport and full-blown AMG models.
Other tricks in the range include an optional Air Body Control air suspension system - expected to be the most popular choice - along with a standard setup built around steel springs and variable damping control.
An ‘Off-Road’ pack will also be offered in conjunction with the air suspension option, allowing for a 50mm height increase and a softer spring rate, all with a view to greater capability in some light weekend-warrior action.
Watch for local specifications for the new GLC to be detailed further as its late 2015 Australian debut nears.