By Breda Corrigan
Since Mercedes-Benz launched its GLC on the Irish and European market in 2015, it has been a popular addition to its range of mid and large sized SUVs. Updates to the GLC in for the 2020 model year added new equipment and technology to the mix. During 2021 Mercedes-Benz introduced its plug-in hybrid petrol engine (badged 300e), but with the introduction of the GLC 300de model, Mercedes-Benz has taken a fundamentally different route to providing power through a diesel-powered plug-in hybrid unit. This 2.0-litre hybrid powerplant is borrowed, as is much else of the GLC’s engineering, from the highly-respected C-Class range.
The GLC 300de mates a four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel engine with a 13.5kWh battery pack that, when fully charged, is able to achieve up to 50kms of WLTP-rated all-electric driving, while a top speed of 230 km/h is achievable (where permitted). Combining turbo-diesel and electric power provides the GLC 300de with 306bhp and 700Nm of torque, while effortless acceleration leads to a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 6.2-seconds. Once the battery has dispensed its charge, the GLC’s diesel engine comes to life with little fuss, and will continue to run until the battery regains some charge through energy recuperation when slowing down and braking. Once this happens, the GLC acts like a hybrid, while sharing the driving load between the two motors as appropriate. Being diesel-powered does make the GLC a bit more efficient over long distances, as it has more torque to carry the additional weight of the PHEV system when not in use. This can add up to 50kms of combined range over the petrol-engine plug-in version.
Sporty AMG Line Trim.
The GLC is available in both 300e (petrol) and 300de (diesel) plug-in hybrid guises, and is exclusively available in sporty AMG Line trim. Key standard equipment includes AMG body styling, 18” AMG alloy wheels, DYNAMIC SELECT, powered tailgate, electrically-folding door mirrors, EXCLUSIVE interior, extended MBUX functions, hard-disc navigation, heated front seats, KEYLESS GO starting function, LED high performance headlights, MBUX multi-media system, Mirror package, PARKTRONIC Parking Assist, reversing camera, Mercedes- Benz emergency call system, roof liner in crystal grey fabric, seat comfort package, Smartphone integration (Android Auto & Apple CarPlay) steering wheel shift paddles, THERMATIC automatic climate control, touchpad, windscreen wipers with rain senor, velour floor mats, charging cable for domestic socket, charging cable for wall box and public charging stations, heat-insulating dark-tinted glass, and a host of driving assistance systems which will – depending on the situation – adjust your speed and steering input if a collision appears imminent. The GLC hybrid also comes with 4MATIC all-wheel drive as standard. This improved permanent all-wheel drive system ensures superb off-road performance and optimum traction, and is constantly active so that it does not require any time to react and intervene.
My test car was a Mercedes-Benz GLC 300de 4MATIC which was finished in High-Tech Silver Metallic paintwork with optional 19” AMG alloy wheels (as part of an optional Night Package which includes many other features at a cost of just €220). This diesel plug-in hybrid is capable of returning fuel consumption as low as 1.8l/100km – assuming every journey is started with a full battery – with annual road tax costing just €140. The luxurious cabin of the GLC is complimented by standard ARTICO Leather in Black/Anthracite, and offers ample space for up to five occupants to travel in comfort, with an elegantly-upholstered instrument panel providing terrific visual presence. Due to the placement of the hybrid battery pack under the boot floor, the remaining boot space is not as generous as that found in the petrol or diesel-powered models. However, with 395-litres available with the rear seat backs in place, there is ample storage space for the needs of most families, but cargo capacity can be increased to 1,445-litres when the rear seat backs are folded flat. This can be done remotely from the boot for added practicality.
A clever adaptive regenerative-braking set-up allows drivers to make the most of the GLC’s range. The severity can be controlled via paddles on the steering wheel, or the system can work independently by using the cars on-board computer to slow the car according to road and traffic conditions. The standard 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission allows drivers to make the most of the GLC’s relaxed driving characteristics. Driving the GLC around town is a serene experience when running on battery power, and even at motorway speeds the cabin remain near-silent, with only a little wind-noise around the A-pillars noticeable. When compared to a fully electric or petrol-hybrid SUV, the initial take off is not as instantaneous, but it is very sprightly in all other situations. Supple suspension provides great support when driving on rough road surfaces and enhances the overall driving experience of the GLC.
Verdict & Pricing.
Due to the number of new Mercedes-Benz Hybrid models now on offer they have created a dedicated ‘EQ Power’ sub-brand, of which the GLC Hybrid is now a proud member. The GLC Hybrid is a practical, spacious and luxurious family SUV which comes with the reassurance of low running costs and Mercedes-Benz reliability. The GLC 300de Hybrid is currently priced from €62,300 (ex-works), with numerous optional packs available for ultimate personalisation.