The all-new 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC has made its debut, three years on from the arrival of the previous, X253-generation facelift. Following a year after the debut of the W206 C-Class – with which it shares its MRA2 underpinnings – the new GLC arrives with electrified powertrains throughout, bringing a mix of turbocharged four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines to proceedings.
In terms of physical size, the X254 GLC has grown in some dimensions and shrunk in some others; the new car measures 4,716 mm long (60 mm longer), 1,890 mm wide (unchanged), 1,640 mm tall (4 mm narrower), a wheelbase of 2,888 mm (15 mm longer), front track width of 1,627 mm (6 mm wider) and rear track width of 1,640 mm (23 mm wider).
Inside, the new GLC has front occupant headroom of 1,048 mm (16 mm less than that of the X253), 1,007 mm rear headroom (1 mm more), 1,036 mm of front legroom (1 mm less), and 950 mm of rear legroom (2 mm more). Front elbow room of 1,499 mm is the same as before, while rear elbow room gains 6 mm to 1,480 mm, while front and rear shoulder room gains 1 mm and 2 mm respectively. Luggage capacity with seats in place is 620 litres, or 70 litres more than before, or 1,640 litres with the rear seats folded.
As disclosed previously in its teaser, the new X254 GLC now gets 48-volt technology for its mild-hybrid variants, to go with the plug-in hybrids to make a GLC range that is now electrified in some form, across the board. This is now a line-up that is comprised of four mild-hybrid and three plug-in hybrid powertrains, spanning petrol and diesel internal combustion engines.
At launch, the line-up is comprised of the GLC200 4Matic, the GLC 300 4Matic, GLC 300e 4Matic and the GLC400e 4Matic for the petrol-fuelled range, while the diesels are the GLC220d 4Matic and the GLC300de 4Matic; all versions drive all four wheels via a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission.
Forming the base of the petrol mild-hybrid range is the GLC200 4Matic, powered by a 2.0 litre inline-four cylinder petrol engine producing 204 hp at 6,100 rpm and 320 Nm of torque from 2,000 rpm to 4,000 rpm. The additional boost from electric drive adds 23 hp and 200 Nm of torque. This does 0-100 km/h in 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 228 km/h.
Next is the GLC300 4Matic, which packs an uprated version of the engine with the same displacement, rated to produce 258 hp at 5,800 rpm and 400 Nm of torque from 2,000 rpm to 3,200 rpm. Similarly, boost from the integrated electric drive adds 23 hp and 200 Nm of torque. The GLC300 4Matic does 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds, and a top speed of 240 km/h.
Kicking off the petrol PHEV range is the GLC300e 4Matic, which takes the 2.0 litre turbo petrol four in the 204 hp/320 Nm state of tune and pairs it with a 136 hp/440 Nm electric motor to reach a total system output of 313 hp and 550 Nm of torque. This propels the GLC300e 4Matic from 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds and on to a maximum of 218 km/h; its electric mode top speed is 140 km/h, and has a WLTP-rated electric range of up to 120 km.
On the next rung up is the GLC400e 4Matic, which gets a more potent 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine with 252 hp and 400 Nm of torque, paired to an electric motor also with 136 hp and 440 Nm. Here, total system output is 381 hp and 650 Nm of torque, offering the largest peak horsepower figure of the X254 GLC at launch. Like the GLC300e, the GLC400e goes up to 140 km/h in electric mode and has an electric range of up to 120 km.
The first of two launch diesels is the GLC220d 4Matic, which packs a 1,993 cc inline-four turbodiesel engine producing 197 hp at 3,600 rpm and 440 Nm of torque from 1,800 rpm to 2,800 rpm. Here and as with the petrol mild-hybrids, electric boost offers an additional 23 hp and 200 Nm; 0-100 km/h is achieved in eight seconds and its top speed is 219 km/h.
The PHEV diesel variant of the range is the GLC300de 4Matic, which employs the same 2.0 litre turbodiesel with 197 hp and 440 Nm of torque, except with a more substantial set of electric motor outputs at 136 hp and 440 Nm. Combined, total system output for the GLC300de 4Matic is 335 hp and 750 Nm of torque.
The latter brings the largest torque figure of the X254 GLC’s launch variants, and help propel the GLC300de 4Matic through the 0-100 km/h acceleration benchmark in 6.4 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 217 km/h. Like its petrol PHEV rangemates, its electric top speed is 140 km/h, while this diesel PHEV gets up to 117 km of electric-only range on the WLTP cycle.
Aiding the efficiency cause is the X254 GLC’s drag coefficient of 0.29, or less than its predecessor’s Cd of 0.31. The key contributors to the new GLC’s improved aero includes an air control system with two levels, ideally positioned mirrors, the design of its roof spoiler and integrated side spoilers, side spoiler lips in the rear lights, optimised wheel spoilers, aero-optimised wheels and aero-optimised suspension lowering in the Eco drive mode.
The 48-volt technology that facilitates electrification also brings with it optional rear-wheel steering, which steers the rear wheels counter to the front wheels at up to 4.5 degrees to reduce its turning circle by 80 cm to 11 m, at speeds under 60 km/h. At this speed or more, the rear wheels steer with the fronts to aid high-speed stability.
Forming the basis of the X254 suspension is a new four-link setup in front and a multi-link independent setup at the back. Chassis options include the Engineering package, which mates Airmatic air suspension with the optional rear-wheel steering; plug-in hybrid variants of the new GLC have rear air suspension and level control as standard.
Also available optionally is the Offroad Engineering package, which brings an added 20 mm of ground clearance as well as additional underbody protection. For GLC variants specified in the AMG Line trim, sport suspension is applied.
Inside, the X254 GLC draws upon the design on the W206 C-Class that it is closely related to. The driver is provided key information by a free-standing 12.3-inch high-resolution LCD screen, and this is accompanied by a portrait-oriented 11.9-inch central infotainment touchscreen. Three audio setups are available for the X254 GLC: the standard five-speaker set, a nine-speaker advanced sound system, and a 15-speaker Burmester surround sound system.
The latest revision of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) interface in the X254 GLC now brings MBUX Augmented Reality as an option, which employs a forward-facing camera to log the surroundings in front of the vehicle, and the visual feed is displayed on the central infotainment screen.
Here, the Augmented Reality setup can superimpose virtual objects, information and markers such as traffic signs, directional arrows, lane change recommendations and house numbers; this aims to make navigation easier especially in urban areas, says Mercedes-Benz.
Also part of the setup is the MBUX Smart Home function, which can remotely control suitably equipped homes for temperature, lighting, shutters and other connected electrical appliances.
Joining the Parking packages with 360-degree camera is the “transparent bonnet”, and along with the functions of Active Parking Assist, is available as an option. The through-the-vehicle frontal view aims to help during slow manoeuvring, especially on rough terrain.
A colour head-up display can also be optioned, and this projects an image of around 23 cm by 8 cm at a visual distance of 3 m ahead of the vehicle’s bonnet, or equivalent to a 25-inch monitor.
The latest iteration of the Driving Assistance package bring updates to help further reduce the driver’s workload in day-to-day scenarios, says Mercedes-Benz. Active Distance Assist now can react to stationary vehicles on the road ahead when travelling at speeds of up to 100 km/h, up from 60 km/h previously.
Active Steering Assist also gains lane detection, which it now conducts with an additional 360-degree camera; this is advantageous at low speeds, such as when using an emergency lane. Traffic Sign Assist now recognises overhead gantry signage and roadworks in addition to conventional, posted speed limits.
This also now recognises conditional signs such as for wet conditions, while stop sign and red traffic light warning functions are new in the X254 GLC.
While LED High Performance headlamps are standard on the X254 GLC, the new SUV can be specified with Digital Light with projection function that offers not just greater visibility, but also helps to improve safety through offering projected visual prompts.
For instance, guiding lines, symbols and animations can be projected from the headlamp ensemble, and can also highlight pedestrians in a danger zone with spotlight function and adds projected direction points.
Further comfort features in the GLC include the optional Energizing Air Control, which monitors air quality within the vehicle interior using air quality and particle sensors. This will switch from external air to air recirculation mode if the system finds that limit values have been exceeded, while a two-stage filter additionally filters fine dust and “a large proportion of pollutants” from the air, according to the manufacturer.
The X254 Mercedes-Benz GLC will be produced in three locations – Bremen, where the GLC and its predecessors have been made since 2008, and in Beijing, China, where production is planned for commencement later this year. A third plant for the GLC has been added, and this will be in Sindelfingen.
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