2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC
A Luxurious Compact SUV With Nothing Entry Level About It
The Mercedes-Benz GLC is a relative newcomer to the compact luxury crossover scene, arriving in 2016 as a more modern and stylish replacement of the boxy and bulky GLK utility. And now that it’s on to a 2nd generation it appears to be really hitting its stride. So, let’s see if we can keep pace with an all-new GLC.
Trying to keep up with all the new SUVs these days has become a full-time job. But around here we’re not afraid to put in the work, and by work we mean driving this 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 for a couple of weeks so we can tell you all about it.
If your first impression is this 5-passenger utility looks bigger than before, you’re right, 2.4-inches longer but on the same 113.1-inch wheelbase. Most of that added length dedicated to the rear, making the proportions a bit more SUV-looking, but more importantly adding significantly to cargo space. It’s up 2.5-cubic-ft. over last year to 21.9, and a max of 56.3 cubic-ft. with the 40/20/40 split rear seatbacks folded. All accessed through a standard power liftgate.
Up front, headlights are slimmer than before and now connect directly to the wide grille which features a very prominent Mercedes logo with sidebars. 18-inch wheels are standard, 19s and 20s available. Things are much more of a departure inside; it doesn’t feel any more spacious, but materials are softer and more luxurious, and the overall vibe more elegant, with flowing natural grain walnut wood dash trim and lots of content even in our mid-level Exclusive outfitted tester.
And certainly, more high-tech looking with an 11.9-inch MBUX central touchscreen straight from the flagship S-class. Behind that wheel is a tablet-style 12.3 digital display for instrumentation with options for Sporty, Classic, or Understated themes, plus further customization from there.
Powertrain freshness comes in the form of a 2.0-liter I4 turbo with a new 48-volt mild-hybrid system adding a bit of additional torque, but primarily in place to boost efficiency and smooth out the operation of the stop/start system. Output is 255-horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. Being based on the C-class sedan means rear-wheel-drive is standard, with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive available; both working through a 9-speed automatic. At the test track, our 4MATIC tester delivered a nice kick of power off the line, pushing us to 60 in 5.9-seconds.
Gear changes were not quite as smooth as the typical Mercedes-Benz, but they were quick and kept the power flowing throughout the 14.4-second ¼-mile which we finished at 97 miles-per-hour. It felt quite smooth and very stable at high speeds too, while light and nimble at slower speeds through our handling course. There was a fair amount of body roll, and we’d definitely appreciate some additional feedback from the vehicle; but as long as we kept steering inputs more fluid than aggressive, the GLC was plenty capable for a compact SUV marketed strictly on its luxury merits, not as a performance vehicle.
Like most Mercedes vehicles, the GLC is available in Premium, Exclusive and Pinnacle versions, which are more themes than trim levels, as all are well equipped and priced relatively close, starting at $48,250 for Premium, and topping out at $52,700 for Pinnacle. 4MATIC all-wheel-drive is an additional 2-grand.
So yes, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 is indeed bigger than before, but more importantly it’s also vastly better. Last gen saw a major departure for the exterior, and for this gen, the interior has caught up, as here, Mercedes-Benz has managed to deliver flagship levels of luxury in an already worthy compact SUV.
- Engine: 2.0-liter I-4 Turbo
- Horsepower: 255
- 0-60 mph: 5.9-seconds
- 60-0 Braking (avg): 109 feet
- MW Fuel Economy: 27.7 MPG (Premium)
- Transmission: 9-speed automatic
- Torque: 295 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 14.4-seconds at 97 mph
- EPA: 23 City / 31 Highway / 26 Combined