The Mercedes GLC’s elegant cabin certainly has more character than the somewhat drab BMW X3 but it can’t quite match the rock-solid build quality you get in an Audi Q5
The Mercedes GLC has a luxurious interior that feels as good as it looks. Its simple, minimalist design is smarter than you’ll find in a BMW X3 and its plush materials feel very nearly as sturdy as those in the seemingly bulletproof Audi Q5.
All models come with man-made leather upholstery as standard, too – and it’s so convincing there’s no need to pay an extra £795 for the optional real leather trim. A more worthy upgrade is the gorgeous unvarnished ash wood trim on Sport cars and above. It looks even better than the standard piano black plastic and won’t scratch quite so easily.
If that’s not enough to help your Mercedes GLC stand out, pick a range-topping AMG Line model. You get stainless-steel pedals, a black roof lining and a sportier steering wheel with upgraded chrome and leather trims.
Unfortunately, the GLC’s standard seven-inch infotainment display can’t hold a candle to the slick setup you get in an Audi Q5. The Mercedes’ thick black plastic bezel makes it look a bit like a poor attempt at a knock-off iPad and its scroll wheel and touchpad controls are much harder to use on the move than the BMW X3’s iDrive system.
You can get the Mercedes GLC with a much-improved Comand Online system as part of the Premium Plus Pack. It’ll set you back nearly £3,000 but it’s worth it – you also get memory functions for the front seats, a panoramic glass roof and an upgraded Burmester stereo with classy laser-etched speaker grilles.
The GLC’s cabin makes an excellent first impression but its lacklustre infotainment system really lets the side down
Most cars (except the Mercedes GLC 63) come as standard with a rather basic seven-inch infotainment display. You do get satellite navigation, but the graphics look clunkier than the Q5 and X3’s slick high-resolutions displays.
The upgraded Comand Online system (standard on the GLC 63) is well worth paying extra for. Not only do you get a bigger eight-inch screen but it’s easier to read on the move and suits the GLC’s smart cabin far better than the entry-level system.
Unfortunately, it’s still not the most intuitive system to use. There are some handy shortcut buttons to help you quickly switch between key features, but they’re mounted below the screen rather than beside the scroll wheel where your hand naturally rests. There are far too many menus to sift through to adjust its more detailed settings though, and entering a postcode takes longer than using BMW’s user-friendly iDrive system.
The sat-nav directions are easy to follow but you don’t get the handy alternative route options based on distance, time and fuel cost that you get in a Q5.
Also unlike the Audi, you don’t get Apple CarPlay to mirror your iPhone’s display on the built-in screen. Thankfully, you do get Android Auto as part of the upgraded Comand Online system, and all GLCs come with a conventional Bluetooth connection.
The standard stereo is both loud and clear but the 13-speaker Burmester system included in the Premium Plus Pack is in a totally different league – it turns the Mercedes GLC’s sumptuous cabin into your own personal concert hall.