2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC

By October 14, 2019

Pick a 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV and you have a choice between a luxury SUV with a traditional roofline or one with a sloped ”Coupe” roof.

Revisions for the 2019 GLC are relatively minor. Heated front seats and a 115-volt power outlet are now standard. New options include three-zone climate control, plus an Off-Road Engineering Package for the GLC 300 4Matic. New “designo” packages are available with AMG performance seats.

Four versions of the GLC SUV or Coupe are offered. In GLC 300 models, a 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, with either rear- or all-wheel drive. The GLC 300 coupe comes only with all-wheel drive. Both use a 9-speed automatic transmission.

In the AMG GLC 43 SUV and Coupe, a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 develops 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet. A 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 powers AMG GLC 63 models, whipping up 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet. In the AMG GLC 63 S Coupe, the V-8 gets a boost to 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.

The GLC 350e plug-in hybrid provides only limited range when running on battery-power alone. An electric motor works with a turbo-4 gas engine, generating 329 combined horsepower. Fuel economy improves slightly, and acceleration to 60 mph is a hair quicker than the GLC 300.

Standard on all but the GLC 300, all-wheel drive initially sends 55 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, but the proportion varies as handling and traction requirements change. A Low range is not included.

Crash-test data has included a five-star rating from the NHTSA and “Good” ratings from the IIHS. Automatic emergency braking is standard, while blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and a surround-view camera system are options.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $995 destination charge.

GLC 300 SUV ($40,700 with rear-drive, $42,700 with all-wheel drive) comes with the 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, power driver’s seat, keyless start, dual-zone automatic climate control, power liftgate, 18-inch wheels, wood trim, and 7.0-inch infotainment display.

GLC 300 4Matic Coupe ($47,300) has 2.0-liter turbo-4, with coupe-like body. Adaptive braking, a sport-tuned suspension, sunroof, and 19-inch wheels are standard.

AMG GLC 43 4Matic SUV ($57,000) has all-wheel drive with twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, as well as synthetic leather/suede trim, blind-spot monitors, AMG styling details, and 20-inch wheels. AMG performance upgrades include an adaptive suspension.

AMG GLC 43 4Matic Coupe ($61,200) includes all-wheel drive and twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, with black exterior trim.

AMG GLC 63 4Matic SUV ($70,800) has twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, plus LED headlights, AMG-exclusive grille, limited-slip differential, Burmester audio, and AMG Speedshift transmission.

AMG GLC 63 4Matic Coupe ($74,100) moves up to 469-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-8.

AMG GLC 63 S 4Matic Coupe ($81,800) gets 503-horsepower version of 4.0-liter V-8, along with electronic limited-slip differential, leather upholstery, aluminum pedals, and heated windshield.

GLC 350e Plug-in Hybrid 4Matic SUV ($50,650) has gasoline/electric powertrain with all-wheel drive, LED headlights and 18-inch wheels.

Exterior

Crisply shaped with lovely lines, the GLC serves as an example of ideal crossover design. Whether in conventional SUV or sloping-roof Coupe body styles, the GLC’s curves and creases delight the eye.

Highlighting the grille, between subtly curved front fenders, the huge Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star logo can be fitted with optional LED lighting. Even the GLC 300 base model flaunts substantially-sized air intakes. AMG editions get specific front and rear-end appearance details, as well as larger wheels.

Interior

Gorgeous throughout, the GLC’s carlike cabin is draped with flamboyant, flowing shapes. In terms of stunning use of wood and metallic trim, as well as dramatic design, it vies with Volvo’s XC60 SUV among our favorites. Base-model interiors can take on black ash wood trim. AMG models turn to vibrant red leather and carbon fiber. 

Sculpted front seats and a low-set dashboard open an expansive view of the road. Base models get synthetic leather on highly-adjustable front seats. Real leather is an option. AMG models feature heavily sculpted, more finely adjustable seats, with leather and suede trim that grips quite firmly – close to snug.

Standard GLC crossovers offer excellent rear-seat head and leg space, even with a panoramic sunroof installed. Coupe riders fall shorter on rear-seat head room. The rear suits two passengers, but a third can squeeze in for short trips.

Cargo space behind the rear seat totals 19.4 cubic feet in SUV models, 17.7 in Coupes. Folding the three-section seatbacks expands volume to 56.5 and 49.4 cubic feet, respectively.

Driving Impressions

Of the five crossover SUVs Mercedes-Benz sells in the U.S., the GLC scores near the upper end. Performance ranges from strong in the 4-cylinder base model to rollicking in upper AMG editions.

The GLC 300 model’s turbo-4 engine issues ample thrust. Acceleration to 60 mph takes less than 6.5 seconds. Although gear changes from the 9-speed transmission are largely unobtrusive, lurching can occur at times when searching for lower gears. Responsiveness and shift speeds vary considerably.

A GLC driver can choose Comfort or Sport mode – or even Sport+.

Base models yield a supple and composed ride, tackling bothersome bumps with a sense of poise and precise control. Road flaws are absorbed without floaty reactions  For a truly graceful experience, air springs and adaptive dampers are available.

Steering leans toward the numb side in the GLC 300. AMG versions provide considerably more communication between driver and road, and feel more lively.

Acceleration to 60 mph takes only 4.8 seconds in an AMG GLC 43. Its transmission has finer calibration than the base automatic. Despite 21-inch wheels, the GLC 43 provides a pillowy ride, courtesy of its air suspension. Handling excels, and the ride is taut yet easygoing. AMG GLC 63 models convey a more brutal overtone, while 0-60 mph acceleration quickens to 4.0 seconds or less.

Though generally refined, a GLC can become a tad coarse at higher speeds. At least, it’s adequately muted. AMG models allow welcome sounds into the cabin, though crackling exhaust noise can intrude.

Fuel economy is average, even with the new battery-augmented model. The GLC 300 SUV is EPA-rated at 22/27 mpg City/Highway, 24 Combined, with either rear- or all-wheel drive. The GLC 300 Coupe is slightly less thrifty, at 21/27/23 mpg.

As for higher-performance models, the 2019 AMG GLC 43 4Matic SUV is EPA-rated at 19/25 mpg City/Highway, 21 Combined. In either body style, the all-wheel-drive GLC 63 is estimated at 16/22/18 mpg. So is the GLC 63 S Coupe. GLC crossovers have stop/start and Eco drive mode.

Mercedes-Benz’s plug-in hybrid, the GLC 350e, gets a 56 MPGe (equivalent) rating from the EPA, or 25 mpg Combined.

Final Word

Scoring high in comfort and quality, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC has one of the best cabins offered by Mercedes-Benz, blending appealing stretch-out space with lavish trim. The best value is the GLC 300, equipped with an air suspension as well as all-wheel drive.

 

Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.