It is now more than seven years since the first generation Mercedes GLC SUV began rolling into showrooms as a replacement for the GLK. In that time, the high riding Audi Q5 and BMW X3 rival has established itself as the single best-selling Mercedes model worldwide in the past 12 months, beating out the long time holder of the title, the C-class saloon, with over 270,000 sales in 2021 alone.
Given its popularity, it is no surprise to learn the second-generation model, driven here in prototype for the first time off the back of cold weather development testing in northern Sweden, adopts the same fundamentals as its predecessor.
As with the latest C-class, alongside which it will be produced at assembly operations in Germany, China and Finland, the new GLC continues to be based on Mercedes-Benz’s MRA platform – a predominantly steel and aluminium structure that has been further developed for improvements in overall rigidity and weight.
Given the heavy camouflage of the latest development mules, we’ll have to wait until we can make a call on the exterior styling of the new Mercedes-Benz model, which is also set to be produced in both SUV and Coupe bodystyles. However, Peter Kolb, head of overall vehicle testing for the GLC model line, tells us it is 60mm longer than its predecessor at 4718mm. The new GLC also adopts a 15mm longer wheelbase than before, giving it slightly longer overhangs front and rear.
The increased dimensions, subtle as they are, are put to good use inside. Rear seat accommodation, never one of the GLC’s strong points, has been improved with greater legroom. Boot space in conventional petrol and diesel models is also claimed to have increased by 15-litres to a class-leading 600-litres underneath the cargo blind at the rear when the adjustable rear seat is set all the way forward.
The cabin has been heavily reworked with a new higher set dashboard that aims to provide the GLC with a more SUV like feeling. It leans heavily on that of the Mercedes C-Class for overall style, albeit with its own uniquely styled ventilation units and higher qualities materials throughout.