When I was a kid, someone told me you should never give a cat an egg, because afterwards egg was all it wanted, and other food all fell into the same grey, “not-egg” category. It’s not exactly that, to drive a Mercedes, but you never come away unscathed: there’s always a new dimension to your character, whether it’s status anxiety, spoiltness or a hitherto undreamed of yen for luxury.
The one with the ridiculous name (GLC 250 d 4Matic AMG line, as if made up by a password generator) certainly has flights of fancy from which you will never want to return. They have nailed the parking camera, with a bird’s-eye and a side view. This, for people who hate having to turn their neck, is a huge deal. And it does make for awesomely elegant, single-swoop manoeuvres, so that it wasn’t unusual to emerge from the vehicle to find a small crowd waiting, hoping for Lewis Hamilton’s autograph. The cabin is like a spacecraft: solid, slightly futuristic, full of dinky trims of light in doors and footwells, and with more USBs and cupholders than even the most device-intense, thirstiest family could hope for. The instrument cluster is classy and legible, the pedals have sports styling, brushed aluminium with rubber studs, and there’s a leisurely spaciousness about both front and back rows.
It also has nine-speed automatic transmission that, put against a Jag of the same dimensions (just as a wild for instance), definitely shows in the smoothness. In a choice of modes, between sport, sport+, eco, comfort and individual, I mainly went for eco; sport and sport+ are roarier and more ostentatious on the road, and how much showing off do you want to do in a car that is already polar white and built like a tank? The bodywork is lighter than you’d expect, the result of an aluminium mix, yet still feels sturdy as an oak, thanks in part to modifications that all end “assist” (curve dynamic assist, crosswind assist), and which target brake when a gusty wind is detected. That is pretty extraordinary: to have found a way to make a car feel heavier and more stately than it actually is. But it didn’t do much for the emissions, which are significant.
However, there was something a bit faceless about it, the driving equivalent of living in Guernsey. It’s obvious why you live there; it’s because you’re rich. But at the same time, why live there? It is more like the real truth about cats and eggs, that they can take or leave them.
Mercedes GLC 250 d 4Matic AMG: in numbers
Top speed 138mph
Acceleration 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds
Combined fuel consumption 56mpg
CO2 emissions 143g/km
Eco rating 5/10
Cool rating 5/10
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