These Benzes go through rough and tumble
Text and photos by Ardie O. Lopez
Being a premium-luxury automotive brand that has one of the most extensive model lineups in the industry, Mercedes-Benz zeroed in on a fast-growing niche in the market: those who demand a high level of comfort and luxury on top of seriously versatile performance capability.
For that, they handpicked their mid-sized SUV from an impressive roster of nameplates, coming in two variants: the Mercedes Benz GLC 200 Exclusive, and the GLC 220d.
They could’ve taken the easy route by simply explaining why the GLC will fit the bill, but that would’ve been grossly inadequate, compared to the event they curated to vividly demonstrate why.
Satiate the hunger
These days, true success isn’t only measured in accomplishments and acquisitions. It’s also about being able to maintain a healthy balance of pleasant experiences that define one’s character and happiness.
So, in automotive terms, what good is a ride with a premium badge and all the opulent accouterments, if it won’t help its owner achieve that balance?
Well it seems the Mercedes-Benz GLC can deliver that, since it’s built for adventure.
Mercedes Benz Philippines invited a large group of motoring and lifestyle journalists, to dive neck-deep in their Hungry for Adventure GLC Ride & Drive event, and boy, what they had lined up for the participants were by no means token outdoor activities. They were, indeed, enough to properly satiate the adventure-hungry.
Rolling out bright and early from its Greenhills/Edsa showroom, and briskly heading towards Cavite was an urban adventure we all are quite familiar with and not too excited about, but we experienced how the GLC’s fared in the usual congested traffic of Manila.
Dicing in and out of tight spots as we headed south, the GLC’s superb onroad dynamics worked well with its average-sized footprint to make filtering through the sea of cars a cinch.
When it was appropriate, opening up the throttle on the expressway revealed the smooth delivery of its abundant power.
The Mercedes Benz GLC 200 Exclusive is powered by a 4-cylinder gasoline engine that’s mated to a 9G-tronic 9-speed automatic transmission. It’s rated at 184 hp, with 300 Nm of torque.
The GLC 220d, on the other hand, is powered by a 4-cylinder diesel engine equipped with the same transmission, but rated with a power output of 170 hp and 400 Nm of torque.
The GLC 220d, though, sports a 4matic permanent all-wheel drive configuration, hence the beefier torque output.
Between the two variants, the 220d obviously has more brawn to venture further off the roads.
Land, sea, air—not necessarily in that order
Paragliding: you basically run in tandem with someone, then jump without hesitation over a cliff, and hope the contraption made of nylon cords and fabric will hold you airborne.
The harrowing part is just for the first few seconds. Everything else that follows is peaceful gliding bliss propelled by the wind.
It was exhilarating, didn’t take a lot of investment in time and courage, and is highly recommended.
During the first three hours of our first day out with the GLCs, we had to try out the Benz in a mild offroad setting.
Our rides were positioned at the base of the cliff, and we were to segue from our paragliding flights by landing smoothly and unstrapping from the glider, then jumping into the waiting GLCs, strapping in and driving through the designated course.
It was amazing how the ride quality remained plush despite the ruts and mini-hills on the grassy route, definitely a demonstration of Mercedes-Benz quality.
Both GLC variants are equipped with Dynamic Select, when the driver could simply flick a switch to toggle between Eco, Comfort, Sport or Sport+ drive modes on the fly.
These settings instantly map the GLC’s dynamics to better handle various driving conditions and the driver’s whim.
Comfort in action
Day two turned out to be more physically taxing, but was more rewarding in terms of driving the GLCs.
After spending the night at the Escala Tagaytay Hotel, we took a fast-paced drive to the Taal Yacht Club.
The route showcased how the GLCs responded to the more aggressive pace.
The roads to our destination were filled with sharp turns and switchbacks with varying grades of inclines and dips.
Behind the wheel of the GLC 200 Exclusive, I flicked it on Sport+ mode and carved my way through the drive.
The acceleration was more deliberate and assertive, while the suspension stiffened up a bit to reduce what minimal lateral sway and body roll there was, providing a luxurious sport sedan with a road-holding tenacity that I totally got a kick out of.
It’s amazing how the crystal clear audio from the premium Burmester sound system complemented the drive, in the comfort of leather clad seats dialed in to precisely engulf your unique anatomy.
I just wish the drive lasted longer.
Getting out of the cars into waiting boats, and through the placid waters of the Taal Lake just after sunrise, this was a picturesque way to cap off our drive.
We then alighted on the quaint town of Balete, situated within the lake within the Taal Volcano’s crater. What followed next was an arduous hike to the island in a lake within the lake within the crater.
The terrain past the viewpoint was not for the faint-hearted; even the horses we rode displayed considerable difficulty.
But then, laying our eyes on the immense natural beauty of the mini-lake at the center was totally worth the effort.
Mercedes-Benz is well known for packing in cutting edge automotive technology in its cars’ extensive safety, comfort and performance features.
Standard are adaptive brake lights, active parking assist, and the intelligent light system.
Other features like the expansive cargo capacity, a classy, roomy interior, and head-turning exterior aesthetics make the GLC an exceptionally well-balanced SUV that’s ready for your chosen adventure and at any given day.
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