If the GLA was a bit too small for your taste, and you didn't mind forking out that bit extra for something bigger and better, look this way. The mid-size luxury SUV game has gotten hotter with the GLC in the ring.
The wide body and tall stance give it the intent of a proper SUV. It is based on the same platform as the C-Class, but is slightly longer. That wide, prominent grille looks the business and is unmistakably Mercedes material. Mildly swollen wheel arches and a sharp character line along the doors give it a beefy character. At the rear, the raked windscreen and a sloping D-pillar are particularly attractive - our favourite angle of the car; of course, the elongated tail lamps are striking too, while the skid plate and the dual exhausts poking out from the rear further enhance the look on the SUV.
Step inside, and boy - do we love what we see! An interior design along the lines of the new C-Class, which is no bad thing - since when we drove the latest-gen C-Class when it was launched, and thought it was prim-and-proper. A wooden centre console with a whole lot of chrome-finished aircon vents, double-stitched upholstery, buttons with a metal finish, simplistic dials and a rather small-ish infotainment unit. The seats offer ample support and are perfectly bolstered for comfort, leaving us hard-pressed to nitpick.
We found the driving position to be spot-on, thanks to the powered seats and steering adjust. Rear occupants will have no grouse about legroom and headroom, as there is plentiful. With the powered seatback folded, there's more than 550 litres of boot space.
Under the hood, lies a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo-petrol engine that makes 245hp and 370Nm of torque. Married to the motor is Merc's all-new transmission: a 7G-tronic, 9-speed torque-converter automatic that is said to help extract better performance and fuel efficiency.
The shifts are effortless - especially in 'comfort' mode. You also get Eco, Sport and Sport + modes that adjust the throttle, steering and gearbox characteristics. There isn't much turbo lag to speak of, and the motor pulls with a firm grunt, while acceleration is linear and more often than not, we found ourselves fidgeting with the Sport and Sport+ modes during this phase of the drive. We also loved using the paddle-shifters; they really do give you a sense of sitting in something sporty.
It manages the 0-100kph sprint in 7.5 seconds, making it faster than its oil-burner equivalent.
The ride quality doesn't unsettle the occupants, and the supple suspension iron out most of the rough stuff, also making it the most comfortable of the lot in its segment. There is a bit of bobbing around, but we expect that of a car that rides and feels a bit like a marshmallow.
The steering, at high speeds, instills confidence and is quite progressive for something that isn't a hydraulically-powered. It's stable around corners, but there is bodyroll and since it's a four-wheel-drive, you tend to expect understeer as well.
Paying Rs.50.90 lakh for the GLC300 4Matic petrol makes a lot of sense if you're in for something refined, well put together and an absolute hoot to be driven around in, given just how comfy it is at the rear. Turbo petrols aren't everyone's cup of tea, but we can assure you a lot of smiles after buying one of these.
|3-Dec||InKart Festival, Daytona Tamworth|
|3-Dec||Building Supplies Knockhill Stages, Knockhill Junior Rally, Dunfermline, UK|
|5-7 Dec||H&H Classics Auction, Donington Park Circuit, UK|
|6-Dec||Formula 270 Kart Races, Red Lodge, Suffolk, UK|
|6-Dec||Drift What Ya Brung, Santa Pod Raceway|
|7-Dec||RMA Trackday, Donington Park Circuit|
|8-11 Dec||Winter Weekend in Provence, Southern France|
BMW have finally revealed an opened-top version of their hybrid supercar - the i8 Roadster, at the Los Angeles Motor Show. Almost everything is shared with both cars, the coupe and roadster - including the new updated design and of course the hybrid powertrain. The car gets a reworked windscreen that boasts of a stronger frame and quarter windows to help in the ease of stowing away the new folding roof that hides under a panel incorporated within two buttresses behind the cockpit. The soft roof that is made of a large fabric panel and header rails and opens in just 15 seconds at speeds not more than 50kph. It does away with rear side windows, and instead gets new black panels with aluminium trim, with 'Roadster' embossed on either sides. Also, there is no see-through 'boot cover'; instead, it gets an openable tailgate. The i8's carbon-fibre reinforced plastic and aluminium structure, which helps it weigh as little as 60kgs more than the coupe. The Roadster is a proper two-seater, so no room for peeps at the rear. The dashboard design is shared between both, the coupe and roadster and sports the latest iDrive system that comes with touch-control on the 8.8-inch monitor. It also gets an optional heads-up display, newly designed seats, a range of new trim including ceramic controls within the centre console and carbon-fibre elements on the dashboard. A mid-mounted 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo petrol motor works in sync with a front-axle mounted electric motor. Power is sent all four wheels when both, petrol and electric motors are working, while power is sent solely to the front wheels on electric power alone. The petrol engine makes the same 231hp and 320Nm of torque, while the electric motor gets a bump-up to 12hp, make it a total output of 374hp. The 0-100kph sprint is dealt with in 4.6 seconds, while the updated coupe does it in 4.4 seconds. An electronically-limited top speed of 250kph has been claimed for both cars. Also, a new lithium-ion battery has an improved cell capacity of 34Ah and an energy capacity of 11.6kW. The battery range allows the car to travel up to 53-55kms. However, speed will not exceed 120kph on battery power alone. The new 360-degree electric charging system provides 7.2kWs of charging and 80% state of charge for both cars in less than three hours. You can look forward to an India launch sometime later next year.
Aston Martin have taken the wraps off their newest beast - the all-new Vantage, which is said to be the brand's second launch for the second-century plan, which will have seven new cars made and introduced over seven years. There's something rather simple about the character lines on the new Vantage, but the functional and aggressively styled grille up-front has another story to tell. It's unlike any Aston you will have seen before. Cut-outs behind the front wheels helps reduce pressure on the front tyres to cut drag. At the rear, a downforce-generating diffuser is again a new feature seen for the first time on an Aston. It also gets a distinctively styled raised 'boot wing'. Some of the Vulcan can be seen on the car as well. The new Vantage is powered by an AMG-sourced 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 also found in the DB11 and produces 510hp and 685Nm of torque. Aston claims a 0-100kph time of 3.6 seconds, with power being sent to the rear wheels through a rear-mounted ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox. It also sports a limited-slip differential with dynamic stability control and dynamic torque vectoring modes. It also get a new E-Diff. The bonded aluminium structure is shared with the DB11, while 70% of the underpinning's components are new. Up-front, the Vantage gets double-wishbones and a multi-link suspension setup at the rear. The sub-frame is mounted to the car, which should help improve handling. Adaptive damping is also on offer with three modes: Sport, Sport Plus and Track. Specially-developed Pirelli P Zero tyres are wraped around 20-inch wheels; however, carbon-ceramic brakes will only come as an option. A 350-litre boot should also add to the practicality of the car. The cockpit is properly driver-centric, with lots of leather and Alcantara, rotary and toggle controls, with most of them found in clusters for different systems. It also gets an 8.0-inch LED screen with smart phone integration as standard. Carbon-fibre trim for the cabin and exhausts is an option. Sam Holgate, designer of the car said: “With the special projects, we can push our DNA a lot further than we originally thought, and that’s given us the confidence to not be so precious about features on the production cars. When you do that, it can snowball into something that’s quite special – but still an Aston Martin.” Expect an Indian launch sometime towards the end of 2018.