FOR the past few days I've been enjoying the comforts - and the conversation - of a Mercedes-Benz GLC.
And no I'm not losing the plot. This really is a car you can have a conversation with, and not just about it‘s onboard features.
It's something I have encountered before but the new GLC comes with the latest generation of MBUX - Mercedes-Benz User Experience multimedia system - and that means even more intelligent voice control features.
At the end of an evening out I happened to, tongue in cheek, say "goodnight Mercedes" and got the unexpected reply "have a good one".
And while it might seem a bit gimmicky there is a serious safety aspect to the system as you can tell the car to set a destination in the navigation system, change radio stations, alter the temperature or even re-dial the last telephone number you called and all without having to take your eyes off the road.
The fact that you can also ask for the following day's weather forecast or the temperature at your forthcoming holiday destination is a quirky bonus.
The latest version of the GLC - a car first introduced in 2015 - has brought an even more muscular look to an already macho looking model thanks to visually stronger creases in the metal, double louvered grille and new standard-fit, heavily raked LED High-Performance headlamps with the torch-design daytime running lights.
Changes at the rear include completely revised bumper, exhaust tips and full LED tail lamps with a new, distinctive Mercedes-Benz light signature.
Inside it's typically Mercedes with crystal clear dials, large chunky leather seats, a predominantly black colour scheme but tastefully broken up by brushed aluminium highlights.
There's a dashboard mounted touch screen for accessing on-board features and a classy looking centre console in a piano black gloss finish with three of the five dashboard air vents dominating it. Interior space is generous even for five people.
It's powered by a 194bhp, 2.0-litre diesel engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission with column change which delivers an abundance of torque to make light work of pulling such a large car.
You can liven up the performance when the mood takes you by selecting Sport on the multiple driving mode system (there's also eco, comfort and individual settings) as well as using the paddles behind the steering wheel for hands-on gear changing.
But the beauty of this car is the refined manner in which it delivers its power, with barely any hint of diesel noise entering the cabin.
A powered tailgate gives access to 550 litres of luggage space rising to a hefty 1,600 with the rear seatbacks down.
As you would expect of Mercedes the GLC is packed with a host of safety features including Active Distance Assist, Active Steer Assist and Active Brake Assist - the latter of which I can personally confirm works well after a taxi shot out in front of me and the GLC virtually stood on its nose as it automatically hit the brakes.
And reversing is easy thanks to a boot mounted camera which cleverly retracts when not in use to keep the lens clean.
Add to all that Mercedes' four-wheel-drive 4MATIC system and you really do have a car that delivers on all fronts.