Plug-in hybrid and performance variants also planned
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC goes on sale in mid-November.
Future Product Pipeline
STUTTGART — Mercedes-Benz will offer a coupe version of its up-sized second-generation compact crossover, with plug-in hybrid and performance variants coming, as well.
The 2016 GLC unveiled here last week goes on sale in mid-November. It replaces the GLK.
Mercedes executives confirmed that a coupe version of the GLC — similar in styling to the new larger GLE Coupe — will go on sale next year.
Zetsche: Touts GLC’s plug-in hybrid variant
Dieter Zetsche, CEO of parent Daimler, announced the GLC will be offered as a plug-in hybrid, “for the first time in this segment.” The hybrid will be called the GLC 350e.
Mercedes also will offer the GLC 450 AMG — a sportier model tuned by AMG but not a full-blown high-performance version. There is no GLK AMG variant.
To emphasize the GLC’s sleeker styling, Mercedes launched the second generation at the headquarters of German design house Hugo Boss.
Thomas Weber, Mercedes board member for r&d, said the GLC will be the first crossover in its segment to be available with semiautonomous driving features — which should give the vehicle an edge against the competition. The GLC has increased active- and passive-safety features trickled down from the sedans, an air suspension and driver-selected settings for performance and handling.
U.S. timing for the plug-in hybrid was not given. The electric and gasoline powertrain on the hybrid will have a combined 320 hp and an electric-only range of about 21 miles.
Kaellenius: U.S., China will be main markets.
Zetsche did not give specific sales forecasts for the GLC but said Mercedes has sold 650,000 GLKs worldwide since its launch in 2008. It will also be offered for the first time in right-hand drive, which should increase GLC sales in “the double-digits,” compared with its predecessor, said Ola Kaellenius, Mercedes board member for sales and marketing.
The U.S. and China will be the biggest markets for the GLC. Which market will be No. 1 “is a toss-up,” Kaellenius said.
Like its sister C-class sedan, the five-seat GLC moves up in size and features.
It is no longer Mercedes’ entry crossover because of the addition of the GLA compact crossover last fall. There is more interior space, especially in the rear.
The GLK has a boxy shape, making it a smaller version of the G-class SUV. The GLC is sleeker and more modern looking with flowing lines.
The GLC is expected to start at under $ 40,000, including shipping, according to sources. The GLK starts at $ 38,825, including shipping.
Launching this fall
The U.S. gets the rear-wheel-drive GLC 300 and all-wheel-drive GLC 300 4MATIC at launch this fall. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 241 hp and 273 pounds-feet of torque combined with the nine-speed G-tronic automatic transmission, according to Mercedes. Additional powertrains will debut in 2016 and 2017.
The GLC is 183 inches long, up from the GLK’s 178.3 inches. Height is nearly the same, at 67 inches. Width increases by nearly 2 inches to 76.2 inches. The GLC is longer than the Audi Q5 at 182.6 inches but shorter than the 190.3-inch Cadillac SRX.
Despite the larger dimensions, the GLC weighs 176 pounds less than the GLK because of extensive use of aluminum and high- to ultrahigh-strength steels.
Almost all of the driver-assistance systems have come from the C-, E- and S-class cars as standard or optional. This includes the Intelligent Drive system with collision prevention and crosswind stabilization as standard.
The GLC also gets a keyless start system, touchpad control for climate and entertainment, a rearview camera, power tailgate and power driver seats.
Inside, a 7-inch color screen and media interface for phones and iPods is standard.
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