Mercedes unveils new technically demanding 2023 GLC SUV

Mercedes unveils new technically demanding 2023 GLC SUV
Luxury compact SUVs are arguably the vehicles most Americans aspire to right now. SUVs today sell more than cars and trucks combined. And last quarter, Americans bought luxury cars at near record numbers. Compact luxury SUVs give drivers the tall, see-through stance they want, the luxury features they dream of and a price many can afford.

With that in mind, Mercedes has revamped one of the best. The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC offers a handsome exterior, a beautiful interior and a burst of power when you need it.

Mercedes has not announced prices for the 2023 GLC. The 2022 model starts at $43,850 plus a destination surcharge of $1,050.

A sharp evolution of a good-looking exterior

The 2023 GLC looks like a natural evolution of the 2022 model, which was already one of the nicer compact luxury sports utility vehicles. The oversized three-pointed star common to current Mercedes rosters looks natural here. A subtle bulge in the hood resembles muscle power. Contour lines on the back hips are tasteful and not overdone.

In a year when many car designers are toning down chrome with darker tones, the GLC’s bright work stands out as stylish.

Mild-hybrid powertrain

Mercedes has announced a plan to go all-electric by 2030 in markets that build enough infrastructure to support that decision. The company has begun the move to electricity by building an electrical equivalent to many of its gasoline models. The electric counterpart of the GLC is not there yet, but the gas model will be more efficient.

Under the hood is a 4-cylinder engine combined with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. It is good for 258 horsepower. As in the C-Class sedan (with which it shares a chassis), the GLC can temporarily boost that power thanks to technology borrowed from the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team. An integrated starter generator provides up to 23 additional horsepower for a few seconds.

Power is sent via a 9-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels in the standard GLC 300 or to all four four-wheel drive GLC 300 4MATIC. The multi-link rear suspension is the same (well-received) setup as the old GLC. The front suspension is an all-new four-link design.

Mercedes will offer only one powertrain at launch. But we expect a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version and a sports-tuned AMG model soon.

Lush interior for the classroom

The Mercedes interior design team is in full swing. The 2023 GLC is beautiful inside, with a sleek, modern balance of smooth surfaces and soft leather. A new freestanding 12.3-inch driver instrument panel and a standing 11.9-inch central multimedia touchscreen with touchscreen stand out in the dashboard. The infotainment system runs Mercedes’ new MBUX user interface, which can accept voice commands (say “Hey Mercedes” to launch it).

Standard features include heated front seats and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. A fingerprint sensor can adjust the seating position, climate control and other settings to suit each driver’s preferences.

New safety technology

While few would see the GLC as an nimble off-roader, Mercedes has given it a unique piece of trail kit that we like. Dubbed ‘transparent bonnet’, it uses cameras to give the driver a view of what’s under the front wheels – useful for navigating trails and tricky parking spaces.

A new version of Mercedes’ Distronic driver assistance technologies can brake to avoid stationary vehicles at speeds of up to 100 km/h. The old model did the same up to 30 mph. Active Steering Assist now uses cameras 360 degrees around the vehicle to determine the safest path.

The 2023 GLC is one of the first vehicles to take full advantage of new federal laws that allow for more advanced headlamp systems. An optional Digital Light system shapes the beam to give drivers all the illumination of high beam without dazzling oncoming traffic, and emphasizes pedestrians with a spotlight function.