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This week on Chasing Cars: Mercedes-Benz GLC unveiled, BMW M says no to EVs and GR Corolla gets serious


Welcome back to your weekly wrap up of car news and reviews, where we find all the best stories of the week and condense them down into one easy read

There is nothing I like to see more of in the car world than a ridiculous passion project that was clearly rubber-stamped while the accountants were tied up in the closet.

We’ve seen it on cars such as the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 and the Lexus LFA but this week it was the sensible suits at Toyota who decided to let loose and unveil the newest GR Corolla variant – a two-seat hatchback with… five doors? 

BMW unveiled the third-generation X1 this week – including the fully-electric iX1

And yet, despite creating a hatchback with coupe-levels of practicality, Toyota will have absolutely no problem selling any. But more on that in a bit.

In other news, we saw big names like the BMW X1 small SUV and Mercedes-Benz GLC launch a whole new generation, while Land Rover unveiled the eight-seat Defender 130.

With our image issues pretty much sorted, we were also able to bring you a whole host of reviews on cars such as the facelifted Volkswagen Polo GTI, Jeep Grand Cherokee L and much more.

Mercedes-Benz GLC unveiled

Being the most popular offering in the Mercedes-Benz range presents a challenge for the inbound second-generation GLC midsize SUV: how can it remain familiar to buyers without seeming outdated?

The 2023 GLC treads this fine line by maintaining its handsome design aesthetic while upgrading to the same re-engineered platform and interior treatment as the W206 C-Class sedan and wagon, with a huge centre touchscreen dominating the cabin.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 2023 AMG Line white
The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLC features hybrid engines across its lineup

Mercedes-Benz will offer the GLC exclusively with hybrid powertrain options, with its line-up of four-cylinder engines mated to either a 48-volt mild-hybrid set-up or a plug-in hybrid system with over 100km of driving range. 

Sadly, Australia won’t get the six-cylinder diesel offered in Europe – with even the inbound AMG version confirmed to harness a high-powered four-cylinder powertrain.

BMW M division not sold on EVs

The chief executive officer of BMW’s high-performance M division, Frank van Meel, has told Chasing Cars it’s “not possible” to create a fully-electric M car using the technology of today.

Meel said that while BMW has now released a number of M Performance cars, such as the i4 M50 sedan and iX M60 large SUV, a full-fat M car is another ordeal entirely.

BMW i4 M50 2022
BMW’s M division says it isn’t ready to make fully electric M cars just yet

A key sticking point of the division is the inability to run an electric performance car at race pace without being held back by short-range and long charging times. He also highlighted issues such as the weight of battery packs and how they integrate into the car.

While full-fat electrification may not be on the cards for now, Meel and his team are pursuing electric performance with the XM large SUV plug-in hybrid and other future M products.

Toyota’s two seat GR Corolla unveiled

This week Toyota decided to release that car that the engineers truly wanted to build in the first place – and it’s coming to Australia early in 2023.

A considerable amount of changes have been made to what is an already very fast hot hatch, including upping the engine outputs from the 1.6-litre turbo triple to 224kW/400Nm (a 30Nm boost) and swapped in more aggressive cogs for the first three gears of the six-speed manual transmission.

The rear seats have been gutted and in their place is about 3.3 metres of extra chassis bracing, a big old empty space for track tyres, and the soothing sensation that the kids will now have to catch the bus to school. 

No chance of those rear door hands getting worn out anytime soon hey?

Fatter 245mm-wide Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres have been fitted and there’s a set of heavily bolstered front bucket seats to keep you in place during the sideways antics. 

But how will Toyota sell such an oddball vehicle? Well, production will be “limited for the first year of production” which sounds very much like a special edition vehicle in disguise – watch this one become an appreciating asset on the second-hand market very soon. 

All the cars and SUVs we reviewed this week:

This week we published a smattering of written reviews for some incredibly popular cars. We’ve already published videos on a number of these and I’ve linked both versions below.

Kicking off this week was the big, bold and very American Jeep Grand Cherokee L which takes a big step forwards in terms of refinement and equipment levels as deputy editor Nathan Ponchard discovered. Read or watch our review here. 

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee L is a big beast that combines off-road capability combined with everyday luxury

When Volkswagen facelifted the Polo GTI and jacked up the price to $38,750 before on-road costs, there were a lot of concerned faces around the office. But this circa-$6000 increase hasn’t come without some stand-out benefits. Read or watch our review here. 

Ponch has learned a lot during the few months with his Mazda 3 Evolve SP hatch long-termer and recently discovered a number of quirks when driving it in challenging wet weather conditions.

The new-generation Lexus LX might seem like it faces an uphill battle riding on a full Toyota chassis and taking on premium rivals, but the end result is convincingly luxurious. However, editor Tom Baker did have some nitpicks with the ownership experience. Read or watch our review here. 

2022 Lexus RX 500h SUV blue - static front 3/4 shot
We think the new Lexus RX looks bloody gorgeous

Other car and SUV news we covered this week:

  • BMW unveiled the third-generation X1 small SUV which has grown bigger and bolder this time around. A completely refreshed cabin featuring a dual-screen display will serve as an attractive pitch to buyers – plus engineers say they have made it a lot better to drive.