While the look appears largely unchanged, there’s quite a bit of difference between the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 and the 2022 version it replaces.
Of course, given the robust sales volume of the GLC-Class (some 2.6 million sold since the model line’s 2015 introduction), it’s not unreasonable to consider the product planners at MBZ may have asked, “Warum etwas Erfolgreiches ändern?“ Which, when loosely translated, means; “Why mess with success?“
Still though, product must be updated from time to time to keep up with the times. And, that’s what we have here. The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 has been treated to a gentle styling evolution, coupled with a raft of state-of-the-art tech upgrades.
Mercedes-Benz has instituted a number of upgrades to its midsize SUV offering for the 2023 model year. These include mild styling revisions, new powertrain and suspension systems, updates to the infotainment interface and enhanced cargo capacity.
The body of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC is some 2.4 inches longer than that of its 2022 predecessor. The wheelbase is longer as well, by 0.6 of an inch. There have been subtle revisions to its styling as well.
The headlights are slimmer than before and appear to connect directly to the grille. This gives the illusion of added width, which gives the GLC more presence in rearview mirrors. The mesh grille is now ringed in chrome and contains a single cross member flanking the three-pointed star. Its predecessor had two. BTW, counting the openings in that adornment reveals the GLC’s cylinder count.
A slimmed-down taillight treatment is the primary styling change at the rear. Another benefit of the styling revisions is a lower coefficient of drag. The 2023 GLC achieves a Cd of 0.29, where the 2022’s figure was 0.31.
The increases in overall length and wheelbase contribute to a bit more legroom for rear-seated passengers (0.10 of an inch) and three more cubic feet of cargo capacity. The new interior design manages to say contemporary, sporty and luxurious all in the same breath. You’ll see firsthand where a good chunk of the purchase price went when looking around the GLC’s passenger compartment.
The bi-sectional dash is sumptuously trimmed, while an 11.9-inch digital display (think giant iPad) gives the illusion of hovering in space above it. Meanwhile, the revised design of the dash, seats and door panels radiate class and modernity.
All primary controls are slightly angled toward the driver to make them easier to reach. And indeed, everything with which you need to come into contact to operate the vehicle — including its comfort and convenience functions — can be activated without leaning out of your chosen driving position.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC is offered with but a single powertrain. A 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine anchors the 48-volt mild hybrid system. An electric motor is fitted between the engine and the 9-speed automatic transmission. Total system output is 255 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 205 pound-feet of torque at 1,800 rpm.
Presenting one of the smoothest start/stop functions I’ve experienced, the GLC’s powerplant exudes sophistication. Interestingly, the same zero to 60 time of 6.2 seconds is quoted both for the rear-drive and all-wheel drive configurations.
My test car was fitted with rear-wheel drive. Its quoted fuel economy is 25 mpg in the city, 32 on the highway and 28 combined. I saw a 29-mpg average.
Safety and Technology
The updated MBUX infotainment system is standard equipment and operated using a variety of interfaces. The aforementioned 11.9-inch touchscreen, the focal point of the dash, provides access to all comfort and convenience functions.
One can also access many of those features by uttering the phrase, “Hey Mercedes,” at which point the system will “listen” and execute a wide variety of commands. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities are standard.
Along with that innovation, however, comes the adoption of what I consider to be a troubling trend. More and more, automakers are abandoning physical controls in favor of touch-sensitive panels and voice activation.
This can make a simple task like activating the HVAC’s recirculation function far more involved than it needs to be. I’m all for cleaning up the appearance of the cockpit wherever possible. However, some things should be left alone. These include a volume control dial for the audio system and a recirculate button.
Safety features, as you might anticipate from Mercedes, are abundant. Highlights include the marque’s Active Distance Assist Distronic small cruise control system, Active Steering Assist, Traffic Sign Assist and a new Parking assist package.
Level 2 driver-assistance, LED headlights, and a 360-degree camera system are offered as well. A “transparent hood” feature uses those cameras to offer a view of the ground underneath the front of the GLC, as if looking down “through the hood.” This can be advantageous when maneuvering off-road.
The optional nav system uses augmented reality to overlay directions on the display using an image of the roadway ahead of the GLC.
Tasked with setting some 4,406 pounds into motion, the 255-hp turbocharged and electrified powertrain delivers adequate, if not exactly stirring performance.
While this is currently the only available means of propulsion, past is frequently prologue in these matters. Therefore, you can expect a Mercedes-AMG GLC to materialize in the near future. This, without a doubt, will skew the GLC toward athleticism.
For now, the GLC 300 is more about quiet and comfort than performance. In fact, wind noise is all but absent at speed. And frankly, given the vast majority of its forebears have emphasized ease over eagerness — and found 2.6 million takers — I don’t really see this being a hindrance. This is particularly true given the GLC’s overriding penchant for charm and sophistication, coupled with a high degree of competence.
Long story short, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 delivers quiet, comfort and suitable agility, along with cutting edge tech and more than ample sophistication.
2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Specifications
|L: 185.7 inches/W: 74.4 inches/H: 64.6 inches/Wheelbase: 113.1 inches
|2.0-liter turbocharge inline-4 with electric motor assist; 9-speed automatic transmission, RWD
|25 mpg city/32 mpg highway/28 mpg combined
|255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque
|Base price: $47,100; As tested: $61,250
While the new GLC might appear to be the same as the previous GLC at first glance, there are improvements in every place that really matters.
The interior treatment’s revisions give the model a more contemporary feel. The revised suspension system provides a smoother ride and better road holding. Slight increases in overall length and wheelbase add more cargo capacity, along with a minuscule uptick in legroom for rear passengers. And, the engine is one of the smoothest 4-cylinder powerplants I’ve ever encountered.
All in all, the GLC now feels more capable and luxurious than at any time in its previous history. Yes, I do wish they’d left me buttons for the volume control and HVAC recirculate functions. But overall, the 2023 Mercedes Benz GLC 300 is improved in every other way.
I like it.
2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 — Frequently Asked Questions
Is the 2023 GLC bigger than its predecessor?
The model now offers a 2.4-inch longer body, a wider track, a slightly longer wheelbase, and slightly lower roof. So yes, the GLC is slightly larger and has marginally improved interior space.
How do the GLC and BMW X3 compare in terms of size?
The X3 is 185.9 inches in length and offers 28.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity with its second row of seats deployed. The GLC measures 185.7 inches long and provides 22 cubic feet with its second row up.
How reliable is the Mercedes GLC 300?
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC has a predicted reliability score of 81 out of 100, according to U.S. News & World Report.