Think Mercedes-Benz and you probably think of the S-Class or G-Class as the brand's most iconic models. But in the modern era, while those halos are arguably still important, the bread-and-butter that makes up the bulk of the manufacturer's mainstream sales will come from this, the all-new 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV. While Mercedes has been in the compact luxury SUV segment since 2008 with the GLK, the 2023 model is only the second generation of the GLC-Class moniker, once again battling the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. Using the second-gen Mercedes MRA (Modular Rear Architecture) platform shared with other new Mercs like the C-Class and S-Class, the GLC is an evolution of what came before, not just mechanically but visually too. Now designated the 'X 254', it's bigger, more refined, and more tech-filled than ever before, but also, for the first time, only available as a hybrid and with no six- or eight-cylinder engines coming, even in AMG derivatives.
See trim levels and configurations:
|GLC 300 4MATIC SUV||
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
First revealed at the beginning on June 2022, the release date for the Mercedes GLC-Class in the USA is expected to be the fourth quarter of 2022 when it will land in dealerships as a 2023 model.
The price of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV has not yet been determined. However, we can expect an MSRP close to what the current model is on sale for. The C-Class sedan saw a $1,950 price increase from one generation to the next, so we can expect a similar price bump. Based on 2022 pricing data, the 2023 GLC 300 should start at around $45,800 while the 4Matic-equipped AWD version will cost around $47,800.
In a bid not to offend existing customers, auto manufacturers prefer the evolutionary design approach, as is the case with the exterior of the new Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV. Mercedes calls its design language "Sensual Purity" but we call it playing it safe. Inheriting the refined traits from the new C-Class, the new LED headlight design is almost entirely separate from the new grille, save for a slim point of contact from the DRLs. The grille itself differs depending on visual packages, with the star-pattern grille standard on the AMG Line. This also gets sportier front fascias with prominent air curtains and black accents. The Night package changes all chrome accents to black and running boards for easy entry are optionally available. Within the wheel arches, a selection of 18-, 19- and 20-inch wheels are available. At the rear, a new taillight design is reminiscent of that found on the EQ models.
Paint colors for the Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV have not yet been confirmed for the US market, but we doubt Merc will stray too far from tradition here, so expect a range of greys, silvers, whites, and blacks, with the brightest offering likely to be a blue of some sort. We wouldn't rule out the possibility of a few matte or satin finish paints either under the Manufaktur banner, as those seem to be popular.
The dimensions of the Mercedes GLC have grown in some aspects and shrunk in others. The wheelbase is 0.6 inches longer at 113.7 inches while the overall length sees the biggest enhancement at 185.7 inches - 2.4 longer than the outgoing model. The new GLC is the same width excluding mirrors at 74.4 inches, but with mirrors is 0.8 inches narrower than before. At 64.6 inches tall, it's a tenth of an inch shorter. A curb weight has not been confirmed, but with hybrid powertrains now standard, we expect a slight increase over the existing model's 3,781 lbs in base form.
Mercedes is quickly getting rid of high displacement engines with even the famed V8 going the way of the dodo in its smaller AMG models. The compromise means that all GLC models are hybrid. Whichever trim you opt for, the engine in the Mercedes GLC is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder developing 258 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque - improvements of 3 hp and 40 lb-ft over the previous generation. But a 48-volt mild-hybrid system with an integrated starter generator (ISG) adds a further 23 hp and 148 lb-ft. Power is routed via a nine-speed automatic gearbox to either the rear wheels in standard GLC 300 form or to all corners in the GLC 300 4Matic with all-wheel drive. Regardless of which drivetrain you choose, 0-60 mph takes 6.2 seconds and the top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph.
A plug-in hybrid has also been revealed, but it will not be coming to America at this point in time.
Mercedes has gone to great lengths to explain that the new GLC is more efficient than before with a 0.29 coefficient of drag down from 0.31 previously, clever packaging, electronically controlled grille louvers, and a slew of other systems to improve efficiency, but there are no fuel economy claims just yet. For reference, the model it replaces achieves EPA gas mileage estimates of 22/27/24 mpg city/highway/combined in RWD form and 21/28/24 with AWD. The new ISG enhances the car's ability to glide under light throttle loads and should see figures for the 2023 model improve.
Still instantly recognizable as a Mercedes product, the interior of the Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV has evolved substantially from what it was before. Inheriting the central portrait-orientation screen from the S-Class and new AMG SL, this one measures 11.9 inches across and utilizes touch, steering wheel controls on a new five-spoke steering wheel, and voice controls. MBUX software is standard with full smartphone integration, over-the-air updates, and live news feeds. The standard speaker count is a somewhat paltry four midrange items and a front bass woofer, but a 15-speaker Burmester system can be selected with 710 watts of auditory punch.
The digitalization continues ahead of the driver with a floating 12.3-inch customizable display, which can be further augmented by an optional 9x3-inch head-up display (roughly equivalent to a 25-inch monitor). That floating connotation continues with floating armrests on the doors, housing new controls. Soft-touch materials abound with Mercedes' MB-Tex synthetic leather scattered about the interior.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV seats five occupants with a new design for the seats, which are upholstered by default in MB-Tex but are bound to be offered in leather as an option. Blacks, browns, and greys are all likely to feature, as will the vivid black/red combo displayed at launch.
The dash, door, and center console inlays can be had in open-pore wood in either black or brown finish or genuine aluminum inlays. The standard specification has been improved with heated front seats, wireless device charging, 64-color ambient lighting, and more added to the standard spec list.
Despite larger exterior proportions, Mercedes has opted to trim the headroom in favor of adding more legroom. Headroom is reduced by 0.6 inches up front but increases slightly in the rear for a maximum of 41.3 and 39.65 inches, respectively. Legroom, however, increases in the rear to 37.4 inches, while the driver loses a tenth of an inch. Shoulder and elbow room have improved by a few tenths of an inch.
The biggest improvement can be found behind the second row where cargo space swells by 2.5 cubic feet compared to the old model and now measures 21.9 cubic feet. The standard 40/20/40-split rear seats can be folded to increase luggage space further, with these backrests adjustable by up to 10 degrees for improved packaging and capable of being remotely flattened via controls in the trunk. The tailgate itself is Mercedes' Easy-Pack item with hands-free power opening and closing.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV: