What is it?
When the facelifted GLC arrived on the Continent earlier this year, diesel options were limited to the more potent 300d - but it’s this latest addition that's almost certain to become the darling of the range here in the UK.
With the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder OM654 engine, which can also be found powering the current A-Class and E-Class, the 220d is only slightly less potent. It has 192bhp to the 300d’s 241bhp but delivers a significant 295lb ft of twist, enough to propel the near-two-tonne SUV to 62mph in a tenth under eight seconds.
Power is sent to all four wheels through the now familiar nine-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox, with our entry-level Sport variant riding on standard coil springs and adaptive dampers.
Sport models all include Mercedes’ latest MBUX infotainment system but eschew the digital instrument cluster seen on high-end AMG Premium cars.
What's it like?
As refined a ride as we’ve come to expect from the GLC, with the four-pot diesel able to deliver confident, if moderate progress. Although this engine is not as smooth as a six-cylinder, noise is largely isolated from the cabin until you really hustle it and it manages to avoid sounding particularly strained when you do - even if it does have to work harder than the more effortless 300d.
When pushed, the nine-speed gearbox does reveal a slight hesitance to shift its cogs quickly, either in automatic mode or when you take control with the paddle shifters, but for general cruising, it’s able to get on with things smoothly.
The GLC has rarely challenged the class best for dynamic handling, hardcore AMG variants aside, and that remains true here, with exact steering and reassuring amounts of body control through corners, but there’s no greater degree of engagement to be found from approaching the limits of grip.
Far better to relax and enjoy each journey, because the GLC is more than capable of comfortable cruising on the standard suspension and 18in wheels of this Sport variant. Larger abrasions and bumps can still unsettle the ride, and it doesn't waft in quite the same way as pricier variants equipped with air suspension, but for the most part, it’s up there towards the top of the class for refinement.