What is it?
This 220 d is currently the cheapest way into Mercedes’ fresh-faced SUV, the GLC. Under the bonnet is the same 2.1-litre in-line four diesel that’s found in the 250 d, but with its wick turned down a notch.
In this guise it offers 168bhp and 295Ib ft of torque, 33bhp and 74Ib ft down on its brawnier brother. While you might expect a lesser state of tune to reduce emissions and fuel consumption, they are in fact the same as the 250 d.
Our test car also gives us a chance to sample the GLC with Comfort passive steel suspension and smaller 18in alloy wheels in the UK for the first time; our previous test vehicle had a stiffer Sport set-up and 20in alloys.
What's it like?
As with the 250 d, the installation of Mercedes’ 2.1-litre diesel in the GLC has been a successful one. Yes, you can tell there’s an oil-burner under the bonnet when accelerating hard, but any clatter and coarseness is pretty well contained, especially at idle and cruising. That’s handy, as you will most definitely be working this engine harder than you would a 250 d.
Still, its 0-62mph time of 8.3sec is nothing to be ashamed of, although you do notice the 74Ib ft torque deficiency. In situations that would see the 250 d holding on to a gear, the 220 d has to shift down to keep up with the pace you're asking for.
At least you don't have to drop too much speed in the corners; it may be on Comfort suspension but the GLC is still feels quite firm. Roll is kept in check well and the 220 d is happy to change direction briskly without fuss.
The downside to the stiffness is a ride that transmits far more of the road surface to the cabin than you might expect. Over smooth Tarmac it’s fine, but regardless of speed, rough surfaces cause noticeable vertical movement.
Standard-fit four-wheel drive ensures there’s plenty of traction on exiting corners, but don’t expect the rear axle to edge round and help you out, it's always the front end that lets go first. Non-defeatable stability control makes sure it stays that way.