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Mercedes GLC 350d 4 Matic AMG Line (2017) review

Published:26 June 2017

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350d review by CAR magazine
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

► 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.

Mercedes GLC 350d review by CAR magazine

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.

Ride, handling

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).

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350d SUV interior and cabin

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.

Mercedes GLC 350d: specs, photos and more in CAR's review

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).

360-degree parking camera a boon for tight spaces

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.

Verdict

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

Specs

Price when new: £45,630
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 2987cc V6 turbodiesel, 255bhp @ 3800rpm, 457lb ft @ 1600-2400rpm
Transmission: Nine-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Performance: 6.2sec 0-62mph, 148mph, 47.9mpg, 159g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1890kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4661/1890/1627mm

Rivals

Other Models

Photo Gallery

  • Is it worth stepping up from four-cylinder GLCs for the 350d?
  • Most buyers pick the GLC 220d or 250d. The 350 adds a pair of cylinders
  • Mercedes GLC cabin: quality abounds
  • Right-sized for UK roads: the Mercedes-Benz GLC
  • We tested the Mercedes GLC 350d 4 Matic AMG Line SUV
  • Rear seats of Mercedes-Benz GLC: comfy for two, less so for three
  • You can pick SUV or Coupe bodystyles for Mercedes GLC
  • Burmester speakers remain a work of visual art
  • The Mercedes GLC 350d costs £45,630 in the UK
  • Parking cameras, HUD head-up display: our GLC came well loaded

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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