The new Mercedes-Benz GLC: The best just got better

Always in high spirits. Our secret: How our GLC project team used a model update to freshen up its SUV bestseller for the next few years. And to create a real highlight on four wheels!

The project started almost three years ago: The GLC was conceived, as our team began thinking about a model update. Just imagine: The angular outdated GLK found an ultra-modern successor in the GLC, which introduced an entirely new SUV language of design. And in technical terms, fully up to date. How can such a vehicle be improved?

What areas did we need to sharpen up?

What in the beginning appeared to be an attempt to square the circle, became more and more distinct over the course of the project. The starting points for the model update were the initial press releases and market feedback: criticism, weaknesses, requirements of customers in the future? There wasn’t much to complain about at the time, but one thing quickly became clear: SUVs are experiencing a global trend – and in this class, design is an important key to success.

The model update has made the design more independent, and even sportier. To achieve this, our designers enhanced and narrowed the contours of the radiator grille, and made the headlamps more dynamic. The headlamps and tail lights are now designed with LED technology as standard. From the rear, the new tail light design and the redesigned rear bumper with the new more striking tailpipes underline the traits of a real SUV.

I’m particularly impressed by the new design of the AMG line. The opening of the radiator grille has adopted an A-shape design. Together with the larger air inlets, this gives the exterior a more sporty look – a clear statement of a powerful design. At this point, we’d like to extend personal thanks to our designers for this top job!

As a digital native, I want state-of-the-art connectivity!

I had a personal interest in ensuring that the new GLC sets a new standard in this class in terms of networking and user experience. I love the Internet of Things, it’s my home turf. Controlling my lights, heating or even my vacuum cleaner using my voice is now an everyday occurrence. So I wanted that in the vehicle too. But this was disputed within the project team, and it wasn’t always easy.

Unlike an urban compact vehicle like the A-Class, the core target group for the GLC came from another generation. We have seen much more of a buzz amongst customers about this kind of feature. The new GLC does everything that Daimler has to offer in terms of networking and user experience. And with the latest Infotainment MBUX it sets a new benchmark in its class. All of the information appears on a large media display with standard touch function or can be displayed on an optional digital dash.

The navigation system offers an on-demand augmented reality function, which shows graphic navigation and traffic information in the live image in the media display. A really cool feature in my opinion. The new GLC offers many intuitive options, which operate a wide range of functions for the infotainment system: by voice, by touch, or even contactless via the MBUX interior wizards. The innovative system records and interprets my hand and arm gestures to operate selected functions in an instant.

From traffic jam to consumption: Do SUVs still meet today’s needs?

When optimizing the technology, our project team looked at the basic question: Do SUVs still meet today’s needs, when a range of issues from traffic jams to consumption are the focus of public debate? The answer is a clear yes! Customers want SUVs, because their spacious interiors make them extremely practical and flexible. The main aim was to make the new GLC cleaner and more cost-efficient than ever before.

So we had to look at even the tiniest of details: New, aerodynamically-optimized and extremely attractive Aero wheels also reduce the air resistance, such as the new air curtains in the front spoiler of the AMGLine. Thanks to an entirely new generation of engines, the GLC is more powerful, yet with reduced consumption. The petrol engines are equipped with the new EQ Boost function as standard. This function ensures greater agility, but at the same time saves fuel.

The new GLC: All kinds of strength

Off-road power or sporty dynamic driving on the road. Voice control or touch functions. In the project team, we are extremely proud of all aspects of the GLC model update and are convinced that many customers will be impressed too. The road to get here was not always smooth.

Despite this, we always had fun in the project team, and in my opinion that is a the secret to our success. Colleagues from a wide range of departments made a positive contribution to the project meetings. In spite of the pressure to succeed, we managed to overcome the project’s ups and downs, whilst always keep track of progress and maintaining a level of effortlessness. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to overcome the challenges and maintain our creativity.I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the entire project team.

We’ll celebrate together only once the presentation in Geneva is over and the first satisfied customers collect their new GLCs in July. A job that is usually a task for the boss at Daimler, will this time fall to me as product manager: Getting up on stage at the trade show in Geneva and presenting our new baby to the public on behalf of the entire project team. That makes me incredibly proud, but at the same time a little nervous. It’s just good that I can rely on such a fantastic team achievement!

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GLC Product Manager Arne Wiebking is from Werther (Westfalen) near Bielefeld, the home of the well-known caramel sweet, the “Werther’s Original”. The 33-year old has been working for Daimler since 2011 and has also worked as a Product Manager at Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach and Beijing. Arne, a millennial, loves the Internet of Things, and loves traveling around the world.