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Mercedes-Benz premieres 2nd generation GLC and plug-in hybrid GLC 350 e 4MATIC

Mercedes-Benz unveiled the second generation of its mid-range GLC SUV (the SUV in the C-Class segment, formerly the GLK). In addition to cutting fuel consumption by up to 19% in comparison to the previous model on the conventional engined models, Mercedes also introduced another plug-in hybrid SUV model: the GLC 350 e 4MATIC.

In March, Mercedes-Benz said it would 10 new plug-in hybrid models by 2017. (Earlier post.) The company introduced its first SUV PHEV in the form of the GLE 550 e earlier this year. (Earlier post.) The GLE 550 e is Mercedes-Benz’ first plug-in hybrid SUV, the GLC 350 e its second.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350 e 4MATIC plug-in hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Mercedes-Benz applied an extensive package of measures to enhance the GLC’s energy efficiency and performance substantially. Modified or new drive systems, enhanced aerodynamics and intelligent lightweight design are the primary factors behind the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. The diesel and gasoline models boast significant reductions of up to 19% in both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in comparison to the previous generation, while at the same time improving performance with the same power output.

  GLC 220 d 4MATIC GLC 250 d 4MATIC GLC 250 4MATIC
Output, kW/hp 125/170 150/204 155/211
Torque, N·m 400 500 350
Fuel consumption (l/100 km) 5.0 - 5.5
(6.1 - 6.5)
5.0 - 5.5
(6.1 - 6.6)
6.5 - 7.1
(7.5 - 7.9)
∆ Consumption % -19 -19 -12
CO2 g/km 129 - 143
(159 - 169)
129 - 143
(159 - 169)
152 - 166
(173 - 180)
∆ CO2 g/km % -19 -19 -12
0-100 km/h 8.3
Vmax km/h 210
() Figures for the previous model

All models comply with the EU6 emissions standard and offer a start/stop function.

GLC 350 e 4MATIC PHEV. For the first time in this segment, with the GLC 350 e 4MATIC Mercedes-Benz is additionally offering a plug-in hybrid which combines the merits of agile all-wheel drive with the lowest fuel consumption and emissions: the mid-size SUV emits only 60 g of CO2 per km (provisional) and attains a top speed of 235 km/h (146 mph).

The semi-electric vehicle can cover up to 34 km (21 miles) in zero-emission all-electric mode, accelerating to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds if necessary, courtesy of the boost function.

The hybrid system features an 8.7 kWh Li-ion battery pack; an 85 kW electric motor that delivers 340 N· of torque; and the 2.0-liter (1991 cc) turbocharged, direct injection gasoline engine with rated maximum power of 155 kW (211 hp) @ 5500 rpm, and 350 N·m of torque at 1200-4000 rpm.

Like its plug-in big brother of the S-Class, the GLC 350 e 4MATIC offers the characteristic comfort and efficiency systems—from the flexible, intelligent operating strategy through the specific hybrid driving programs and the haptic accelerator pedal to pre-entry climate control.

The GLC 350 e 4MATIC supersedes the previous GLK 350 4MATIC model with a conventional gasoline engine and similar performance data.

  GLK 350 4MATIC GLC 350 e 4MATIC ∆ %
Output, kW/hp 225/
+ 4.6
Torque, N·m 370 560* + 51.4
Fuel consumption (l/100 km) 8.1 - 8.6 2.6 - 70
CO2 g/km 189 - 199 60 - 70
0-100 km/h 6.5 5.9 - 9.2
* System output

Features of the GLC PHEV include:

  • Silent start: the vehicle starts virtually silently and runs in electric mode. At this point the combustion engine is generally kept switched off.

  • Boosting: The electric motor kicks in to boost the output of the combustion engine by up to 85 kW, turning the GLC 350 e 4MATIC into a sports car. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes only 5.9 seconds.

  • Energy recuperation: during braking and coasting, energy is recovered and stored in the battery. This energy can then be used at a later stage for electric driving or the boost function.

  • Haptic accelerator pedal: Supports fuel-efficient driving. A resistance point indicates the maximum available electric output. A double impulse signals that the driver should remove their foot from the accelerator pedal in order to switch off the combustion engine and decouple it from the drive train.

  • Intelligent HYBRID: Intelligent operating strategy for hybrid vehicles, anticipates the course of the road and the traffic situation for maximum efficiency. This includes radar-based recuperation, an anticipatory shifting and operating strategy, a route-based operating strategy and the ECO Assist.

  • Pre-entry climate control: The desired interior climate can be set before starting your journey – cooling in the summer, heating in the winter. This function can be activated via a pre-set departure time or via smartphone using the Mercedes-Benz connect me app.

  • Retrieval of vehicle status: It is additionally possible to control the charging process or to check the charge status and the current electric range via the Mercedes-Benz connect me app.

The GLC 350 e 4MATIC offers four basic operating modes which are available in the DYNAMIC SELECT driving programs ECO and COMFORT:

  • Hybrid: All hybrid functions, such as electric mode, boost and recuperation are available and are deployed for optimum fuel efficiency.

  • E-mode: used for all-electric driving – for example in inner-city areas or because the battery holds sufficient charge for the remainder of the journey.

  • E-Save: the charge status of the battery is maintained – for example to allow all-electric driving in an environmental zone at a later stage in the journey.

  • Charge: Serves to charge the battery via the combustion engine while on the move, to enable all-electric driving in an environmental zone at a later stage in the journey, for example.

Aerodynamics. The new GLC design offers improved aerodynamics. With a Cd value of 0.31 (GLK 0.34) and total aerodynamic drag of 0.794 (GLK 0.87), the GLC sets a clear benchmark in this segment. Apart from the vehicle’s substantially more aerodynamically efficient basic shape, this exceptional aerodynamic performance also results from a host of solutions relating to points of detail including:

  • Cooling air controlled according to installed engine variant, with ring-type shutter Improved sealing of the radiator section and flow properties to make efficient use of the available cooling air.

  • Streamlined design of the front and rear aprons.

  • Sealed headlamp surrounds.

  • Three-dimensional front wheel spoilers with patented slotted wheel arch linings for optimized air flow around the wheels.

  • Aeroacoustic and aerodynamic design of the A-pillar.

  • Extended roof spoiler with optimized flow properties and joint seals.

  • Aerodynamically optimized underbody with extensive engine compartment and underbody panelling.

  • Aerodynamically optimized wheels and tires.

Weight. Despite markedly larger outer dimensions, a longer wheelbase and a more extensive scope of equipment, the vehicle’s weight has been cut by 80 kilograms (176 lbs). The main contributory factor to this reduction is the new body, which is 50 kilograms (110 lbs) lighter than the smaller GLK counterpart, thanks to an intelligent mix of materials comprising aluminium and high- to ultra-high-strength steels.

Mercedes-Benz GLC bodyshell. An intelligent material mix ensures a rigid body structure and crash performance. Click to enlarge.

Aluminium components additionally reduce the weight of the chassis, which also benefits ride comfort due to the attendant reduction in unsprung masses. The optional AIR BODY CONTROL full-support multi-chamber air suspension features spring elements in lightweight yet robust glass-fibre-reinforced plastic, which reduce the system weight in comparison to conventional air suspensions. The use of the new compact transfer case as an add-on module and the 9G-TRONIC with its magnesium transmission housing results in a reduction in weight of 12 kg (26 lbs) in comparison to the previous model.

Chassis. The new GLC features the AGILITY CONTROL suspension with steel springs and a variable damping system as standard. The GLC is the sole model in this market segment to offer the option of fitting the chassis with a full-support multi-chamber air suspension system and electronically controlled, continuously adjustable damping.

The AIR BODY CONTROL suspension combines driving stability and sporty agility with optimum comfort and outstanding off-road capabilities. Specific characteristics are pre-selected according to the settings of the DYNAMIC SELECT driving dynamics program.

The new GLC offers the DYNAMIC SELECT handling control system with five driving programs as standard. In addition to the ECO, COMFORT, SPORT, SPORT+ and INDIVIDUAL settings which are familiar from other models, the new all-rounder can also be equipped with the Off-Road Engineering package.

This comprises up to five programs. “Slippery” and four off-road driving programs are totally new here. “Off-road” is predestined for easy off-road terrain such as gravel or sand tracks. “Incline” boosts climbing capabilities on steep ramps or long, slow uphill stretches. In conjunction with AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension, the additional “Rocking Assist” program offers the last resort, should the vehicle get stuck. Here the driving level is raised by 50 millimetres and the wheel-slip control thresholds are increased so as to enable the GLC to work its way free. The fourth off-road program, “Trailer”, is designed for optimum trailer towing off-road and facilitates moving off on wet grassland, for example. The Off-Road Engineering package further includes a robust Gemtex underride guard, which takes the stress out of heavy ground contact as on the previous model, and Downhill Speed Regulation. The system, which goes by the abbreviated name of DSR, automatically maintains the speed which has been pre-set on the cruise control on steep downhill stretches.

All DYNAMIC SELECT programs are visualized on the central media display. Especially impressive are the off-road animations: various parameters, such as incline, steering angle or heading are presented in dynamic mode in real time on the central media display.

All models feature 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive with a basic drive torque split of 45 to 55 percent between front and rear axle. In cooperation with the ESP, ASR and 4ETS dynamic handling control systems, this provides for superior and clearly predictable handling. The multiple-disc clutch in the center differential assists the system in the event of really low friction coefficients between tire and road, for example on snow or ice. A basic locking force of 50 N·m between the front and rear axles brings about a significant increase in traction with the same high level of driving stability.

Transmission. The nine-stage 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission also comes as standard on the GLC 220 d 4MATIC, GLC 250 d 4MATIC and GLC 250 4MATIC. Depending on the mode selected for the DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control, the automatic transmission with a torque converter boasts great agility and responsiveness or poised composure.

As with all hybrid models from Mercedes-Benz, the GLC 350 e 4MATIC is equipped with the latest version of 7G-TRONIC PLUS, which has been specifically optimized in line with the needs of hybrid applications and also combines high driving dynamics with drive comfort and efficiency.

Intelligent Drive. Almost all of the driver assistance systems which are familiar from the C-, E- and S‑Class are available for the new GLC. As part of the Intelligent Drive concept, these systems combine data from various sensor technologies to enhance comfort and safety substantially. COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, Crosswind Assist, Headlamp Assist and ATTENTION ASSIST are on board as standard.

The Driving Assistance package Plus provides a more comprehensive scope of active safety features, comprising DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot, PRE-SAFE Brake with pedestrian detection, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and PRE-SAFE PLUS. The latter feature also offers added protection in the event of a rear-end collision.

By means of a radar sensor in the rear bumper PRE-SAFE PLUS identifies impending rear-end collisions, alerts the traffic behind by operating the hazard warning lights at a particularly eye-catching flashing frequency, activates preventive occupant protection measures and brakes the vehicle to a standstill after a rear-end collision to reduce the levels of stress acting on the occupants.

Greater safety for all road users is provided by Traffic Sign Assist with its wrong-way warning function, which in addition to speed limits can also alert the driver to no-overtaking and no-entry signs. On vehicles equipped with the LED Intelligent Light System, Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus allows main beam to be left on permanently by masking out the area of the main-beam light cone which is occupied by other vehicles.

Simpler handling and a clearer view when maneuvering in tight spaces or driving in dense urban traffic are ensured by the 360° camera, which is able to show the vehicle and its surroundings from different perspectives, and by Active Parking Assist, which manoeuvres the vehicle fully automatically into detected parallel and end-on parking spaces.

The improved ergonomics and simpler controls in the GLC also help to enhance safety. All important vehicle functions and settings can be carried out intuitively using the central rotary pushbutton or the touchpad. The desired settings or information are visualized by the large, partially integrated color media display in the middle of the dashboard. Direct selection buttons next to the light switch module to the left of the steering wheel additionally enable direct activation of the most important assistance systems.

Also new is the Head-up Display, (HUD). The HUD displays important information directly in the driver's field of vision on the front windscreen, thus providing for clear legibility and less distraction from the road ahead. The system provides information on speed, posted speed limits, navigation instructions and messages from the DISTRONIC system.

In keeping with the Mercedes-Benz tradition, the body forms the foundation for crash safety. A high-strength safety passenger compartment forms the core of this concept. It is surrounded by specifically designed and field-tested deformation zones, which ensure maximum safety for the occupants by virtue of optimized force paths and a combination of die-cast aluminium components and ultra-high-strength materials.


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