Competes with: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Volvo XC60
Looks like: The previous GLC got a haircut and a new shirt
Drivetrain: 255-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 273 pounds-feet of torque; nine-speed automatic transmission; rear- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Late 2019
Mercedes-Benz will introduce a redesigned 2020 GLC300 at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, though you can be forgiven for not knowing that just by looking at it; from the outside, changes are pretty hard to spot. However, when you dig a little deeper, there are very substantive changes under the sheet metal that make the GLC more appealing.
The GLC was introduced as a 2016 model to replace the outgoing GLK, and this is its first major update since then. We should also note that the changes listed apply only to the GLC SUV; the sportier GLC coupe does not get the same updates (though our guess is that it’s only a matter of time).
Exterior updates are very subtle, especially by redesign standards. The GLC still has a pair of strong character lines that run down the side of the SUV and side glass that pinches down into a point at the rear; in profile, it looks virtually identical. The easiest way to tell the new GLC apart will be its updated headlights and taillights, which have added detailing and new shaping. Mercedes also notes that new wheel designs range from 18 to 20 inches and a Selenite Gray Magno paint job is offered on the GLC for the first time.
Mercedes will also offer an AMG-inspired exterior package that swaps in a chrome diamond-block grille, a more aggressive front bumper and angular exhaust tips.
This is where things get more exciting for the GLC. While the overall layout of the dashboard looks the same, some key additions arrive on the technology front, starting with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, multimedia system. The system can be controlled in three ways: via the touchscreen, the controller on the center console between the front seats or via two touch-control buttons found on the steering wheel.
My experience with this system has been quite positive once I got over an initial hump of figuring out which of the controllers I prefer to use in different circumstances. A 10.25-inch touchscreen is standard, with a 12.3-inch screen in the instrument panel as an option. The system includes standard voice control with natural language understanding that is started up by saying, “Hey, Mercedes.” Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also included.
The MBUX system can be augmented by two additional features that are new for 2020 on the GLC: MBUX Interior Assistant, which adds gesture control (a la BMW), and augmented video for navigation. The augmented video system uses a forward-facing camera to detect traffic signs, house numbers and upcoming turns to support the vehicle’s native navigation software.
Under the Hood
Though it’s the same size as the old engine, it’s actually a new one. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes 255 horsepower and 273 pounds-feet of torque; that’s a gain of 14 hp over the 2019 model. Mercedes-Benz also says that the new engine is more efficient, but no fuel economy estimates are yet available (the previous GLC300 was EPA-rated at 22/27/24 mpg city/highway/combined).
The engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, and it comes in rear-wheel-drive (GLC300) and all-wheel-drive (GLC300 4Matic) flavors.
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The GLC comes standard with automatic forward emergency braking and a blind spot warning system, but the real meat of the safety features lies in the optional Driver Assistance Package. It includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and lane change assist, active brake assist for stationary vehicles and evasive steering assist. In addition, the GLC will also offer an automatic parking system that displays the available parking spaces in the immediate area in the multimedia display.
No pricing information is yet available for the 2020 GLC300, just a vague on-sale date of “late 2019.”
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