Mercedes-Benz passed an important milestone in 2018 when the compact GLC crossover SUV surpassed the venerable C-Class sedan in American sales. For the first time ever, the best-selling Mercedes was an SUV.
Because it competes in the fast-growing premium compact SUV market, the redesigned 2020 GLC is a strategically critical vehicle for Mercedes. The new GLC is available in two body styles and three performance levels. More importantly, the basic GLC is priced to compete with the high end of economy class SUVs as well as premium brands.
The 2020 GLC 300 is a compact five-passenger SUV. It has the squared-off back end and hatch that is typical of this kind of vehicle. Cargo space is generous, with up to 56.5 cubic feet available. Passengers will be comfortable, with plenty of leg and head room for American-size adults. This design starts at $42,500 with rear-wheel-drive, or $44,500 with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive.
Buyers can also choose the GLC 300 in a sporty four-door fastback coupe design. This version of the GLC features a sloping roof with a hatch that incorporates the rear window. Coupe buyers give up a little cargo volume but still get 49.4 cubic feet and seating for five. The coupe comes only with all-wheel-drive, and starts at $50,000.
The GLC 300 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which offers 255 horsepower and uses a 9-speed automatic transmission. This model provides excellent performance with a 0-60 MPH time of 6.1 seconds.
If you want high performance, Mercedes also offers the AMG GLC 63 in SUV and coupe bodies with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 rated at 469 horsepower. This model will hit 60 in 3.8 seconds. If that's not enough, get the AMG GLC 63 S coupe, which has 503 horsepower and a race track driving mode. This Benz just set a world record lap time at Germany's Nurburgring, making it the fastest SUV in the world.
The big news inside the GLC is the Mercedes-Benz User eXperience (MBUX) infotainment and navigation system. This next-generation tech includes voice control, a 10.25-inch touchscreen display, and a 12.3-inch all-digital driver information display. Mercedes also includes a full package of advanced driver assistance tech, with steering assistance and adaptive cruise control. The GLC will even automatically obey the speed limit for you.
On the road, the GLC is uniquely impressive. The base model SUV feels great and handles crisply. The AMG version is nothing short of amazing, with tremendous power and a smooth, firm air suspension.
The best thing about the GLC, however, is the base price. For a few thousand dollars more than the top price of some economy SUVs, buyers can get into a new Mercedes-Benz. That places this aspirational vehicle within reach of many more buyers.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300
Base price: $42,500
Price as tested: $42,500
Type: Compact SUV
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (255 hp, 273 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 9speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 22/29
Overall length: 183.8 inches
Curb weight: 3,977 pounds
Final assembly: Bremen, Germany
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