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No jacked-up Mercedes C-Class in pipeline

Car-like: The GLC is proving popular since its launch last year, meaning a jacked-up version of the C-Class wagon is not needed.

Benz GLC has enough dynamic appeal to make A4 Allroad-style C-Class wagon redundant

Mercedes-Benz logo4 Apr 2016

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in NEW YORK

MERCEDES-BENZ says it will not launch a rival to the successful Audi A4 Allroad with the current-generation C-Class wagon, given the car-like performance of its recently launched GLC SUV.

Speaking to GoAuto at the New York motor show last month, Mercedes-Benz GLC chief engineer Michael Kelz said he believes that both the GLC Wagon and new GLC Coupe have evolved the SUV enough to make a raised wagon concept redundant.

“Such a vehicle is not planned,” he said. “This is because the GLC way is really the clear way, and the compromises are really very small. So as you see with the GLC, it does not drive like the old SUVs.”

Mr Kelz said that despite the GLC offering the higher ride height of a traditional SUV, it drives more like a passenger car, making a jacked-up C-Class pointless.

“Even with its off-road capabilities, it (GLC) feels more or less a regular car. So that is the reason why more and more people are going into this segment, because you don’t have the situation you had before, that if you bought an off-road vehicle, you do not have the confident drive and sportiness and the steering and so on like you do in a regular sedan.

“So in the end, there is no need for a car like the Allroad.” Mercedes-Benz GLC product manager Axel Benseler added that the German premium car-maker has placed itself in the consumer sweet spot with its two-pronged mid-size SUV assault.

“We think, with (our new SUV) architecture, we are sitting in a very good position for what is asked for the market,” he said. “I think with other SUVs like the next GLE (large) and GLS (seven-seater) you will also see more of a tendency towards a sporty shift.”

Audi is preparing a two-pronged next-generation A4 wagon attack with the Avant due later this month, followed by its Allroad offshoot expected by the end of the year.

Volvo has also recently expanded its jack-up wagon line-up by introducing the V60 cross Country.

Other European brands Volkswagen and Skoda offer high riding versions of their Passat and Octavia, dubbed Alltrack and Scout respectively.

The GLC has proven popular since its Australian debut late last year and is the top-selling mid-size premium crossover so far in 2016, with 1123 units sold, followed by the Land Rover Discovery Sport on 770 and the BMW X3 on 664.

Of the 9373 C-Classes sold in Australia last year, Benz says that about 700 were the wagon body style.

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