It might not get as much attention as an all-electricEQ models, alithe redesigned 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLCit is certainly the most important new model of the German car manufacturer this year. The future might be electric, most people still live in the present with an internal combustion engine and a hybrid, and the GLC has been Mercedes-Benz's best-selling global model for two years now.
Redesigning such ordinary models is a high-stakes game, especially when the outgoing model is loved and has above-average performance. The first GLC, which replaced the angular GLK in 2016, was just that. Its combination of luxurious sturdiness, style and size has found favor with crossover-seeking luxury buyers. Covid-19 briefly slowed its momentum, but despite its age and the announcement of its replacement last summer, 2022 was the GLC's best-selling year in the US.
No musician wants to go on stageAfterAdele, and that's why Mercedes-Benz didn't rock the GLC ship in 2023. It's a complete redesign, not a refresh - the engine is more efficient, the safety tech is more sophisticated, there's a bit more room, a lot more screen space, and even some extra off-road capability - but the recipe for the GLC seems basically familiar.
That's no bad thing, because while the GLC still isn't the fastest or most extroverted compact luxury crossover, it seems to be the most luxurious vehicle in its class, and despite a recent (and vigorous) challenge fromTip GV70it still is. More excitement is also on the way, with AMG and Coupe GLC versions coming later this year, and plug-in hybrid versions (already offered in Europe) could finally arrive.
For now, there's only the standard (and best-selling) GLC 300, in either rear-wheel drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations. The GLC 300 still uses the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but it's all new and features the same mild-hybrid mill as last year's C 300, the GLC's counterpart in Mercedes-Benz's sedan lineup. Indeed, the GLC is keeping a close eye on updateslast year's class Cand has a similar interior and personality.
To see how the new GLC differs from the old and how it compares to similar machines, I spent several days and nearly 600 miles with the 2023 GLC 300 4Matic. From the streets of Manhattan to the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania, the GLC was completely carefree, more manageable , more elegant and efficient than ever.
Driving the Mercedes-Benz GLC 2023
At the heart of the new GLC is the "M 254" turbocharged four-cylinder engine. As inClass C, uses an integrated starter-generator that delivers 23 hp and 148 Nm of additional torque, and a twin-scroll turbocharger loosely related to the type used in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 cars. With a total of 255 hp and 295 lb-ft, you probably won't channel your inner Lewis Hamilton in the GLC 300, but that's not what most buyers are looking for here.
The integrated stop-start system, which helps to save fuel, can be slightly delayed at stop lights, but can be easily switched off.
With it off, it's just over 6 seconds to 60 mph (Mercedes-Benz says 6.2, which is consistent with what I've experienced). It's a quiet sprint, too, as the GLC has plenty of soundproofing and only a small amount of wind and road noise, even when driving on old motorway pavement. Whether it's quieter than the GV70 is an audiophile's dilemma, but it's certainly smooth and refined, and the nine-speed automatic transmission is well-matched to the engine.
The steering is heavy and precise, although there's quite a bit of lean when cornering, perhaps due to the nifty suspension that gives the GLC a relaxed ride. Perfectly absorbs bumps, even on large 20-inch wheels. In addition to the overall increase in dimensions, Mercedes also widened the front and rear tracks (by 0.3 and 0.9 inches, respectively), which helps it feel a little more stable.
Thanks to the 48-volt mild hybrid system, fuel economy is significantly improved. In more than 500 miles of combined driving, I saw 27.3 mpg. That's a big jump from the old GLC 300 4Matic's 23 mpg rating, and it also beats the X3's frugal 25 and comes close to the non-hybrid Lexus NX. There isn't yet a full hybrid to contend withLexus NX, but the GLC 300 can slide on electric power alone. When sliding, the stop-start function is much less noticeable than with a stop light.
Although few owners will drive their GLC off-road, the AWD 4Matic system is really capable of properly directing the power to where it needs to go.
It still doesn't have a lot of ground clearance, but the suspension is capable of handling the big-hitters, and best of all, the Surround View Monitoring system offers a camera view of the track with a clear mask for overcoming hard-to-see obstacles. This is particularly useful given the large domed bonnet, one of the many changes that make the GLC look impressively larger despite only growing slightly.
Bigger and thinner
Even at first glance, the GLC 2023 looks tougher than its predecessor, but it's also smoother.
"Aerodynamics was a major focus of the GLC's redesign," says Mercedes-Benz product manager Ashley Baird, and indeed the new GLC's drag coefficient is just 0.29, compared to the old one's 0.31. "The LED headlights also give it a wider and more aggressive stance." Indeed, it looks bigger thanks to 2.4 inches of extra length (all behind the rear wheels) and a slightly higher hood line.
The added size means only one real gain, and it doesn't apply to passenger space, but the GLC was already one of the most spacious SUVs in its class. Rear legroom is down 0.1 inches, but at 37.4 inches in the rear, the GLC still outshines rivals like the GV70 andJaguar F-Pace(37.2 inches each) iBMW X3(36.4). Cargo space behind the rear seats increases the usable 2.5 cubic feet to 21.9. It's still shy compared to the others, but passenger comfort is clearly the GLC's top priority.
And it's appropriate. After eleven rainy hours of hiking in Pennsylvania, a quiet, comfortable cocoon for the four-hour drive home is just what the doctor ordered. The GLC's front seats are well-shaped and supportive, and after a few hours the activation of seat kinetics helps keep fatigue at bay.
As you'd expect, the materials used in the cabin are first-class, and the design is almost entirely reminiscent of the C-Class, only with more space. While the color choices are more limited and subdued than on the Genesis, the optional GLC Ambiente lighting brings the interior to life at night. As the sun dimmed on the drive back from the Pennsylvania wilderness, the ambient lighting came to life, highlighting the fine details of the air vents, instrument panel surfaces, and speaker screens.
With the optional 15-speaker 710W Burmester 3D surround sound system, these speakers can also produce great sound. The smooth, unobtrusive nature of this SUV matches a Miles Davis recordKind of blueand every note is warm thanks to this system.
Technology versus complexity
Audio controls, like many other things, are now controlled via the screen and touch buttons, for better or for worse. The huge 11.9-inch C-Class tablet screen and 12.3-inch digital display for the driver have been fully carried over to the GLC. There are also touch controls on the steering wheel and an optional panoramic sunroof.
The screens, on the other hand, are gorgeous, and the automaker has made significant improvements to its MBUX infotainment system (taken from the C- and S-Class models), including a very responsive voice command system that's activated by saying "Hey Mercedes . The screens, with on the other hand, they can be a bit distracting at night, and the touch controls can be a bit finicky.
Mercedes-Benz has also upgraded the GLC's safety systems, though the top gear is still part of the optional driver assistance package ($1,700 on the C-Class and possibly as much on the GLC). These include adaptive cruise control with lane centering and stop-start, and new features such as automatic lane change. While it feels like more should be standard (as in Genesis), the systems are easy to use, detect problems quickly, and don't generate too many false positives.
Mercedes-Benz GLC 2023: when and how much?
First announced nearly a year ago and on sale in Europe for several months, US deliveries began this month and the cars are now arriving at dealerships. In fact, I spotted my first new GLC "in the wild" on Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania.
While we don't have full pricing on the options list, and the online DIY configurator won't be available for a few more weeks, the new GLC starts at $48,250, including a $1,150 destination charge. That's $4,650 more than last year's base model and more than most of its rivals, notably the GV70 2.5T ($44,275) orVolvo XC60(44 545 USD).
As with the C-Class, three trim levels will be available: base, Exclusive ($50,500) and top-of-the-line Pinnacle ($52,600). The Exclusive will get a big jump in equipment, including a Burmester stereo, navigation, improved ambient lighting and surround view monitoring. In all cases, adding 4Matic AWD will add $2000 to the bill.
Additional GLCs are expected later this year, including hot AMG and Coupe versions, but they too will be powered by four-cylinder engines instead of the former inline-six and V8 engines. There's no current timeline for a US PHEV, but with BMW and Volvo already in the game, a GLC plug-in seems inevitable.
Mercedes-Benz has kept almost everything customers loved about the old GLC and fixed a few of its weak points, so it looks set to continue to be a fan favorite.
Does Mercedes GLC have air suspension? ›
AIR BODY CONTROL
In addition, the suspension automatically adjusts to different vehicle loads. *Available as optional equipment on GLC 200 and 300.
All GLCs get adaptive suspension damping with comfort, sport and sport plus modes. AMG versions come standard with the Mercedes' new three-chamber air suspension. That new off-road mode comes with off-road-mode specific information in the new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User eXperience) infotainment system.Does GLC have driver assist? ›
Driving Assistance package
Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC. Active Speed Limit Assist*
Regardless of body style, the GLCs are motivated by a turbocharged four-cylinder, and it makes this SUV surprisingly quick. The 2021 GLC-class isn't as fun to drive as its sportier peers, but it is definitely one of the more luxurious options in its class.What suspension does GLC have? ›
The GLS-class easily hustles on twisty roads and is easy on bumps considering its size. All the models come standard with air suspension and have a new system called E-Active Body Control.What is Mercedes comfort suspension? ›
Comfort suspension with ride-height lowering
The comfort suspension offers you a dynamic overall package. It brings even better roadholding. The suspension has been lowered by 15 millimetres and works with specially tuned springs and dampers: sportier than the standard suspension by default.
Adaptive suspension, however, allows the driver, at the flick of a switch, to choose between a firm ride tuned for handling or a softer one suited to everyday driving over bumpy, potholed roads.What is the difference between adaptive and active air suspension? ›
While semi-adaptive suspensions only vary shock absorber firmness to match changing road or dynamic conditions, active suspensions use some type of actuator to raise and lower the chassis independently at each wheel.Is adaptive air suspension worth it? ›
Is adaptive suspension worth the cost? For those who have a long commute, drive frequently on bumpy roads, or just appreciate the feeling of a seamless drive, adaptive suspension can be well worth the price.What is the Mercedes driver assistance package? ›
Mercedes-Benz Driver Assistance Package Features:
Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC®: Maintains your preferred set speed, and adjusts your speeds automatically based on surrounding traffic conditions. Active Steering Assist: Centers your vehicle within the lane markers.
What is the most comfortable Mercedes to drive? ›
All versions of the current-generation E-Class come fitted with an adaptive damper suspension setup, which has multiple settings and allows the mid-size executive car to glide along the road in an unflappable manner when placed into its Comfort mode.
In a parallel, cars produced locally in China are tested so that they, too, achieve the high Mercedes-Benz quality standard. The results show: the next-generation GLC is able to defy ice and snow as well as extreme cold and can master even the most demanding test cycles.Does GLC hold its value? ›
A Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class will depreciate 62% after 5 years and have a 5 year resale value of $44,047.Why do the new Mercedes bounce? ›
The Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 is equipped with an off-road mode to help when you're tackling the trails. If you get stuck in uneven terrain, you can activate the Maybach SUV bounce mode to aid your escape. This mode uses the car's suspension to bounce the SUV up and down to jimmy you out of sticky off-roading situations.Is the Mercedes GLC quiet? ›
Noise comfort: At an even higher level, the GLC is a pleasantly quiet vehicle with a refined sound signature and very low road and wind noise.Does Mercedes have adaptive suspension? ›
The EQB has a comfort suspension with steel springs as standard. A suspension with Adaptive Damping System is available as an option. This offers the driver the possibility of selecting the damper characteristics on an individual basis via the driving program.What suspension makes car smoother? ›
An air suspension offers a number of advantages compared to conventional springs or struts. One is a smoother ride. Air is compressible while hydraulic fluid inside a shock absorber is not.Which suspension is best for comfort and handling? ›
An air suspension is one the most comfortable and load bearing suspensions which is why they are used on most top of the line luxury and sports cars. Due to their load bearing capacity they are also used on many trucks and buses.Is softer suspension better for handling? ›
A softer suspension will offer more mechanical grip as it will do a better job of keeping the tires on the ground vs a stiff suspension when it comes to depressions, bumps, and surface irregularities in the road.Does stiffer suspension mean better handling? ›
While stiffer suspension might increase driver sensitivity, improve handling response, and improve tire contact on smooth roads, conversely, it can decrease ride quality, handling performance, and grip on bumpy roads.
What suspension is best for performance? ›
Negative camber is typically ideal for performance driving as it keeps your tires upright and from turning outward when cornering. Having the proper balance of positive and negative camber for your vehicle will also help in conjunction with sway bars with oversteering and understeering.Is air suspension good for handling? ›
An air suspension system can also be adjusted for feel, so drivers can choose between a softer feel for highway cruising or a harder ride for improved handling on more demanding roads. In the case of hauling heavy loads, air suspension offers more consistency and keeps all wheels even.Does air suspension improve ride comfort? ›
One of the main benefits of air suspension cars is the improved comfort behind the wheel, making it good for daily driving. The adjustable air suspension makes for a more comfortable ride on poor quality roads and can improve control when off-roading.How do I know if I have adaptive suspension? ›
You can jack up the car and look at the shock. If there is a wire/connector on the side of the shock body, then you have adaptive suspension. You can also tell if the car gets stiffer when moving to sport mode.What is better suspension or air suspension? ›
The primary benefit is ride quality: Vehicles with air suspension are often said to “glide” over bumps, while traditional steel spring suspension can cause a harsher ride. Also, air suspension is often adjustable.Do air shocks give a smoother ride? ›
Ride Quality - Converting your shocks, struts, and coil springs to an air suspension setup allows for a better ride quality due to the design of the air shock. Air shocks make for a comfortable and softer ride quality that is leagues ahead of your factory suspension setup.How long does Mercedes air suspension last? ›
On average, an air suspension part should be replaced between 6 to 10 years or between 90.000 to 160.000 kilometers because the rubber will have dried out. Off-road use also influences how often the replacement should be done. Over this time, the rubber bladder dries out, and cracks appear around the bottom piston.Can you adjust air suspension while driving? ›
In short: yes. You can adjust air suspension while driving. Modern air suspension systems have various settings that allow the driver to manipulate them at any given time.Is the Mercedes driver assistance package worth it? ›
The Driver Assistance Package is a valuable investment for drivers who want to enjoy a safer and more convenient driving experience. This package offers a suite of advanced safety and convenience features designed to enhance the driving experience.What is the coffee cup on the Mercedes dashboard? ›
If ATTENTION ASSIST detects low attention, a coffee cup symbol appears on the dashboard and an audio signal sounds to suggest a break. It works at speeds of more than 60 kilometres per hour. It can be switched off or adjusted for sensitivity.
What triggers Mercedes attention assist? ›
While you are driving in Huntington Beach, ATTENTION ASSIST® identifies certain steering corrections that indicate drowsiness and fatigue. ATTENTION ASSIST® also considers external factors, including road conditions, crosswinds, and your interaction with vehicle controls.Do all Mercedes have driver assist? ›
Technologies like Active Brake Assist, ATTENTION ASSIST®, and Blind Spot Assist are standard on most Mercedes-Benz vehicles in today's lineup, and you might find even more standard features (like PRESAFE® or PARKTRONIC®) if you choose a model on the more expensive side of the lineup.What is speed sensitive steering on Mercedes? ›
Speed-sensitive power steering provides variable power assist dependent on speed. At high speeds the servo assistance is reduced; at lower speeds it is continually increased.What is the difference between Distronic and Distronic Plus? ›
Distronic and Distronic Plus
The primary difference between the two is the ability to handle stop-and-go traffic. When using Active Distance Assist, Distronic Plus can automatically stop and then start again if traffic begins moving within three seconds.
Pushing the button (ignition must be on) will show driver safety features active on the car. If there is no “driver assist” button then it is possible that the is no collision avoidance at all.What is included in a driver assist package? ›
Drowsiness detection. Lane departure detection. Adaptive cruise control. Anti-lock braking systems.What perks do Mercedes staff get? ›
- Company pension plan. Financial security in the future. ...
- Profit-sharing. You also get to share in the success of Mercedes-AMG. ...
- Free teamwear. Sporting the logo with pride.
Mercedes-Benz AIRMATIC® suspension can be found as standard equipment on the following models: CLS Coupe. S-Class. S-Class Maybach.Which Mercedes SUV has air suspension? ›
An air suspension comes standard on the GLS and GLE and it also allows for adjustment of individual wheel ride heights.Does Mercedes have air ride suspension? ›
Airmatic first appeared in 1999 in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and it has made its way into other models in the years since.
How long does air suspension last in Mercedes? ›
On average, an air suspension part should be replaced between 6 to 10 years or between 90.000 to 160.000 kilometers because the rubber will have dried out. Off-road use also influences how often the replacement should be done. Over this time, the rubber bladder dries out, and cracks appear around the bottom piston.Is Mercedes AIRMATIC suspension worth it? ›
Most drivers agree that the experience of driving with self-leveling AIRMATIC suspension is far better than with standard coils. AIRMATIC allows you to raise your ground clearance when necessary, like running into a snowdrift or a gnarly speed bump.Does GLC AMG have air suspension? ›
They're not, but their engines, steering knuckles, and (in the case of the GLC) air suspension all benefit from AMG tuning. The result is a car that has hints of AMG, but doesn't offer the full madness of its "63" models.How do I know if my Mercedes has AIRMATIC suspension? ›
The easiest way to find out if a Mercedes-Benz has AirMatic or ABC suspension is to look at the suspension button on the dashboard that changes the suspension dynamics. If the button says ABC or ABC sport, that vehicle has an ABC suspension.What are the benefits of AIRMATIC suspension? ›
Air suspension reduces the tendency of short wheelbase trucks to bounce over rougher roads and terrain when the vehicle is empty. Air suspension improves the ride height based on the load weight and a vehicle's speed. Higher corner speeds due to air suspension being better suited to the surface of the road.Does air suspension give a smooth ride? ›
An air suspension offers a number of advantages compared to conventional springs or struts. One is a smoother ride. Air is compressible while hydraulic fluid inside a shock absorber is not.Does air suspension make ride more comfortable? ›
One of the main benefits of air suspension cars is the improved comfort behind the wheel, making it good for daily driving. The adjustable air suspension makes for a more comfortable ride on poor quality roads and can improve control when off-roading.Does air suspension ruin ride quality? ›
Ride Quality - Converting your shocks, struts, and coil springs to an air suspension setup allows for a better ride quality due to the design of the air shock. Air shocks make for a comfortable and softer ride quality that is leagues ahead of your factory suspension setup.Can you drive fast with air suspension? ›
Yes. You can go fast on air suspension, but it will have limitations regarding extreme motorsport events. Many enthusiasts and professional racers use air suspension on their race cars with great success.Why do luxury cars use air suspension? ›
Some luxury cars use air suspension to improve ride comfort, smoothing out imperfections and swallowing potholes so passengers aren't disturbed. Tesla's Model S and Model X use an air suspension, and it can automatically adjust the car's ride height based on location.