While it’s true to record that the GLC-Class shares a platform with the C-Class, it’s a poor description of the design and engineering effort put in by Mercedes in order to make its new SUV stand out in an increasingly crowded segment.
The car’s body-in-white is a mixture of aluminium and high-strength steel and features structural reinforcements normally seen only on cabriolets and convertibles.
Such a construction has allowed the GLC to grow by 120mm in length and 50mm in width compared with the GLK and still weigh 80kg less, model for model.
Suspension is multi-link all round, consisting of significantly wider tracks than the GLK and steel coil springs and passive variable-rate ‘selective’ dampers as standard.
Ground clearance is 181mm, and although AMG Line examples have firmer sport suspension springs fitted, they don’t affect the car’s ride height.
An off-road package delivers another 20mm of ground clearance, improved clearance angles and an underbody guard.
Mercedes also offers height-adjustable air suspension that can extend ground clearance to as much as 227mm, which trumps all of its rivals bar the only one that also offers optional air suspension: the Porsche Macan.
Under the GLC’s bonnet, British buyers are restricted to two different versions of the same four-cylinder, 2.1-litre diesel engine, with the GLC 220 d producing 168bhp and the GLC 250 d pumping out 201bhp.
The only petrol option on offer is the GLC 43 which has been tweaked by Mercedes’ loving AMG division. This twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 behemoth produces 361bhp and comes fitted with an AMG bodykit, alloys and decals inside and out.
Power is transmitted via a standard nine-speed automatic gearbox through a permanent four-wheel drive system with a 45% front to 55% rear apportioning of power.
The car’s aerodynamic efficiency is claimed to be class-leading, with particularly attentive radiator and headlight sealing and underbody panelling contributing to a drag coefficient of just 0.31. That, in turn, is alleged to contribute to particularly strong refinement, along with stiff chassis mounting points, spray-on aerosol NVH insulation and an as-standard acoustic windscreen.
On styling, the GLC is a trail-blazer for Mercedes’ all-new design idiom, which, in its own words, ‘prefers sensual purity to squarer conventional SUV forms’. The car’s visual subtlety was certainly approved of by most of our testers.