Mercedes presents the GLC PHEV with over 100 km electric range

Mercedes-Benz has presented the new generation of its SUV model GLC. Only electrified drives are used, which means at least a 48-volt mild hybrid. There are also three plug-in hybrids, each with a battery range of more than 100 kilometres.

According to the press release, the core of all three plug-in hybrids is the new battery, which is an in-house development by Mercedes-Benz. It has a total capacity of 31.2 kWh; the carmaker does not specify the usable capacity. It should not only enable a range of more than 100 kilometres, according to WLTP City but also be able to be charged at just under 2C.

This means that the maximum DC charging power of the GLC PHEV is optionally 60 kW. Even with an empty battery, charging should be possible in around 30 minutes. On the AC side, depending on the market, an 11 kW charger is on board as standard. Mercedes does not state the charging time in the press release, but it should be slightly less than three hours with a suitable charging station or wall box.

Since the battery’s power density has been increased, DC charging can also increase the temperature in the cells, and the new battery has its own internal cooling system. Unlike its predecessor, the battery management system can thus regulate the operating temperature independently of the interior air conditioning. This should improve the DC charging curve and continuous operation in hot and cold countries.

The electric motor’s output (a permanently excited internal rotor synchronous machine) is 100 kW in all variants, and Mercedes states the maximum torque at 440 Nm. This allows the GLC to drive up to 140 km/h purely on electric power. Like the electric motor, the power electronics have been integrated into the transmission housing. This means that the system requires less installation space and simplifies assembly at the vehicle plant in Bremen and, in the future, also in Sindelfingen.

In addition to the higher e-range, a “significantly more electric driving experience” was one of the development goals. Mercedes claims to have improved the hybrid driving programme – the electric driving mode is automatically scheduled for the most sensible sections of the route.

The electric driving experience (and the drive system’s efficiency) is also to be improved by a new, vacuum-independent, electromechanical brake booster. According to Mercedes, depending on the driving situation, this automatically controls the flexible switch between hydraulic braking and recuperation – this is intended to achieve the best energy recovery. The system is designed to utilise the maximum recuperation power more frequently, which, like the electric drive power, is 100 kW.

The electric part of the drive is combined with two petrol engines or diesel. In all cases, these are two-litre four-cylinder engines, and the six-cylinder has also been sorted out for the mild hybrids. In the GLC 300 e 4MATIC, the petrol engine produces 150 kW, and the system output is 230 kW. The GLC 400 e 4MATIC has 185 petrol kW, and the system output stated by Mercedes is 280 kW. The GLC 300 de 4MATIC has a system output of 245 kW, with the diesel contributing 145 kW.

The diesel PHEV has the highest system torque of 750 Nm, while the petrol models have 550 and 650 Nm respectively. The top speed is more than 217 km/h for all variants. The e-range for the two petrol models is 104-120 kilometres. For the diesel, it is 102 to 117 kilometres.

The plug-in hybrids get air suspension and level control on the rear axle as standard when it comes to the chassis. The full Airmatic system is available at extra cost. Like the electric EQE and EQS, the GLC also gets rear-axle steering, but here only as an option. The steering angle on the rear axle is up to 4.5 degrees. This reduces the turning circle by 90 centimetres to 10.9 metres.

In terms of bodywork, the new GLC has become six centimetres longer at 4.71 metres. The car has even become slightly narrower from wing mirror to wing mirror, the height is more or less the same. With up to 600 litres, the boot has become 50 litres larger.

Inside, the GLC follows the design of the current Mercedes models: the central display, in this case, 11.9 inches, dominates the interior design, the LCD screen for the driver has to be 12.3 inches. MBUX Augmented Reality for navigation is offered as an optional extra: A camera captures the surroundings in front of the vehicle. The central display shows the moving images and superimposes virtual objects, information and markings. This includes, for example, traffic signs, turn-by-turn directions, lane change recommendations and house numbers.

Since the GLC was often used as a towing vehicle in the past, Mercedes says it has also emphasised improvements on this point in the new edition. The plug-in hybrids can tow up to two tonnes, the mild-hybrid petrol 2.4 tonnes and the mild-hybrid diesel 2.5 tonnes. The drawbar load is 100 kilograms in all cases. Another new feature is, for example, a trailer route planner that takes into account, among other things, drive-through widths and drive-through heights. As soon as the ball head is occupied and there is an electrical connection, the trailer route planner in MBUX asks about the use of the towbar – is it only a bicycle carrier or a small trailer? Or a larger caravan or horse trailer?

The developers have also focused on acoustic comfort since the plug-in hybrids with the larger battery are expected to achieve significantly increased electric driving shares. One example: the GLC now wears side mirrors – instead of the previous triangular mirrors. Among other things, Mercedes determined the optimal position of the mirror on the outer door panelling and aerodynamically improved the mirror housing, as well as the mirror base.

“With its high level of ride comfort and convincing overall acoustics, the GLC is a superb long-distance companion and great fun to drive,” says Jörg Bartels, Head of Integration Complete Vehicle. “The new GLC comes with all the attributes that make a Mercedes-Benz SUV what it is: uncompromising handling safety on the road, outstanding driving dynamics and superior performance when off-road.”

Mercedes has not yet named prices for the GLC.

With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.

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