The GLC’s car-like ambience is replicated in its straight-line performance. Although not a match for the sonorous six-cylinder diesels favoured by Audi and BMW, the more powerful variant of Mercedes’ omnipresent 2.1-litre four-cylinder oil-burner feels suitably urgent once you’ve pushed past half an inch of accelerator pedal shrug.

Objectively, the engine is neither particularly spirited nor tonally pleasing, but the result of its toil is unmistakable, the GLC on test recording a lively 7.8sec for its sprint to 60mph, despite being half-filled with road testers.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
Our GLC AMG Line was fitted with 20in alloys and sport suspension, which adds a hard edge and little return in terms of sportiness

As a point of comparison, the Land Rover Discovery Sport we tested last year – admittedly fitted with the outgoing 188bhp 2.2-litre unit – took 8.9sec. The GLC measured more than a second quicker from 30-70mph, too.

Much of the credit goes to the engine’s exemplary delivery of its 369lb ft, although the acclaim must be shared with the automatic gearbox, as it is only by virtue of the transmission’s nine ratios that the motor manages to remain so close to its most productive phase.

In other guises, particularly the C-Class, working the engine beyond the functionality of its low to mid-range performance means enduring an oddly pitched thrash in the cabin.

The racket remains, of course, but in the GLC your distance from it appears dramatically extended due to the extra attention that Mercedes’ engineers have paid to better sealing the model’s doors, windows and bodyshell.

Decently muffled, reasonably swift and economical with it (by the middling standards of the class), the GLC 250 d’s general performance well satisfies the contemporary SUV/crossover brief.

That Mercedes’ four-cylinder workhorse still suffers from a personality bypass hardly separates it from the majority of comparable engines. The option of a six-cylinder unit may have spiced up the GLC, but only a minority will consider the absence terminal.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Crossover hatchbacks

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Kia Stinger GT S long-term review
    First Drive
    24 May 2018
    This is a 365bhp, rear-drive sports saloon with something to prove. Let’s see if it can
  • Land Rover Discovery
    First Drive
    23 May 2018
    Does the Land Rover Discovery – a vehicle designed to put in the hard yards – cut it as an executive company car? We ran it for seven months to find out
  • Aston Martin Vantage 2018 review hero front
    Car review
    23 May 2018
    Aston Martin’s cheapest model takes a big step up into the 21st century
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    22 May 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • DS 7 Crossback PureTech 225 2018 review hero front
    First Drive
    22 May 2018
    New petrol engine and top-end Ultra Prestige spec help broaden the Crossback's appeal, but do little to help it stand out in a crowded market