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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - GLC

Benz GLC63 AMG coming to Australia

Launched: Mercedes has used the unveiling of its new GLC as the stage to announce both a Coupe model and high-performance AMG version.

Mercedes confirms Coupe and hot 4.0-litre AMG powerplant for all-new GLC

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Mercedes-Benz logo18 Jun 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER

MERCEDES-BENZ has confirmed that development of both a feisty AMG-powered version and sportier Coupe of its all-new GLC mid-sized SUV is already underway, with the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 variant rolling out in Australia next year.

The GLC63 AMG will borrow the same engine that powers the C-Class-based C63 AMG, but critically, the SUV will be the first model to couple the hand-built V8 with a four-wheel drive transmission.

Speaking at the world debut of the new GLC, Mercedes-Benz head of sales and product marketing Matthias Luhrs told Australian media the company would “definitely do” a 63 AMG version of the new model for our market.

“Yes, but coming only next year,” he said.

“Australia is one of the top three countries in the world for AMG. Compared to the overall Mercedes sales, the share of AMG is very high.”

Mr Luhrs explained that Australia was not just important as a consumer of AMG products, but was critical for all Mercedes sales, and is considered in all new model evaluation.

“Australia is a very important market for us, you can see that in all aspects - profitability, sales volume, market share, dealer profitability… it’s really on the map,” he said.

“In development we are listening to what Australia is asking for. You will probably not get every single engine or derivative, but I cannot think of any cars you are not getting at the moment.

Mercedes also used the global launch of the more conventionally styled SUV bodystyle model to announce the introduction of an accompanying GLC Coupe.

While Mercedes-Benz Asia-Pacific public relations and product communications manager Jerry Stamoulis said there was a “very good chance” the model would come Down Under, he could not confirm the model for Australia at this stage.

“It’s a model that we are very interested in, but once we receive more information we’ll be able to give you some specific timing and answers,” he said.

“If everything moves in the right direction, there’s a very good chance that over the next couple if years we might see it in Australia.”

With the arrival of the badly needed GLC mid-sized SUV, Mercedes is planning to continue increasing sales Down Under and Mr Luhrs said Australia’s growing population was helping the cause.

“We still think that we can grow because obviously Australia has grown as a market, it depends a little bit on what’s going to happen politically in terms of allowing more people to come to Australia, but we see it everywhere in the world,” he said. The more mature and richer the country becomes, the better for luxury brands.”

Exact power outputs for the hot GLC are yet to be confirmed but it will be treated to either the 350kW/650Nm of the ‘standard’ 63 engine, or the full-fat 375kW/700Nm that is destined for the C63 S.

Performance figures are also not yet available, but zero to 100km/h acceleration times are likely to be close to the C63 AMG sedan’s performance of 4.0 seconds.

Sitting under the flagship AMG, Mr Luhrs was also able to confirm the AMG Sport variant would also be coming to Australia, most likely powered by a V6 twin-turbo engine lifted from models such as the GLE 450 and the SL 400.

With its now superseded and left-hand-drive-only GLK, Mercedes was unable to compete in lucrative right-hand-drive mid-sized SUV markets, but the new GLC has been designed in both configurations in mind.

It allows Mercedes to finally take on key arch rivals like the BMW X3 and the Q5 from Audi in the rapidly growing segment, and could take the three-pointed star to greater heights in previously untapped markets.

Below the top two variants, Mercedes will also offer a GLC 350e plug-in hybrid that combines a 155kW petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor, providing up to 34km of emissions-free motoring when in full electric mode.

With both motors engaged, the PHEV can accelerate to 100km/h from standstill in 5.9 seconds but only emits 60g of CO2 per kilometre.

Beneath that sits a purely petrol-powered variant that uses the same engine minus the hybrid system, while two diesel engines – a 150kW/500Nm GLC 250d and a 125kW/400Nm GLC 220d – complete the line-up.

Compared with the outgoing GLK, the replacement GLC has grown in size, freeing up more interior space with more shoulder and elbow room for front-row passengers, while second-row passengers are treated to more shoulder, elbow and legroom.

Boot space has also benefitted with a 110-litre increase to 580 litres, or an increase of 50 litres to 1600 litres when the 40/20/40 split rear seats are folded flat.

The hybrid variant sacrifices 230 litres of volume with the seats in place, or 155 litres when folded to accommodate the hybrid batteries under the boot floor.

Overall length is up 120mm to 4656mm, width has been stretched 50mm to 1890mm, while height has taken a modest increase of 9mm to 1639mm.

Despite the enlarging of interior and exterior dimensions, the GLC is 80kg lighter than the GLK, which also combines with an aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.31 for fuel economy improvements.

Diesel powered GLCs use between 5.0 and 5.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, while the petrol version uses between 6.5 litres and 7.1 L/100km.

The use of sprayed-on sound deadening materials, fibreglass compartment panels, magnesium alloy cockpit cross member, optional acoustic windows and screen, three-point engine mounting and greater use of aluminium components throughout has reduced mass and eliminated cabin noise, vibration and harshness, says Mercedes.

All variants are dubbed 4Matic for their permanent four-wheel drive transmissions that receive power via a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission. The AMG version will share the seven-speed Speedshift multi-clutch automatic of the C63 AMG.

Like other Mercedes PHEV models, the GLC 350e will use the wider-ratio 7G-Tronic automatic transmission.

Mercedes has not carried anything over from the previous chassis, with the most notable change being to the front axle arrangement, which now has a four-link suspension system in place of the previous three-link version.

Agility Control is standard fare with steel springs and variable dampening, and the system can be upgraded with sportier springs for reduced body roll.

Off-road ability can also be enhanced with the optional Off-Road Engineering package, which brings a 20mm ride-height boost and additional Dynamic Select driving program options.

Air Body Control is a further suspension upgrade option, which replaces conventional springs with air-bags and adaptive dampers all round for the combination of on-road sportiness and off-road ability.

The Dynamic Select handling control system allows the driver to change the behaviour of the vehicle depending on the desired driving style and prevailing conditions. Eco allows optimum fuel efficiency with a coasting function that disengages the transmission on overrun, while Comfort is a balance of efficiency and comfort.

Sport and Sport+ modes offer two settings with sharper throttle response and transmission settings combined with the stiffest chassis characteristics, while the Individual mode allows the driver to set their own customised parameters.

As has become synonymous with many Mercedes vehicles, safety features highly in the new GLC with an extensive range of passive and active technologies fitted across the range.

Distronic Plus encompasses active cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, active city braking and stop-start traffic assistant as well as lane-keep with steering assistance.

Pre Safe Plus clamps on the brakes if an imminent rear collision is detected, minimising secondary collisions and occupant injuries.

Adaptive high-beam head lights focus illumination in the critical areas and can steer dazzling lights away from oncoming vehicle occupants at night, while an off-road setting creates a wider pool of light for all-terrain driving.

Attention Assist monitors the driver’s behaviour and issues an alert if steering inputs and delayed responses suggests the driver is becoming drowsy.

Reverse camera is supplemented buy Mercedes’ 360 degree view which creates a birds-eye view of the vehicle and highlights objects within 2.5 meters of the vehicle when maneuvering.

If the various active systems cannot prevent a collision, the GLC’s use of high-strength steel, cast aluminium reinforced body shell and extended deformation zones maximise occupant safety.

The GLC is also equipped with combined thorax/pelvis airbags for front passengers, driver knee-bag, two-stage front airbags and full-length curtain airbags.

Base versions of the GLC are available in 12 paint colour options, but optional styling and equipment packages boost customisation options for customers.

The Exclusive pack brings 18 inch wheels and chrome body highlights with standard bumpers, while the AMG Line adds aluminium trims, 19 inch wheels and AMG bumpers for a sportier look.

A Night package adds tinted window glass, swaps metal-finish trims for gloss black and ups the wheel size to 20 inches, while the Off-Road Line keeps the18 inch wheels but incorporates special bumpers for increase approach and departure angles for improved ground clearance.

The options list also includes a panoramic sunroof, LED lighting, aluminium running boards and a hands-free push-button-free automatic opening tailgate.

Interiors are offered in a range of synthetic or real leather in different colours, complemented by wood, metal, carbon-fibre or gloss cabin trims depending on the variant and customer budget.

Internet access, Bluetooth, navigation, smartphone and application functions are accessed via a 7.0 inch media display, unless upgraded to the Command Online 8.4 inch screen, which brings a Burmester sound system, voice control, TV and larger hard-drive.

At launch, a special Edition 1 variant will be offered in limited numbers to celebrate the arrival of the new model.

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