The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC has four powertrain configurations unique to each of the four trims. Only the base trim has the rear-wheel drive available aside from all-wheel drive. The hybrid powertrain uses a seven-speed automatic transmission while the rest have a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 is powered by a 2.0 liter turbocharged inline-4 engine producing 241 horsepower and 273 lb. ft. of torque. The GLC 350e is a hybrid of the aforementioned 2.0 liter engine and electric motors with a total output of 315 horsepower and 413 lb. ft. of torque. The AMG-badged models have more power under the hood and the starter Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 has a 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 producing 362 horsepower and 384 lb. ft. of torque. Next is the AMG GLC 63, which has a 4.0 liter turbocharged V8 producing 469 horsepower and 479 lb. ft. of torque. Even with the base four cylinder engine, there is more than enough oomph under the hood to overtake at speed without a hitch. It took 6.4 seconds to launch the SUV to 60 mph, a decent performance in the compact SUV segment. The turbo powerplant is tuned for responsiveness that bodes well in street use. As one of the smallest SUV bodies in Mercedes’ offerings, the GLC handled well for its size. It sure-footed through the turn and body roll is minimized with its fairly low stance. The steering is responsive but surprisingly light that almost seems disconnected from the pavement. A sportier driving mode however was the remedy and there is just the right amount of weight added. Braking from 60 mph took 116 feet, slightly more than the average in its class. Stopping power however did not feel lacking and although the pedal stroke is longer, it is easy to control in start-stop situations in busier streets.
The base GLC 300 trim comes standard with adaptive suspension damping, a power liftgate, rearview camera, power-folding mirrors (auto-dimming on driver side), automatic wipers, automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable steering wheel, power-adjustable driver seat with memory settings, power-folding rear seats, keyless ignition, Bluetooth, HD radio, two USB ports, mBrace Connect telematics, and infotainment system with 7-inch display and eight-speaker sound system. The GLC 350e trim is essentially the GLC 300 with the hybrid powertrain, with all the standard tech and features. Both the GLC 300 and GLC 350e have the Premium package available, which adds satellite radio, keyless entry, a 115-volt power outlet, and heated front seats. The top-of-the-line AMG GLC 63 trim then adds LED headlights, a 14-speaker Burmester sound system, and performance parts upgrades. There are packages can be added to any trim. The Driver Assistance package includes a plethora of advanced safety and driver aids. The Advanced Parking Assist package then adds more advanced safety and driver aids as well as a power liftgate. The Advanced Lighting package adds adaptive LED headlights and interior ambient lights and illuminated door sills. The Multimedia package includes navigation, touchpad controller, 8.4-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Single options are also available and they include an air purification system, heads-up display, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and various upscale interior and exterior appointments.
The 2018 model has been tested by the NHTSA and it earns a 5-star rating in the frontal crash test, a 5-star rating in the side crash test, and a 4-star rating in the rollover test. Overall, it attains a 5-star safety rating. The IIHS has also tested the 2018 model and it scores “Good” in crashworthiness and earns the highest marks in crash avoidance and mitigation. Overall, it attains a 2018 Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. Advanced safety and driver aids can be added through packages and they include blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, top-down park cameras, front and rear parking sensors, automated parking, and automatic high beams.
The 2018 model has a length of 183.3 inches, a height of 64.7 inches, a width of 74.4 inches, and a wheelbase of 113.1 inches. The 2018 did not receive visual changes from last year’s model. For this year, the GLC 350e and AMG GLC 63 are new additions to the lineup. The hybrid GLC has the same exterior as the GLC 300 but with a different vent for the radiator. Both the AMG-badged trims have different front fascia and wheels. The non AMG-badged trims start with 18-inch wheels and can go up to 19-inch wheels. While the AMG-badged ones start with 20-inch wheels and can go up to 21-inch wheels.
With a ride height that is lower than most of its competition, getting inside is simply a breeze that did not feel like mounting a tall vehicle. Headroom and legroom are generous for both rows of seats, despite being on the smaller size of SUVs that Mercedes’ offers. Entry through the rear passenger door could use more width however. There is seating up to five people onboard and the seats are supportive yet remain reasonably plush in longer trips on the road. Even the vinyl seats on the base trim feel high quality in its finish, and it can only get better when going for upscale materials. Ride quality is smooth and impact from road imperfections are absorbed well by the suspension. The smaller wheels and opting for the air suspension only contribute to a more comfortable ride. Noise is also blocked well from the cabin, allowing for the relaxed ambiance inside the cabin. The AMG GLC 43 trim builds on the GLC 300 along with its Premium package and adds a sport steering wheel and sportier air suspension.
Behind the second row of seats is 17.6 cu. ft. of space, and it expands to 56.6 cu. ft. when those seats are folded down.