Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Welcome to the world of Mercedes-Benz (M-B) where the fusion of luxury vehicles within the culture and lifestyle of its owners is as prevalent as a Super Bowl halftime performance. Specifically speaking, by inking a deal to the naming rights of a second NFL stadium in Atlanta, GA – its new home after relocating from Montvale, NJ — under the auspices of the Mercedes-Benz dynasty, the German powerhouse gains deep access into a market that is traditionally cultivated around vehicular domination. For example, Atlanta is one of the first cities to introduce valet parking at nightclubs and shopping centers as far as I can remember. So it was perfect timing for company executives to introduce yet again another re-invigorated team player.
With the introduction of the all-new GLC midsize, premium SUV, M-B now has a utility vehicle (five total) to represent every power position on the football field from the linebacking GLE, the defensive end epitomizing GLS to the nose tackling G-Class and strong safety signifying GLE Coupe. And let’s just say the GLC is one of the toughest and cunning free safeties in the business. Previously known as the GLK with its square proportions and station wagon resembling physique, the GLC has inherited similar and traditional DNA as the rest of the M-B SUV roster. Also keep in mind the new naming convention has also affected the GL, which goes by GLS and the ML representing the GLE.
For further insight into the SUV’s capabilities I flew down to my college town for a few days of evaluations and testing. It didn’t hurt that I was still basking in glory from Georgia Tech’s stunning win over previously undefeated Florida State the weekend prior to my mid-week arrival. In fact, part of our drive toured the Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech’s historic campus. I’m quite certain M-B recruiters will have their hands full gathering resumes from their esteemed School of Engineering.
The squad of 2016 GLC300s was ideal for the settings M-B orchestrated and fitting for the mindset and persona of the individuals who will be purchasing this $38,950 (2-wheel drive / $40,950 4MATIC AWD) luxury utility. From an elegant dinner at Dolce Italian to a comforting stay at the Mandarin Oriental in Buckhead, to an invigorating drive to the idyllic Montaluce Winery and Estates in Dahlonega, GA, I felt like a target of the M-B profile. And let’s not forget about the excitement received during a presentation of branding benefits while visiting the Mercedes-Benz Stadium Preview Center. You think Jerry Jones’ place in Arlington, Texas is impressive? Ha, just wait and see what the Falcons will have in store for fans in a few short years.
Powered by a direct injected 2-liter I-4 turbo engine, the GLC300 4Matic (241 horsepower / 273 lb-ft of torque) got around town with ease since its pulling power was just right for the vehicle’s size and weight. It was paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission, shift paddles mounted on the thick sporty steering wheel and DYNAMIC SELECT with five drive modes, which provides the driver with personalization options on how they would like to ride (ECO, COMFORT, SPORT, SPORT+ and INDIVIDUAL). Also available is the AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension. When running late to the games of course SPORT+ will be your mode of choice while the COMFORT setting is typical for relaxing commutes to calm you down after a team loss. A bevy of options will also satisfy your soul as it did with our GLC300 4MATIC, yet the menu of choices escalated the final purchase price to a whopping $64,570 with the most delectable upgrade emanating from the immaculate $3,950 designo MAGNO Dakota Brown paint. The vehicle simply pops with this hue whether you are a fan of brown rides or not. A few other “must haves” include the $750 AMG Black 20” rims with 255/45/20 run flats (this allows for the extra storage configurator under the cargo floor), the $2,330 Multimedia Package inclusive of COMAND Navigation, the $1,480 Panorama Sunroof, the 2,300 Sports Package with AMG exterior cues to beef up your GLC, and last but not least the $2,800 Driver Assistance Package with the latest M-B safety awareness technologies such as Active Blind Spot & Active Lane Keeping Assist and Steering Assist & Speed Limit Assist. I felt like I was in a scene of i-Robot when the vehicle began steering for me after purposely changing lanes without using the blinkers. In addition, the spoiler-outfitted tailgate allows key holders to open and close it with a foot swing under the rear bumper.
Step inside and notice that the GLC feels bigger than actuality. It’s lighter, longer and wider than the GLK it replaced without losing any fervor. Actually it gained much more. Preferably I’m attracted to larger SUVs such as the GLS, but the GLC was also just fine in size. Amenities included huge door pockets, impressive wood trims, rain-sensing wipers, the MB-Tex material covering the dash and door panels or the entire upholstery, the rocking Burmester premium audio system and of course COMAND’s 7” color LCD. The MB-Text will be appreciated by those who do not wish for leather while COMAND is now simpler to navigate and far more intelligent than prior renditions. For example, the Navigation can store precise, programmed stopping points along your route so there is never a need for using your phone’s Google Maps.
I finished my Atlanta tour at JCT Kitchen in the Westside Provisions District and ordered an efficient and healthy veggie melody before heading to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The new GLC is a joy and full of technological accouterments. It increases M-B’s SUV awareness level and dares you to look outside the brand at another label. Yet, the GLC becomes costly as your desires for higher level upgrades increase.