2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Driving Impressions

We haven’t driven a GLC300 yet, but we did drive the European GLC250, same chassis, transmission and suspension, with a smaller engine making 30 less horsepower, which is still responsive and very smooth. We expect strong performance from the new turbo four, especially in the low/mid rpm ranges.

Handling is agile and responsive. The steering tracks well, is comfortably weighted, and centers nicely out of tight corners.

The 9-speed automatic shifts unobtrusively, although the timing varies a lot between Comfort and Sport modes, and if you forget to reset when you come out of Sport and into Comfort, it gets confused and lurches.

The 4MATIC all-wheel drive is split 45/55 front/rear distribution of power, during normal driving. It continuously and smoothly varies the torque split using a multi-disc clutch and planetary differential. Stability and traction are further enhanced as the brakes are applied at individual wheels.

We drove models with the optional air suspension. We have our doubts if it’s worth it, over the standard adjustable four-link front suspension with springs and upper wishbones, and a five-link rear axle, with its dynamic settings and a 60-millisecond reaction time to road changes. The air suspension controls body lean so well that there’s no suggestion that you might be pushing things with tire grip.

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