The compact luxury SUV class is about as competitive as they come, and the GLC-Class is Mercedes-Benz's segment-challenger. As with the BMW X3/X4 and Audi Q5, Mercedes offers the GLC in two body styles: a conventional two-box SUV and a sloping-roof coupe-like SUV. Mercedes introduced the GLC as a new model for 2016 and gave it a midcycle facelift for the 2020 model year.
Among the automaker's SUVs, the GLC is positioned above the GLA- and GLB-Class but below the GLE and the GLS flagship. The GLC's closest competitors are the BMW X3, Volvo XC60, and Audi Q5.
Although the GLC-Class is not our highest ranked luxury compact SUV, its eager performance and luxurious cabin make for a balanced, likeable package. It was good enough to take home SUV of the Year in 2017 when new. In our First Drive of the refreshed 2020 GLC 300, we remarked at the base engine's impressive acceleration, but ride quality feels busy even on well-maintained road surfaces, and the turbo-four sounds a bit coarse.
Even if the ride isn't comfortable, the cabin is cushy, quiet, and elegantly appointed. The design of the exterior sheetmetal is handsome as well. Back inside, we're not the biggest fans of the overly complex MBUX infotainment system, but at least the GLC is well-equipped even at the lower end of its offerings.
Opt for the V-8 GLC 63, and you'll be treated to awesome performance and imposing stance. From AMG to plug-in hybrid, the range covered by this lineup is one of the GLC's major strengths. It's a well-rounded luxury SUV that won't disappoint; we have no hesitation recommending it.
Mercedes offers a host of engine options for its compact SUV. Whether you're after an affordable four-cylinder, an efficient plug-in hybrid, a balanced sport machine, or an all-out bruiser, there's a GLC that fits the bill. All variants utilize nine-speed automatic transmissions and AWD except the base GLC 300 SUV, which comes standard with RWD.
Trim: GLC 300
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Horsepower: 255 hp
Torque: 273 lb-ft
Fuel economy (city/highway): 21-22/28-29 mpg
Performance (0-60 mph): 5.4 seconds
Trim: GLC 350e (standard SUV only)
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder plug-in hybrid
Horsepower: 315 hp
Torque: 516 lb-ft
Fuel economy (combined): 68 mpg-e (elec+gas); 25 mpg (gas)
Electric range: 22 miles
Performance (0-60 mph): 6.2 seconds (mfr. estimate)
Trim: GLC 43
Engine: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6
Horsepower: 385 hp
Torque: 384 lb-ft
Fuel economy (city/highway): 18/24 mpg
Performance (0-60 mph): 4.6 seconds
Trims: GLC 63, GLC 63 S (coupe only)
Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8
Horsepower: 469-503 hp
Torque: 479-516 lb-ft
Fuel economy (city/highway): 16/22 mpg
Performance (0-60 mph): 3.2 seconds
The GLC is among the safest SUVs you can buy. In IIHS safety testing, it earns flawless crashworthiness ratings and a Superior score for the optional front crash prevention system. Although the standard headlights receive the lowest possible rating of Poor, models equipped with the Exterior Lighting package get the highest possible rating: Good. With the front crash prevention system and better headlights, the GLC is a 2020 Top Safety Pick. The Mercedes also earns a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.
Standard driver-assist equipment includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and driver attention assist. If you go for the optional Driver Assistance package, you'll add adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane change assist, enhanced auto emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear auto braking.
Both the GLC SUV and GLC coupe seat five passengers, but interior space depends on the body style. The SUV offers 19.4 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the rear seat and 56.5 with the seats folded down; in the coupe, those numbers shrink slightly to 17.7 and 49.4 cubic feet.
Legroom is almost identical at 40.8 inches front and 37.3/37.2 inches in both GLCs. Headroom is where you'll notice the biggest difference. GLC coupes have 1.1 inches more headroom up front and 0.2 inch less headroom in the back.
Every GLC features a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system running the Mercedes-Benz MBUX interface. It does not offer the dual-display setup familiar across the rest of the Mercedes range, though a 12.3-inch instrument cluster display is available as an option. Integrated navigation and 13-speaker Burmester audio are included on higher trims.