10 months ago

Selwyn Times: August 09, 2016

569a Colombo Street

569a Colombo Street Christchurch 03 377 6800 32 Tuesday August 9 2016 SELWYN TIMES Sunday 28 August 9.30am – 4.00pm PROUDLY SPONSORED BY: bliss Modern Contemporary Hair CREATING YOUR PERFECT WEDDING weddings by collective concepts Airforce Museum 45 Harvard Avenue, Wigram, Christchurch Tickets: $15.00 My Kaywa QR-Code SELWYN TIMES Tuesday August 9 2016 33 Driven Luxury SUV boosts Mercedes-Benz sales • By Ross Kiddie I WAS picking up a new Mercedes-Benz, and had a very quick chat with the head of the sales team. We were talking about the luxury car market and the number of sales Mercedes-Benz was showing amidst New Zealand’s complicated market segments. Mercedes-Benz was New Zealand’s number one luxury car brand last year, and with its high number of sales through the first half this year it’s hard to see them being toppled. One of the reasons must be the very complex number of models Mercedes-Benz New Zealand is being presented with from the German factories. There is a car, station wagon, or sport utility vehicle for all buyer types, and amidst each different series there is a variety of engine, transmission and specification options. The most complicated decision a prospective buyer would face is deciding on a model in comparison to budget constraints. The car I was picking up was a GLC 220d, a diesel-powered midsize sport utility vehicle which fast became one of my favourites out of the Mercedes-Benz stable. It also dovetailed with the GLC 250 which is much the same car, albeit with a 2-litre petrol engine. The GLC as a series lands here in three variants. It starts at MERCEDES-BENZ GLC: Choice of three variants. $89,900 for the test car as evaluated, the GLC 250 lands at $94,900 while another 2.2-litre diesel (GLC 250d) which is effectively the same engine as the 220d but with higher power outputs, lists at $96,900. One of the reasons why I enjoyed the two GLC variants as much as I did is because as a vehicle it doesn’t look like the traditional SUV, it is more station wagon-like, and regular readers will recall my enthusiasm for the wagon concept. All GLC variants for the New Zealand market are four-wheeldrive, or 4-Matic as Mercedes- Benz label it. If you add in the driveline combination of diesel, a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and all-corner drive then the result is quite appealing. Rated at 125kW and 400Nm, the 2.2-litre engine has all of the wonderful mid-range power attributes that make diesel so appealing as a fuel. For interest’s sake, the 250d gets power and torque boosts to 150kW and 500Nm, while the GLC 250 gets the familiar, lightly boosted turbocharged engine which is rated at 155kW and 350Nm. The 220d’s twin-camshaft, 16-valve engine is also turbocharged which results in a wide torque spread – 1400rpm to 2800rpm. As a consequence, it is a powerhouse through the whole acceleration process, it will cut out a standstill to 100km/h time of 8.3sec, and will make 120km/h from 80km/h in 4.1sec. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters will assist the driver if he/she decides to take control over the acceleration process. It wouldn’t be a world-class diesel engine unless you get the benefits of thrifty fuel usage and that is certainly the case in the 220d. It is rated with a 5.6-litre per 100km (50mpg) combined cycle average. I achieved a constant 7l100km (41mpg) with an amazing 4.5l/100km (62mpg) showing at a steady 100km/h, the engine spinning over leisurely at just 1300rpm. In contrast, the GLC 250 is rated with a 7.2l/100km (39mpg) figure, and sat close to that at around 8l/100km (35mpg) during testing time. These figures are all quite remarkable for a vehicle which weighs in a little tubby at 1845kg, but the point is that the engineering which is coming out of European factories at the moment, especially those which are producing diesel power, are at the forefront of technology, and the GLC is just one example of performance and economy all rolled into one. I took the 220d on a State Highway 73 drive to Lake Lyndon. I don’t often use main roads for evaluation simply because I’m a little impatient in traffic, but I was on the road early one Sunday morning with the intention of travelling the back road from Lake Lyndon through to the Lake Coleridge Village. But, as nature would have it, it was bucketing down in the foothills thanks to a nor’west flow, and the wet, shingle roads would have created a major cleaning challenge when I got home. Nevertheless, I got a thorough understanding of the GLC’s behaviour on the seal and I enjoyed its nimble and agile nature, given that it is a mid-size SUV. Riding on huge Pirelli rubber, there is positive steering feel and unyielding grip. Body balance in the GLC is well controlled, the suspension’s spring and damper rates are a mixture of what is required to keep body roll contained in a corner, along with the ability to absorb the ruts and bumps which make up the majority of Christchurch’s roads. As you would expect from Mercedes-Benz, the GLC is full of luxury appointments, it has the kit to make you feel you have bought a lot of car, and it is intensely comfortable to ride in, even for five occupants. The GLC is just another example of what make Mercedes-Benz so desirable as a manufacturer. All German makes are selling well in New Zealand at the moment, but it will be a real surprise if Mercedes-Benz don’t make number one again this year. 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