New Mercedes GLC and revised B-MPV are top 'Class'

CarsBy Robbie Farrell
The revised Mercedes Benz B-Class
The revised Mercedes Benz B-Class

Mercedes has always been a company that Benz over backwards to satisfy its customers. But, sadly, it lost its way during the Celtic Tiger era with buyers opting for smaller, cheaper models that had a bit more style to them.

They didn’t excite compared to their competitors and the German premium brand fell behind the likes of BMW and Audi. 

But Mercedes has come back with a bang in the last couple of years and it now boasts some of the best-looking cars on garage forecourts. 

From the entry-level A-Class to its flagship S-Class, there is certainly something stylish for everyone. 

And there is no sign of it stopping. The company is rolling more new models off the production line than many of its rivals at the moment. 

Just last week Mercedes introduced its new GLC SUV. Based on the latest C-Class platform, but with a longer wheelbase, the GLC has the characteristic appearance of a Mercedes-Benz SUV. 

This new model (pictured above) fits into the Mercedes-Benz line-up between the smaller GLA and larger GLE.

The company says that its new mid-size SUV is sure to appeal to urban and rural drivers alike. Viewed from the front, its short overhang, striking headlamps, body under-guard and twin-louvre grille and star all harmonise with the latest Mercedes-Benz design trends. 

The new GLC enters into an area in which Mercedes never previously had a model for sale here — the mid-size SUV segment. 

Commenting, Ciaran Allen, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, said: “Expected to launch here at prices in the mid-forties, with the customary high level of standard specifications, the GLC is a model which we have been waiting for.

"It will fill a void in our model range and will appeal to motorists across the board, attracting male and female drivers in equal measure.”

Four models will be available — all with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive as standard. Diesel models are a 170bhp GLC220d 4MATIC and a 204bhp GLC 250d 4MATIC. 

Completing the model offering will be a 211bhp GLC 250 4MATIC petrol and a GLC 350e 4MATIC plug-in Hybrid with 211+116bhp output (which launches later in 
the year). 

Nine-speed automatic transmission is standard on 220d, 250d and 250 models.

The GLC was hot on the heels of the all-new GLE coupe and updated GLE, which we reviewed on these pages a couple of weeks ago. Another of its fleet, which we test-drove recently, is the B-Class MPV. 

For the last five or six years, Mercedes had the small, premium MPV market all to itself, as both BMW and Audi decided not to cash in on this lucrative market. 

But with BMW now entering the race with its very stylish 2-Series Active Tourer, Mercedes has had to up its game. For 2015, the B-Class has been given a mild makeover to keep it fresh against the new Beemer on the block. 

The new interior of the revised B-Class (above)

To keep it up with the Joneses, Mercedes has freshened up the exterior looks of the B-Class slightly by adding new front and rear bumpers, a new grille and LED daytime running lamps, which are now integrated into the headlights.

The engines, too, have been improved, with the 2.2-litre B220 CDi receiving a little more power — yet with lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. 

Another adjustment in the mid-life makeover of the B-Class is that it now has a lower centre of gravity and is fitted with a four-link rear suspension set-up — designed to aid stability and improve the ride.

On the road, if we are to be perfectly honest, the BMW is nicer to drive. We found the Mercedes engine a little noisy compared to the BMW, and the handling is slightly behind the 2-Series also. 

Apart from that, there’s really not much to separate the two in our eyes — it just comes down to personal taste. 

As both are in the premium line-up, they come at a premium price, with both starting around the €32k mark. 

Mercedes has really upped its game of late and has one of the most diverse line-ups currently available. 

They also haven’t forgotten their loyal customers, retaining the luxury look of the popular E-Class, as well as adding a much younger feel to attract new buyers to the popular saloon.

But it’s the smaller Mercs that are attracting a lot of attention of late, and the new B-Class adds to that appeal.

It’s being helped by Mercedes offering Personal Contract Plan (PCP) deals on their smaller cars like the A- and B-Class. But now, from September, Mercedes plans to offer PCP deals on all their models

With so many new cars being taken on a PCP plan, Mercedes is expecting quite a significant take-up in demand.

So have a think B-efore you make up your mind which one ‘2’ go for.