When Mercedes-Benz first introduced the compact GLK crossover in 2008, it filled a gap in their lineup -- with aplomb and success, I might add. Despite offering up plenty of space in a vehicle that drove very much like a car (with AWD and a higher ride height as bonuses) and proved great on fuel (in diesel guise), the GLK-Class was definitely starting to get a bit long in the tooth.
For its second generation, the GLK went under the Daimler knife and not only got a brand new look, but a brand new name, too.
In keeping with their new naming structure that will keep SUVs with their respective car classes, the GLK will now be known as the Mercedes-Benz GLC to line itself up with the C-Class vehicles (just as the GLA runs with the CLA, the new GLE with the E-Class, and the soon-to-be launched GLS with the S-Class). It might seem confusing at first, but it really does make sense.
Fuel-efficient and capable
While I’ve not had the chance to drive the brand new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class yet, I was given impressive figures for the compact crossover. One such number is fuel efficiency, which was improved by up to 19% over the previous generation. The GLC-Class will also be slightly larger, and feature AIR BODY CONTROL multi-chamber air suspension and DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes, along with 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
While the exact models have not been confirmed for Canada yet, Europe will get a nice selection including two diesels, one gasoline, and a plug-in hybrid. Right now, the current-generation GLK is offered in diesel and gasoline (one each).
There’s a very good chance we’ll get the GLC 300 4MATIC. This one is likely to sport Mercedes’ 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder under its fancy new hood. However, we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out specifics from the German bigwigs because they're keeping mum about North American specs for now.
In terms of how it looks, the GLC-Class world premiere at the Hugo Boss headquarters just outside Stuttgart, Germany proved that Mercedes-Benz stayed true to its GLC Coupe concept car that was revealed not too long ago. While the outgoing GLK was a bit harsh and linear, the new GLC is smooth, silky and -- dare I say, it? -- sexy. That’s not a word I would have thought to use in connection with the GLK.
Some might argue that Daimler has dumbed down the look of the GLC-Class in comparison, that they’ve made it dull and uninteresting. Well, I’d wager it’s the opposite. The hood has some nice character lines, and the rear is sleek and sophisticated. This is most definitely a more elegant, well-rounded look -- something that might just set the new GLC apart in a hotly popular segment.
Step inside the GLC-Class and you’re greeted with Mercedes’ latest infotainment setup and centre stack design, which is truly stunning. Woodgrain as far as the eye can see, the layout is simplicity to the max, and I love it. Leather and colour choices abound, of course, as is the norm with Mercedes-Benz.
When to expect the GLC
The launch of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is set to happen later on this year. We’ll have the opportunity to get behind the wheel, and we’ll also have more solid numbers in terms of pricing and engine specs. Until then, you can drool over the images in our photo gallery and wait for our next update.