The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is in a great place. This tall-sided C-Class analogue finds itself in a market that is hungry for high quality luxurious autos and much more hungry for crossovers, and its gross sales have grown steadily since its debut in late 2015.

5-ish years is a very long time to attend for a midcycle refresh, however on this occasion, time is irrelevant. The GLC was a very good SUV from the beginning, and now, it is even higher due to some clutch updates that can greater than sustain with the Joneses when it hits the US later this yr.

The GLC blends in a lot better than its forebear, the block-bodied GLK — till you progress as much as the AMG mannequin, by which case it stands out like the perfect sort of sore thumb.

Mercedes-Benz

What’s new with you?

Refreshes might be all around the map, and the GLC’s modifications err extra towards gentle than wild. Model-wise, the SUV provides a bit extra character by the use of svelte headlights, a brand new grille and tweaks to the entrance and rear bumpers. It nonetheless toes the get together line, although, carrying quite a few aesthetic touches which are paying homage to different new Mercedes SUVs just like the GLE-Class — and that features each the normal long-roof GLC-Class SUV and the sportier, rakish fastback of the Coupe variant. It would not look too completely different, however that is positive, as a result of the automotive was a lot good-looking to start with. LED headlights and taillights at the moment are normal, too.

The modifications proceed inside the place, once more, not a lot has modified. There is a new steering wheel nicked from different Mercs that provides touchpads for each thumbs, and it strikes the cruise-control and driver-assist capabilities from a stalk to a extra distinguished (and simpler to entry) cluster of switches on the left aspect of the wheel. The overall vibe hasn’t shifted an excessive amount of, although — it is nonetheless a snug, elegant place to be, whether or not the dashboard is roofed in supple leather-based (GLC63) or a cheaper, extra sturdy materials (GLC300).

Spec your GLC the precise manner, and you will be staring down two completely different screens: a 12.Three-inch digital instrument cluster that replaces the gauge cluster, and a 10.25-inch display “floating” atop the middle console. Probably the most main a part of the GLC’s refresh lives there; MBUX, Mercedes-Benz’s newest infotainment system, builds upon the previous COMAND telematics setup by including brisker graphics, higher responsiveness and a digital assistant that springs to life each time it hears, “Hey, Mercedes.” MBUX could be very, superb, however the one drawback is the voice recognition typically tends to kick in each time it hears “Mercedes” with out the “Hey,” resulting in awkward shouts of “Cancel!” each time I attempted to speak in regards to the automotive or the automaker whereas seated within the cabin.

MBUX is likely one of the finest new luxury-car infotainment techniques available on the market, up there with Audi’s MMI Contact Response.

Mercedes-Benz

GLC300: The lots rejoice

The GLC300 is accessible in each rear- and all-wheel drive configurations, however the engine below the hood is similar it doesn’t matter what. The SUV’s 2.Zero-liter inline-Four places out 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, enhancements of 14 and Zero, respectively, over the pre-refresh GLC. A nine-speed computerized transmission is the one cog-swapper on supply.

My time with the GLC300 is spent on sinewy forest roads round Frankfurt, Germany. The revised powertrain provides up loads of usable around-town torque, though a few of that comes from the EQ Increase 48-volt gentle hybrid system that is obtainable on European GLC300 fashions, however not US-spec variants, which is a disgrace, as a result of that little little bit of electrification does go a great distance. On unrestricted parts of the autobahn, this twee engine has no drawback hanging out at increased speeds for prolonged stretches of time, nevertheless it does take a little bit of effort to get there; that is an engine that likes to reside in a extra environment friendly a part of the rev vary. It’s going to be greater than sufficient engine for a majority of the SUV’s audience.

My tester is provided with non-obligatory air suspension, and hoo boy, it makes for fairly the chilliness existence. Whether or not tough or clean, the street’s annoyances are all however eradicated, leaving the cabin feeling like a pillow floating down the street. It is not so smooth that it feels floaty or in any other case aloof, nevertheless it’s probably the greatest rides I’ve skilled on this phase.

Like earlier than, the GLC300 is accessible in each normal SUV and the fastback Coupe variants, with the latter commanding a bit extra money for trend whereas consuming into cargo house. On a drive across the Frankfurt space, the one GLC300 variant on supply was the “common” one, which I favor. Not solely does it maintain that conventional long-roof form, it provides superior rearward visibility and barely extra cargo house, which is clutch for lengthy journeys with associates or household. The extra rear-seat headroom is a boon for my 6-foot body, too.

Fashionable SUVs won’t all the time have ruggedness in thoughts, however the GLC300 packs a stunning quantity of functionality off the crushed path. Mercedes-Benz put collectively a fairly difficult off-road course, and even with the inventory all-season tires outfitted, the GLC proved extra succesful than most consumers will ever want. Geared up with the non-obligatory off-road bundle and air suspension, the ute will present as much as 9.6 inches of journey peak, though increased suspension ranges are restricted to speeds below about 12 miles per hour. It may well deal with 35-degree banks and 70% grades, competently crawling by means of grime and dust at angles that left me questioning if at the moment can be the day I lastly tip over a utility automobile. For a little bit of gamification, MBUX provides a particular off-road display that exhibits particular person wheel articulation, slope and tilt angles and throttle place. Suffice it to say, it is greater than most consumers will ever want.

GLC63: Dopamine dispenser

For individuals who favor their luxurious with an added kick to the enamel, there’s the Mercedes-AMG GLC63. This dangerous boy is obtainable in two flavors. The usual GLC63 rocks a Four.Zero-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, good for 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, and it is obtainable in each SUV and Coupe variants. The Coupe will get an additional tier of oomph, nevertheless, by the use of the GLC63 S, which bumps output to a meaty 503 hp and 516 lb-ft. Each variants look considerably extra aggressive, and Coupe variants come outfitted with a foolish rear spoiler that appears just like the automotive equal of a flat-bill baseball cap with the sticker nonetheless on it.

The timber are loads blurrier behind the wheel of this one. The overall really feel is similar because the GLC300, as a result of it is nonetheless the identical SUV beneath, however the sense of urgency is a lot increased. Its nine-speed transmission makes use of a number of clutches as an alternative of a torque converter, and whereas it is a bit clunkier at low speeds, the shifts are fast and painless at velocity, including numbers to the speedometer in a trend often reserved for low, lithe sports activities automobiles.

Adjustability is the secret on the GLC63. Whereas the standard buttons to regulate suspension, transmission and engine traits hang around close to the touchpad on the middle console, there’s additionally a pair of intelligent little dials on the steering wheel that provide simpler entry to this configurability whereas driving — consider it just like the “manettino” on Ferrari’s automobiles, however with screens inside every pod. The usual air suspension is finest left in its most comfy mode, absorbing an honest quantity of street nastiness regardless of low-profile tires and large ol’ alloy wheels, however the engine might be turned as much as Sport or Sport+ with none detriment to livability. An energetic exhaust system can also be normal, and heaven make it easier to if you happen to do not go away the pipes uncorked as typically as attainable; the sound is simply too good to muffle.

Whereas my GLC300 tester rocked the “normal” SUV form, the GLC63 S I drove got here within the shapelier Coupe variant. Including that additional trend has few downsides: There’s nonetheless ample headroom within the second row for a 6-foot-tall passenger, and the marginally smaller cargo space will not even be seen except you are frequently stuffing the factor to the gills. Rearward visibility, or the shortage thereof, is a small sticking level, however that is about it. If you need the full-fat AMG S variant, you are going to have to love the fastback.

Right down to brass tacks

The 2020 GLC begins out comparatively inexpensive, however as all the time, issues can get uncontrolled in a rush. The GLC300 begins at $43,495 (together with vacation spot) for rear-wheel drive, and including two extra pushed wheels solely provides $2,000 to the underside line. The GLC Coupe is a smidge costlier at $50,995, however AWD can also be normal there. The Mercedes-AMG GLC63, alternatively, is way dearer at $74,745 for the SUV and $77,495 for the Coupe. The entire-hog GLC63 S Coupe will set you again a whopping $85,095.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC’s phase is thick with high quality competitors, whether or not it is the BMW X3 and X4, the Audi Q5 or the Volvo XC60. The Merc has been in a knock-down, drag-out battle for the highest spot, and whereas its opponents do supply strong blends of luxurious and sport, none do it in addition to the GLC-Class. With these modifications for the 2020 mannequin yr, it is more durable than ever to advocate the rest.

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