► Mercedes GLC 350d review
► We test V6 crossover in UK
► Should you step up from 4cyls?
The Mercedes GLC sits at that sweet spot in the range – it feels right-sized for UK roads, neither too big to be clumsy around town nor too small to suffer at weekend dog and family handling duties. We’re big fans.
But should you invest in a V6 engine? We’ve already tested the best-selling four-pot GLC 220d and 250d models and come away impressed. They’re capable, hardly sluggish and deliver meaningful thrift at the pumps and in the annual tax bill shock stakes.
Is the 350d worth the extra £4600? Read on for our Mercedes GLC 350d review.
What does the GLC 350d badge mean?
Good question. In this postmodern age of over-inflated badges and fake news, it’s worth decoding the Mercedes-Benz SUV’s positioning.
Here 350d means the venerable 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel, tuned to produce a sturdy 255bhp of power and peak torque of a rather more muscular 457lb ft.
That promises plenty of instant shove, across the rev range. The torque peak plateaus flat from 1600 to 2400rpm, translating into meaningful acceleration, whenever you flex your right toe…
So it’s quick then?
It sure is. Mercedes quotes 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds flat, which is more than adequate for a car of this type. We’d heartily recommend stepping up the model ladder if you need proper shove, or often tow heavy loads such as horse boxes or boats.
The GLC 350d’s V6 sounds more cultured than the four-cylinder GLC models we’ve already tested and most of the time the bent six is refined and creamy, if hardly exciting (but then, which diesels are?).
Fuel economy plummets from a typical 37mpg in the GLC 250d to a more likely low-thirties figure in the 350d. We managed 33mpg in our week with the car.
The Air Body Control air suspension fitted to our car (a £1495 optional extra) worked brilliantly; we’d definitely recommend this option if you can stretch to it: it gives a smooth, unruffled ride, even on the 19-inch Continental tyres fitted to our test car (NB stock photos depict different wheels).
Yet this is no floating luxo-barge when you arrive at your first corner. Grip is plentiful and you’ll not wince when throwing it down your favourite back road – there’s decent body control and it won’t deign to understeer off at the first sniff of a tricky corner. Set the car up in Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ or Individual modes.
Traction is impressive; unless you regularly go off road, the drivetrain of the GLC is more than sufficient to keep you going up slippery slopes and through all British seasons.
The space race
We mentioned how right-sized the GLC is: having spent a week in a GLC on summer holiday last year, we seriously question the need for a bigger SUV. Okay, if you need a third row of seats or have particularly space-gobbling hobbies, you may want a full-sized crossover. But the GLC monsters it for us.
The boot space is square and really practical, with no lip to lug luggage over and there are numerous cubbies in the loadbay – and throughout the cabin – to hide away the clutter of daily life. The auto-lift boot is a nice touch and works well in this instance.
There is plenty of space in both rows of seats for four adults and the column-mounted gearlever frees up extra room in the front; just watch out for a noticeably steep transmission tunnel running down the spine of the car – this realistically limits rear foot space to two adults. The double sunroof doesn’t impede on decent headroom, however.
Read more about the new electrified Mercedes-Benz GLC-sized crossover here
Details, likes and dislikes
Mercedes-Benz fans will be at home in the GLC 350d: the push-and-release-to-hold parking brake function makes town driving a cinch and those chiselled looks provide a good view out (the 360deg parking camera is a boon here).
Those unfamiliar with the brand may baulk at the stalk overload: what with the multi-stalk on the left for wipers, indicators and lights, paddles for gearchanges and the cruise control stalk, you’ll need some careful dexterity training first.
Note, also, the head-up display. Brilliantly useful so much of the time, but why does the English version default to chopping off half the message (‘Direction of trav…’) on first view? Nit-picking, but a glitch that nonetheless annoyed us everyday.
The GLC 350d is a very polished all-rounder and we’re pleased to report that Merc build quality is back to its best: this is a very robust-feeling crossover.
The extra punch and refinement over the lesser, four-cylinder GLC 220d and 250d are welcome. Just do the maths to make sure the extra monthly payments work for you. You don’t need it, but you may want it…
Read all our other Mercedes reviews here