Here it is – the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. If the GLA was too small and the GLE (previously M-Class) was too big and expensive, this should hit the sweet spot for you.

The GLC replaces the GLK in the Mercedes-Benz line-up. We never knew the GLK because it was only ever made in left-hand drive. But with global demand for SUVs on the rise, making the new GLC in both left- and right-hand drive was a smart choice.

Built on the same Modular Rear Architecture that underpins the the new W205 C-Class, the GLC has its sights on the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. It’s 4,656 mm long, 1,890 mm wide and 1,639 mm tall, with a 2,870 mm wheelbase. The GLC’s wheelbase is a good 60 mm longer than the X3’s.

Three exterior looks are available – other than the standard version, you can pick more off road-suitable bodywork with an improved 28 degree approach and departure angle, as well as head the complete opposite direction with a sporty AMG Line.

Engine options should be close to a mirror of the C-Class – diesel-lovers will get a GLC 220d (2.1L, 170 hp, 400 Nm) or a GLC 250d (2.1L, 204 hp, 500 Nm). There’re also choices like the GLC 250 (2.0L, 211 hp, 350 Nm) and GLC 300 (2.0L, 241 hp, 370 Nm) for countries where petrol power is preferred.

All variants get a nine-speed 9G-Tronic gearbox except for a GLC 350 e 4MATIC hybrid, which soldiers on with a hybrid-specific 7G-Tronic Plus. The GLC 350 e is quick – the electric motor provides plenty of extra power and it hits the 100 km/h mark in just 5.9 seconds while consuming just 2.6 litres per 100 km.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC EDITION 1 (X 253) 2015

If you’re hungry for more performance, you can pick the GLC 450 AMG Sport in the future. No word of an AMG GLC 63 for now – that might be reserved for the upcoming GLC Coupe.

Both rear-wheel drive and 4MATIC will be available. Interestingly, left-hand drive and right-hand drive 4MATIC models will get different front to rear torque split. The left-hand drive’s differential provides a 45/55 front/rear split while the right-hand drive uses a smaller front differential for a more rear-biased 31/69 split.

There are a few suspension choices – Comfort and Sport are based on steel springs. An off-road package raises the ride height by 20 mm.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC, EDITION 1, (X 253) 2015

You can also upgrade to the optional Air Body Control (Airmatic) air suspension which is adjustable. Air suspension allows variable ride height. You can raise the GLC by up to 50 mm or lower it by 15 mm; the latter a feature useful to improve fuel consumption and stability on highway drives.

The off-road pack also provides five selectable off-roading modes – Slippery, Off-road, Incline, Trailer and Rocking assist (in case the car gets stuck). A robust Gemtex underguard is provided and there’s an additional Downhill Speed Regulation feature.

The GLC’s standard ride height is lower than its BMW rival though – it seems to have more of a crossover stance (but not as much as the GLA) compared to the X3’s outright SUV look. The GLC’s 1,639 mm height is about 36 mm lower than the X3.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d 4MATIC (X 253) 2015, CITRINBRAUN MAGNO, Artico/Stoff Espresso, Offroad Line Exterieur

Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d 4MATIC (X 253) 2015, CITRINBRAUN MAGNO, Artico/Stoff Espresso, Offroad Line Exterieur

Since its 2,870 mm wheelbase is just 4 mm shorter than the E-Class, Mercedes-Benz claims rear legroom is almost as good as the E. The rear bench has a 40:20:40 split and has adjustable recline.

The rest of the interior should be very familiar to you – it’s largely based on the W205 C-Class. If a W205 buyer upgrades to a GLC in a few years time, there might be a little less of that new car excitement because of the very similar interior.

Worldwide sales of the GLC will start in November 2015, so a Malaysian launch is likely to be sometime in 2016.

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