By Matthew Askari

he 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC is an all-new luxury crossover that replaces Benz’s compact GLK. We’re driving it right now, and will have a full first drive soon. But before this, we were granted some early access on a drive from Lithuania to Latvia – just enough to form some initial impressions.

As part of Mercedes‘ expansion with new models (and old models taking on new names) the GLC will no longer be the entry-level CUV for Mercedes – that title has been assumed by the GLA crossover. The GLC moves up not only in the hierarchical range, but grows 4.6 inches in the wheelbase, and is more roomy overall. Most evident, the GLC gets completely new styling, something that is immediately clear upon first glance. Mercedes says the 2016 GLC represents the future design direction for all its SUVs. Continuing the “Sensual Purity” design language of the new S-Class and C-Class, our Euro-spec GLC prototype is curvier, cleaner, and more modern than the more rugged-looking GLK. Mercedes says the US will have standard front and rear bumpers optimized for off-road use, with a 28-degree approach and departure angles for all variants.

Despite boasting four doors, the GLC has a coupe-like silhouette. Our model’s LED headlights, chrome-finished dual exhaust pipes, and large wheels (up to 20-inches) add to this sporty aesthetic. The real story however, is on the inside, where the GLC mimics the striking interior of the C-Class. Based on our model’s open-pore wood, flowing center console, and brushed metallic and piano-black finishes the GLC boasts the nicest interior in the class.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC250 Quick Spin originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 13 Jul 2015 18:01:00 EST.