METZINGEN, Germany ? Mercedes has renamed its entry-level SUV for the 2016 model year.
Known until now as the GLK, it will become the GLC as part of a plan to give all Mercedes SUVs a GL prefix.
The lineup will thus have the GLA as the entry-level model, based on the A-series platform, along with the GLC ? based on the C-Series and the GLE (nee ML) ? based on the E-Series.
There is talk of a GLS halo vehicle ? based on the S-Series in the not-too-distant future.
The GLK is the most popular Mercedes SUV with more than 650,000 sold to date.
The global launch of the second-generation GLK/GLC took place here, near Stuttgart, on the campus of Mercedes? marketing partner Hugo Boss.
Like Mercedes, Hugo Boss is a global company in the premium segment with 13,000 employees and sales in 130 countries.
Its name features prominently on the side of the Mercedes Formula One cars.
As befits the tie-in with Hugo Boss, the new GLC is a more stylish vehicle.
It has a new and more contemporary look with rounded edges and a sloping roofline instead of the sharp creases and boxy lines of the current model.
The overall appearance is much cleaner, especially from the rear.
The interior receives an even greater update. It is almost startling in its transformation.
Thanks to a 118 mm longer wheelbase than the GLK, it has more room inside. Legroom is up by 57 mm in both first and second rows, there is 54 mm more shoulder room in the front and 28 mm more in the rear.
The GLC is also 80 kilos lighter, despite the increased size, thanks to the increased use of aluminum and high strength steel.
The rear seat is split 40/20/40 allowing multiple cargo/people configurations.
The cargo area with or without the seats folded has been increased by about 100 litres.
The GLC will becomes the first in its segment to offer an electronically-controlled air suspension system when it crosses the Atlantic in the fourth quarter of this year.
It will come initially in one model: the GLC 300 4Matic with the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine and 4Matic system used in the current C300 4Matic sedan.
It will have a new nine-speed automatic transmission.
It will be followed by plug-in hybrid and diesel versions.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC
- Price: TBA
- Engine: turbocharged 2.0-litre four cylinder, 241 horsepower, 273 lb-ft of torque
- Transmission: nine-speed automatic
- Length: 4,656 mm
- Width: 1,890 mm
- Wheelbase: 2,873 mm
- Weight: 2,025 kg
- Competition: Audi A3, BMW X3 and Porsche Macan