Mercedes-Benz chasing number one NZ luxury brand

Mercedes-Benz chasing number one NZ luxury brand

Mercedes-Benz is chasing the number one spot in the New Zealand luxury segment and at the end of October, the Stuttgart-based brand was 110 units in front of BMW and 156 units in front of Audi.

Mercedes-Benz led the New Zealand market with 1731 units at the end of October, but the New Zealand distributor says there are six weeks of sales left, and its not ready to make the call that it will be the market leader at the end of 2015.

“We are 30% up on our SUV sales in New Zealand year on year without the introduction of the all-new GLC which completes our range of luxury SUV models,” says Mercedes-Benz New Zealand public relations officer Matt Bruce.

It’s been a long time since the distributor was the number one for a year in luxury sales locally, and it is confident the introduction of the GLC will help to secure that milestone.

The ageing small BMW X3 and Audi Q5 SUV will face competition from a competitively specified and priced GLC.

Mercedes-Benz is introducing three models starting with the GLC 220 d priced at $89,900, followed by the sole petrol powered model, the GLC 250 at $94,900 and the GLC 250 d $96,900.

All three four-cylinder GLC models will be equipped with the nine-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission as standard as well as 4Matic permanent all-wheel-drive system.

The entry level 2.1-litre GLC 220 d has an output of 125 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque. The entry level model specification includes 19” Wheels, keyless start, power tailgate, LED intelligent light system, Garmin navigation with touchpad, electrically powered front seats, side steps, power fold mirrors, black Ash wood trim, and a 360 degree camera.

Run flat tyres, blind spot assist, and cross wind assist are also standard features.

A 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the GLC 250 (155kW/350Nm) see the vehicle accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 7.3 seconds. In diesel guise, the GLC 250 d is also powered by the turbocharged 2.1L engine, but produces an output of 150kW and 500 Nm.

In addition to the standard specification on the 220d, these vehicles also incorporate a 20” wheels, a Keyless-go package, leather upholstery, privacy glass and the driver assistance package plus.

The GLC’s rear seat features a 40/20/40 split and offers a cargo position which increases the load capacity by locking the backrests at a steeper angle. The load capacity with the rear seats in place is 580 litres and 1600 litres when folded flat.

The load compartment sill can be lowered by 40 mm with the air body control option, and by hands free access (GLC 250 models only), which enables the tailgate to be opened automatically.

Safety features include 9 Airbags, collision prevention assist plus, pre safe and Blind Spot Assist.

In addition to this specification, the GLC 250 models also include the Driver Assistance Package plus which includes: Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, Pre Safe Brake and Pre Safe Plus and BAS Plus with Cross Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist.

The new GLC features the agility control suspension with steel springs and a variable damping system as standard. The GLC offers the option of a multi-chamber air suspension system and electronically controlled, continuously adjustable damping called Air Body Control for $2490.

This air suspension system combines driving stability and sporty agility with optimum comfort and off-road capabilities. When the GLC is equipped with the Off-Road Engineering package, the air suspension optimises the wheels’ ground contact, ensuring good progress in off-road terrain by raising the driving level by up to 50 mm.

The new GLC offers the Dynamic Select handling control system with five driving programs as standard. In addition to the Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual settings, it can also be equipped with the Off-Road engineering package.

This $3490 ($3990 for the GLC 220 d) engineering package comprises up to five programmes. “Slippery” and four off-road driving programs are totally new. “Off-road” is predestined for easy off-road terrain such as gravel or sand tracks. “Incline” boosts climbing capabilities on steep ramps or long, slow uphill stretches.

The fourth off-road program, “Trailer”, is designed for towing off-road and facilitates moving off on wet grass. The Off-Road Engineering package also includes a robust Gemtex under ride guard, which takes the stress out of heavy ground contact, and also includes Downhill Speed Regulation.

The system, which goes by the abbreviated name of DSR, automatically maintains the speed which has been pre-set on the cruise control on steep downhill stretches.

Other packages available for consumption include the Comand Package ($2990), the AMG Line package ($3490), the Vision Package ($3990), and the Air Balance package ($490).

Bruce wouldn’t comment on how many GLC models the company hopes to sell, but says he expects there will ben s strong take-up on the AMG line package and the Vision package but says they are not expecting a great take up on the air suspension and off-road package.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC officially goes on sale in authorised New Zealand dealerships in December.
Driving impressions from the media launch will follow tomorrow.

The recommended list price is as follows:

  • Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d 4MATIC-$89,900
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 4MATIC – $94,900
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 d 4MATIC – $96,900
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