Tamer option

The Mercedes-Benz GLC200 (above) is less powerful than the GLC250, but it has an equally roomy cabin with modern-day features.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC200 (above) is less powerful than the GLC250, but it has an equally roomy cabin with modern-day features.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
The Mercedes-Benz GLC200 (above) is less powerful than the GLC250, but it has an equally roomy cabin with modern-day features.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC200 is less powerful than the GLC250, but it has an equally roomy cabin with modern-day features.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The Mercedes-Benz GLC200 makes its siblings look good

Next to the GLC250, the Mercedes-Benz GLC200 is somewhat of a letdown. Not that it is a bad car per se, but it is noticeably less sparkly than its more powerful twin.

With 184bhp and 300Nm to its name, it has 25 per cent less power and 14 per cent less torque than its sibling.

And although it is 30kg lighter on account of it being a rear-wheel-drive - versus all-wheel-drive GLC250 - this does not compensate for its smaller output.

It takes one whole second more to complete the 0-100kmh dash and top speed is 10kmh off the 250's peak. This may sound inconsequential, but on the road, it translates to what is best described as a lumbering amble.

You feel the weight of the car. And you feel you need to step hard on it each time you need to overcome inertia or when you need to power out of a corner. Or when you want to pass that lane-straddling car in front.

It will, however, deliver some semblance of verve if you are heavy-footed or if you drive in sport mode.

Perhaps this is why the stated fuel consumption remains hardly changed at 7 litres/100km (7.1 for the 250). It goes to show that being lighter and being a two-wheel-drive do not help much if an engine has to work harder.

  • SPECS / MERCEDES-BENZ GLC200

  • Price: $213,888 with COE

    Engine: 1,991cc 16-valve inline-4 turbocharged

    Transmission: Nine-speed automatic with paddle shift

    Power: 184bhp at 5,500rpm

    Torque: 300Nm at 1,200 to 4,000rpm

    0-100kmh: 8.3 seconds

    Top speed: 212kmh

    Fuel consumption: 7 litres/100km

    Agent: Cycle & Carriage

Performance aside, the GLC200 is reasonably inoffensive. It offers a solidity the brand has stood for for eons, an old-school SUV styling (angular, plain and decidedly rugged) and Merc-only conveniences such as a single wiper-cum-turning signal stalk, the easiest cruise control and hold functions in town.

Modern-day features such as a touchpad infotainment screen, LED illumination, collision warning and prevention, drive select (five modes) and rain-sensing wipers are part of the package.

All work well except for the rear wiper, which has poor blade-glass contact.

In terms of luxury, you get convincing faux leather (complete with stitchings) lining the dash and pretty much every other part your body comes into contact with.

A hands-free motorised tailgate, keyless system, and heat-and noise-insulating glass are some of the other premium features.

Size-wise, the car is shorter than BMW's soon-to-arrive new X3. Against the Audi Q5, it is shorter bumper to bumper and does not stand as tall.

But among them, the Merc has by far the most generous wheelbase of 2,873mm.

This translates to a roomy cabin for a mid-size SUV. Its boot space is especially generous.

For its price, the GLC200 offers a pretty decent choice for those who just don't want to spend that bit more for a GLC250. It is also less costly than its German rivals.

If the car is a tactical move to make Merc fans pick the more powerful - and slightly pricier - GLC250, it will probably work.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2017, with the headline 'Tamer option'. Print Edition | Subscribe