Mercedes-Benz GLC 300e review: ‘The price of electricity is too high’

You can switch between modes with a button on the dash, but you’ll need gentle fingers if you don’t end up having to activate too many other functions. Dynamically, there’s a smooth, almost unaffected way to the road in electric mode, and the loudest noise at 20 mph is the big tires rattling on the Tarmac.

At lower speeds, the ride is softened, and it doesn’t quite wobble over gentle bumps. On a frosty morning on the country lanes of Northampton this is quite an experience, as you are gently and quietly reassured, looking over the hedges in the countryside and listening to Radio 3 on 15 Burmester speakers.

But the GLC can’t hide its mass, massive tires, or high center of gravity. The sharp-edged potholes seem to come as a complete surprise to the tyres, which bump away below you.

Broken edges create side-to-side head motion in the stirrups, and if you start to drive harder, even in Sport mode, there’s a loose quality to the rear suspension as it snaps off the highest peaks.

It’s not dangerous, and more of a concern, especially considering its low to medium system speed. Although the steering is precise and well-weighted, it doesn’t give much feedback on what the front wheels are up to, even if loaded in the corners. All-round, the ventilated discs feel powerful and brake pedal response is consistent, despite the intervention of the regenerative braking system.

Telegraph rule

Weight and price are the two main factors working against the car in this plug-in spec (not to mention the over-ornamented look). For the many private buyers who will send them to other companies where that amount of money buys more cars: the Volvo XC60 Recharge T6; Land Rover Discovery Sport P300e; BMW X3 PHEV; And the Audi Q5 TFSI e, for example.

For the company car driver with off-street parking and a home wall box, the GLC 300 e’s favorable tax treatment and potential fuel savings should offset the higher price, but not by much. I still quite like the GLC, but despite the technical ingenuity shown in the plug-in model, I think I’d prefer the diesel-engined version. The price of advancement here seems to be very high.


the facts

in the exam: GLC 300 e 4Matic AMG Line Premium Plus

body style: A five-door, five-seater family SUV

For sale: Now, for delivery in March

how much? Price for the GLC ranges from £51,885 to £72,210 as tested

how is the fasting? 135 mph, 0 to 62 mph in 6.7 seconds

How economical? 565 mpg city (WLTP combined), 58 mpg city test engine and gearbox: 1,999 cc, turbocharged petrol four-cylinder, nine-speed automatic gearbox, all-wheel drive

Motor power / torque: 201bhp @ 6,100rpm / 236lb-ft @ 2,100rpm

electric powertrain: 134-horsepower electric motor and 31.2 kWh lithium-ion battery

electric range: 80 miles (EAER), 62 miles in testing

maximum power/torque: 308bhp / 405lb-ft

CO2 emissions: 12g/km VED: £0 the first year, then £155

a guarantee: 3 years / unlimited mileage Spare wheel as standard: No (not available)


competitors

Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Recharge, from £61,240

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