In an automotive world that is becoming increasingly electrified and SUV-oriented, perhaps the best thing to do is to just embrace it. And with that, we get something like the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLC – It is the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz’s best-selling car (with over 2 million units sold since its fruition in 2016), and the GLC is now electrified only. In Malaysia, it is only sold as the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC.
Fully imported (CBU) from Germany, it is available as a single variant only, it is a mild hybrid, and it sends power to all four wheels. Let’s carry on…
Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC Exterior – Wider and finally with a proper stance
Take one glance at the all-new 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC and you might even miss the fact that is an all-new version of the car. Not that nothing has changed, but the new design is a smooth evolution from its predecessor’s looks – So smooth that you may barely notice it.
Subtle look changes aside, the Mercedes-Benz GLC now sits on an all-new platform that is in tune with the current W206 C-Class, W214 E-Class, and W223 S-Class. And while that has modernized the GLC necessarily, it also means that the X254 is somewhat “the last of its kind”. Allow us to explain…
With the future of Mercedes-Benz being electric, the company has stopped development of new internal combustion engine (ICE)-based platforms after the recently debuted W214 E-Class. So, the W206, W214, W223, and the X254 chassis will be given updates in the future to keep them relevant, but no new ICE-based platforms will be developed, or at least that’s what Mercedes-Benz is saying for the time being.
Sad news aside, the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLC looks better and more mature than its predecessor. No longer looking like a C-Class on stilts, the X254 looks wider, tougher, and more domineering. It looks like it is a more capable off-roader, and it does have the tech to back that up.
Some things that may irk the more subtle luxury car owner would be the spamming of the mini-Mercedes-Benz Tri-Star logos on the AMG-line grille and the insides of the taillight cluster. It just seems a little unnecessary, but some may find it to be a nice detail. Whether it is tacky or not is up to you to decide.
Standard exterior equipment on the GLC 300 4MATIC include an AMG line exterior kit, 20-inch AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels, Digital Light LED high-performance headlamps, aluminium look running boards, and polished aluminium roof rails.
Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC Interior – Feels snug without sacrificing too much practicality
It’s a whole new story on the inside of the Mercedes-Benz GLC as it has just become a lot more digital. The infotainment screen is now a huge portrait screen, and the digital instrument cluster no longer makes an effort to imitate an analogue one.
Concerning the domination of screens in the cabin, yes, it does attract fingerprints and dust, and it can become annoying with the glare. But credit where it’s due, the latest MBUX system is a pleasant system to deal with. It is intuitive, it is quite clever, and perhaps its most notable feature is the augmented reality navigation system.
Nitpicking the GLC 300 4MATIC’s cabin is easy as it lacks a sunroof and even rear USB ports which is something rather expected at this price range. That aside, it still manages to feel premium on the inside, especially with its dark headliner, window blinds, and very supportive seats.
The cabin’s fit and finish are good although some material choices could be changed to make the car feel more premium. Like most Mercedes-Benz cars of today, the cabin of the GLC will easily impress you upon first look, as the design is extravagant and further complimented by the multi-colour ambient lighting system.
The seats are on the firm side of things and it is perhaps due to the car trying to be a bit more sporty. Speaking of being sporty, cabin space is also a little snug, especially in the foot well area. But don’t worry, the GLC SUV is still very practical with a decently sized boot and a decently spacious second row.
Driving Experience – Softer than it used to be, but still a bit sporty
The GLC 300 4MATIC isn’t the fastest luxury SUV out there, but it does pack a decent amount of power. Its rated output is 258 hp and 400 Nm and the integrated starter generator (ISG) provides an additional 23 hp and 200 Nm when needed. You barely have to second-guess an overtaking maneuver, and the car feels light on its feet.
If there’s anything to complain about, it is the fact that it tries to be somewhat sporty when it doesn’t really have to. At low speeds, the transmission feels a bit too eager. And when you try to floor it, it emits a rather raspy exhaust note which is something you won’t quite expect in an urban luxury SUV. The vibrations are also quite apparent through the floor and steering wheel, which some may prefer and some may not.
As for its ride comfort, the all-new GLC feels like an improvement over the previous X253. It still is on the firm side of things but there is an overall improvement in terms of refinement and ride quality. Like the raspy exhaust note and eager transmission, the ride comfort of the GLC suggests that it still tries to become a sports car when it really doesn’t have to.
As for the mild hybrid system, if you didn’t know about it, you’d probably not even be aware of its existence. There is no abrupt shift between the “electric” and “engine” driving modes and braking feels quite natural.
Handy driving features include the 360° camera view with “safe boundaries” that help you judge distances better and the “speed heavily limited” function that reduces the risk of crashing in extremely tight spots. They just make the driving experience a lot more assuring and give you peace of mind.
Oh, and if somehow you desire to take your GLC 300 for some moderate off-roading, it even comes with a transparent hood view that gives you a clear view of what’s underneath the engine.
Launched as a fully-imported (CBU) unit, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC has actually been sold out, so our experience with the car is simply a preview of the upcoming locally assembled version of the car. Yes, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has confirmed that the GLC will be locally assembled soon. The all-new GLC is a decent luxury SUV that will most likely continue on the success of its predecessors. With better equipment in the locally-assembled version (hopefully), it will easily be a no-brainer choice if you’re shopping for a luxury SUV.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC at a glance…
|Engine||2.0 L turbocharged inline-4 MHEV|
|Rated power||258 hp|
|Rated torque||400 Nm|
|ISG power||23 hp|
|ISG Torque||200 Nm|
|Transmission||9G-Tronic 9-speed automatic|
|Drivetrain||All-wheel drive (AWD)|
|Origin||Fully imported (CBU) from Germany|