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2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader November 2017

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is a superb premium compact crossover with a high-quality cabin, plenty of standard equipment and tempting options, along with a ride quality and driving experience that's wholly fitting for a luxury marque.

That opening sentence might sound as though it were written by Mercedes-Benz's advertising agency, but most people who've driven it reach the same conclusion. The GLC does everything it needs to do right, and nothing wrong, carrying out its duties with style and without effort.

There's also a "coupe" variant, which is reviewed separately. To underline the distinction, Mercedes-Benz calls this regular version the GLC SUV.

What's New for 2018?

The range expands to include a hot 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 version, but that doesn't arrive until early 2018. There's also been some rearranging and renaming of options bundles. A heated windshield wiper system is now standard across the board. So is the formerly optional Storage package, which includes rear-seat release switches in the cargo area. Smartphone integration becomes available, while AMG versions are eligible for a sport exhaust system and a new Track Pace App.

What We Like

Premium presence; fuel-efficient 4-cylinder powertrain; engaging AMG versions

What We Don't

Comes at a premium price

How Much?

$41,045-$57,245

Fuel Economy

A 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder powers the GLC 300. It makes 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque and connects to a 9-speed automatic transmission with standard rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive (known as 4Matic). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel economy with rear-wheel drive at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving, or 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.

The GLC 43 AMG model has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 developing an energetic 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. It uses basically the same 9-speed automatic transmission as the GLC 300 (although it's been tuned for faster shifts), and all-wheel drive is standard. The EPA puts fuel use at 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined.

When it arrives, the GLC 63 will sport a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 endowed with 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. This is linked to a 9-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive will be standard. There were are no fuel-consumption estimates at the time of this review, but let's assume it will be efficient. And let's also assume that fuel economy is probably not high on an AMG buyer's list of priorities.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV is a 5-seater premium compact crossover available in straightforward GLC 300 form, as the mildly sporty AMG GLC 43 model or as the much sportier AMG GLC 63.

The GLC 300 ($41,045) has 18-inch alloy wheels, a 14-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory settings, heated/rain-sensing wipers, power-folding side mirrors (self-dimming on the driver's side), a self-dimming rearview mirror, power-folding rear seats, roof rails, a 7-in display screen for the Comand infotainment system, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, drive-mode settings, a rearview camera, an 8-speaker audio system, two USB ports, an iPod interface and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.

As well as the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system (costing $2,000), the comprehensive options list includes:

A Premium package, featuring blind spot monitoring, keyless entry/ignition, satellite radio and a 115-volt outlet.

The Multimedia package, which adds an 8.4-in infotainment screen, a touchpad and voice-controlled navigation.

The Advanced Lighting package, which brings full LED lighting,

The Premium Driver Assistance package, which includes advanced safety aids like adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance and cross-traffic assistance.

A Night package, which adds black 19-in wheels and exterior accents.

And an Advanced Parking Assist package, bringing a 360-degree camera system, automated parking, a hands-free lift gate and parking sensors at both ends.

Other options include an air suspension, leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, a Burmester 14-speaker audio system upgrade, cabin air purification/fragrance treatment, 20-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, Wi-Fi and an illuminated grille badge.

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 ($57,245) comes with all-wheel drive as standard, along with the adaptive air suspension, 20-in AMG-designed alloy wheels, various cosmetic touches inside and out, plus blind spot monitoring, heated front seats, keyless entry/ignition, satellite radio and a 115-volt outlet.

The GLC 63 ($TBA) is expected to include AMG-specific additions, such as stronger brakes and a mechanical limited-slip rear differential.

Cargo space amounts to 20.5 cu ft. behind the rear seats or 56.5 cu ft. when they're folded down.

Safety

The array of standard safety equipment is impressive, including antilock brakes, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, Crosswind Assist, trailer sway control, driver drowsiness monitoring, side airbags and side curtain airbags.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has made the GLC a Top Safety Pick+.

Behind the Wheel

Just about anyone will be impressed with the GLC 300 after even a short spell behind the wheel. Direct steering and a smooth, serene, luxurious ride are complemented by a punchy engine. Factor in the quality cabin materials, the interior's tranquility and the various safety features, and this crossover is a year-round joy.

The GLC 43 isn't super-hot, but it still flexes a satisfying amount of muscle. It accentuates talents in the chassis that aren't so apparent with the smaller engine. Drive settings span from economical to Sport Plus and a personal customized mode. So things can be fun or family-friendly, all at the touch of button.

The GLC 63 has a lot of power for something of its size.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Acura RDX -- Although the Acura cachet is not quite up to the level of Mercedes-Benz, the RDX is an excellent choice thanks to a standard 3.5-liter V6 and many high-tech options and features for its price.

2018 Audi Q5/SQ5 -- All-new for 2018. An excellent contender, with 252 hp, slightly more than the GLC 300. The SQ5 isn't quite as powerful as the GLC 43, but it's still an impressive vehicle.

2018 BMW X3 -- This generation is all-new for 2018. A little sportier than the GLC 300, but refined in its own way.

2018 Lexus NX -- Aimed at those who prefer luxury over performance, the NX offers a lackluster 4-cylinder model and a fuel-efficient hybrid. But it also enjoys renowned Lexus build quality as well as head-turning styling. Upgraded for 2018.

2018 Porsche Macan Turbo -- This is a GLC 63 rival that has "only" 400 hp (or 440 hp with the optional Performance package), but it has Porsche's legendary dynamics to compensate.

Used Mercedes-Benz M-Class -- If a little more space is required, consider the larger M-Class (renamed the GLE for 2016) as a used or certified pre-owned (CPO) model.

Autotrader's Advice

If your choice is the GLC 300, try and stretch to the air suspension and advanced safety features. The GLC 43 hits a particularly sweet spot.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class: New Car Review - Autotrader