The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class range of premium compact crossovers covers the regular shape and the fastback shape. The company calls the former “SUV” and the latter “Coupe.” The SUV version is the most practical, with better rear passenger space and cargo-carrying ability of the two.
Buyers seeking luxury, sophistication, refinement and technology are well-served by all the major players, but the 2020 GLC-Class seems to have an extra something special about it. This is evident in the cabin materials, the ride quality, build, standard equipment and the many and varied options. The GLC does everything right that it needs to and gets nothing wrong, carrying out its duties without apparent effort.
What’s New for 2020?
The GLC-Class receives a substantial upgrade this year. Exterior and interior designs have both been revamped, making the outside look arguably more interesting and the cabin possibly even more sophisticated. Mercedes-Benz offers fresh options for paint, upholstery, trim and wheels. Standard equipment levels are also up. For example, smartphone integration is now included.
Every variant is fitted with a new generation of infotainment system called the Mercedes-Benz User Experience — MBUX for short — that recognizes commands given in natural speech.
The GLC 300 has a new engine with 14 more horsepower. The AMG GLC 43 receives a boost of 23 hp. The GLC 350e 4Matic EQ Power plug-in hybrid gets a larger battery pack, extending range using only electric power, and the GLC 63 models gain an electronic locking differential as standard. See the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class models for sale near you
What We Like
- Premium presence
- Fuel-efficient 4-cylinder powertrain
- Great technology
- Engaging AMG versions
What We Don’t
- Comes at a premium price
$43,495 to $85,095
A turbocharged 2.0-liter/4-cylinder engine propels the GLC 300. It makes 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque and connects to a 9-speed automatic transmission, with standard rear-wheel drive or optional 4Matic all-wheel drive.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel economy at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg combined (front-wheel drive) or 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined (AWD).
The GLC 350e 4Matic EQ Power SUV plug-in hybrid deploys a turbocharged 2.0-liter/4-cylinder engine and an electric motor for a total system output of 315 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission sends that energy to all four wheels.
There were no energy consumption figures for the GLC 350e at the time of compiling this review. We’re expecting the newer battery to improve on last year’s average miles-per-gallon equivalent of 56 MPGe, 24 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined running as a regular drivetrain and battery-only range of nine miles.
GLC 43 AMG models have a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 developing an energetic 385 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. It uses a 9-speed automatic transmission (tuned by AMG for faster shifts) and AWD is standard. The EPA puts fuel use at 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.
GLC 63 variants 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 AWD is also standard here. Fuel consumption is 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.
Available in “coupe” form only, the AMG GLC 63 S takes that twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 and hikes output up to 503 hp and 516 lb-ft. Once again, AWD is standard, the transmission is a 9-speed automatic and fuel consumption is 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.
Standard Features and Options
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is a 5-seater premium compact crossover available in regular SUV or fastback Coupe forms.
The GLC 300 SUV ($43,495) has 18-in alloy wheels, adaptive suspension, LED headlights/daytime running lights/taillights, heated/power-adjustable front seats with driver’s-side memory settings, heated/rain-sensing wipers, power-folding side mirrors (self-dimming on the driver’s side), self-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, drive mode settings, power-folding rear seats (40/20/40 split), roof rails, powered tailgate, 10.25-in touchscreen for the MBUX infotainment system, touchpad, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with exit assistance, 115-volt outlet, 8-speaker audio system, two USB-C ports, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, HD radio and Bluetooth phone/audio streaming.
The 4Matic AWD system costs $2,000. The GLC 300 is also eligible for several packages and options mentioned below.
The GLC 300 Coupe 4Matic ($50,995) kicks off the “coupe” range and has AWD as standard along with 19-in alloy wheels, heated windshield washer nozzles, keyless entry/ignition, 64-color ambient LED cabin lighting and satellite radio.
Due mid-2020, the GLC 350e 4Matic EQ Power SUV plug-in hybrid ($TBA) is equipped much like the GLC 300 4Matic SUV but adds a few model-specific gauges, plus radar-based regenerative braking.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 SUV ($60,495) comes with AWD as standard along with an adaptive air suspension, 20-in AMG-designed alloy wheels, sport exhaust, front sport seats (heated), brushed aluminum pedals, various cosmetic touches inside and out, keyless entry/ignition and satellite radio.
The GLC 43 Coupe ($63,995) has those extras that the GLC 300 Coupe enjoys compared with its SUV counterpart.
The GLC 63 SUV ($74,745) includes AMG-specific additions such as stronger brakes, variable-ratio steering, sportier exhaust system and an electronic limited-slip rear differential, heat/noise-insulating front side glass, plus a handcrafted V8 engine.
The GLC 63 Coupe ($77,495) adds navigation with augmented video and a 12.3-in digital driver information display.
The GLC 63 S Coupe ($85,095) is the most powerful model of the range.
Some standard items in the more expensive models are optional lower down. A Premium package features keyless entry/ignition, satellite radio and 64-color ambient LED cabin lighting. The Multimedia package adds navigation with augmented video and real-time traffic updates.
The Driver Assistance package includes advanced safety aids like adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, cross-traffic assistance and active steering assistance. A Parking Assist package brings a 360-degree camera system, automated parking, hands-free tailgate operation and parking sensors at both ends.
Other options include leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 12.3-in digital driver information display, Burmester 13-speaker/590-watt surround-sound system, cabin air purification/fragrance treatment, tri-zone automatic climate control, 20-in alloy wheels, automatic high beams, brushed aluminum running boards, panoramic sunroof, heat/noise-insulating glass, head-up display, heated steering wheel, Wi-Fi, wireless charging, rear seat entertainment system, Class II trailer hitch and an illuminated grille badge. AMG models can also be ordered with 21-in alloy wheels.
Cargo space in the GLC SUV amounts to 20.5 cu ft. behind the rear seats, or 56.5 cu ft. when they’re folded down. The exception is the GLC 350e plug-in hybrid, whose maximum cargo area is 51 cu ft.
Naturally, the GLC-Class Coupe models aren’t quite as commodious, with 17.6 cu ft. behind the seats and 49.4 cu ft. when folded. Most buyers probably won’t care too much about this aspect, although they might still find the high lip (just above the rear bumper) an inconvenience.
The array of standard safety equipment is impressive, including anti-lock brakes, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with exit assistance, Crosswind Assist, trailer sway control, driver drowsiness monitoring, side airbags and side curtain airbags.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 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. GLC vehicles also have a brake-based torque vectoring system to make cornering easier. Factor in the quality cabin materials, the interior’s tranquility, plus the various safety features, and this crossover is a year-round joy — in SUV form, at least. The Coupe is still acceptable for rear passenger space, but tall passengers should get their “shotgun” shout in as soon as possible.
The GLC 43 is not super-hot but still flexes a satisfying amount of muscle. It accentuates talents in the chassis that are not 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.
Putting a turbocharged V8 into a compact crossover is a piece of inspired madness. The AMG 63 has a heck of a lot of power for something this size and will zip from standstill to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. The ultimate GLC, the AMG 63 S, shaves 0.2 of a second from that figure.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 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, plus many high-tech options and features for the price.
2020 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.
2020 Volvo XC60 — Handsome (arguably), spacious, well-equipped with luxury, technology and safety features. A plug-in hybrid is also offered.
It isn’t clear how well the Coupe models will hold their value over time and after the trend has passed, if it passes. So it could be most sensible to stay with a regular SUV version. The GLC 43 has a great amount of equipment and power, but there’s nothing wrong with a GLC 300 4Matic. If the finances can accommodate the Driver Assistance package, so much the better. Find a Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class for sale