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Next-gen Mercedes GLC hits the road in production bodywork

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Merc’s new Audi Q5 rival is expected to be unveiled next year with lower and sleeker design

First prototypes of Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming second-generation GLC have been spotted testing on German roads, well ahead of the car’s launch.

Complementing further sightings of the next C-Class saloon, due to be revealed before the end of 2020 and go on sale next year, the GLC will be revealed in the middle of next year and arrive in showrooms in late 2021, Autocar understands.

A prototype was seen wearing typical camouflage, yet the GLC’s shape has clearly changed quite substantially over its predecessor. It appears longer and lower, and perhaps a little wider, with less of an upright SUV stance. A longer wheelbase and overhangs should therefore mean more interior space.

The GLC’s front and rear ends are expected to share design elements with its platform-sharing C-Class sibling but, while the saloon has dropped much of its camouflage, the SUV gives little away about its front and rear ends.

Mercedes is aiming the make the C-Class the most advanced model in its class when it launches later this year. It will help achieve this via a new Drive Pilot function with level-three autonomous capability. It’s a similar system to that making its debut in the flagship S-Class in the coming months, and should also be offered on the GLC.

We know that under the body the GLC will be closely linked to the C-Class, as it is today, sharing the same MRA (Modular Rear Architecture) platform. The platform change is crucial for the introduction of more electrified models: Mercedes is likely to offer 48V mild-hybrid technology across most of the GLC range, while further PHEV options beyond the current 300e petrol and 300de diesel choices are expected. A range of four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel options are anticipated.

The MRA platform means the GLC, as before, should come with a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension system as standard. Optional will be an air-sprung set-up, while both rear- and four-wheel drive should be offered depending on variant. Further details will emerge later this year.

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