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

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Mercedes-Benz range

Driven this week

  • Vauxhall Viva Rocks
    The Vauxhall Viva Rocks will sit at the top of the city car range
    First Drive
    15 December 2017
    Vauxhall's city car gets an urban SUV makeover in a bid to court younger buyers. Is that enough to turn it into a Suzuki Ignis beater?
  • Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TSI
    First Drive
    15 December 2017
    Do 187bhp and 4Motion all-wheel drive make the current top-spec T-Roc exciting to drive?
  • Nissan Micra 1.0
    First Drive
    15 December 2017
    Nissan plugs the gap in its Micra range with a naturally aspirated 1.0-litre petrol engine, but is it good enough to unseat the Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo equivalents?
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
    First Drive
    15 December 2017
    The super-saloon version of Alfa’s long-awaited M3 rival has already wowed our road testers, but what’s it like to live with?
  • Lexus LS 500h
    First Drive
    14 December 2017
    New flagship saloon from Lexus provides a luxury interior to rival the best but comes up short due to its hybrid powertrain