Tested: 2023 Mercedes


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May 27, 2023

Tested: 2023 Mercedes

The GLC300 grew a couple of inches, and nearly all of it went to the boot. As goes the Mercedes-Benz C-class, so goes its sport-utility sibling, the GLC-class. Benz's compact executive sedan received

The GLC300 grew a couple of inches, and nearly all of it went to the boot.

As goes the Mercedes-Benz C-class, so goes its sport-utility sibling, the GLC-class. Benz's compact executive sedan received a comprehensive makeover for 2022, adding a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to the powertrain and overhauling the looks, the cabin, and the tech therein. Now, it's the GLC's turn, and while the 2023 GLC300 may not look all that different from the outside, it's grown a bit and picked up some notably nicer accoutrements.

The 2023 GLC300 hides its newly embiggened dimensions well in pictures, but it does appear portlier in person. With the wheelbase unchanged at 113.1 inches, and length expanding 2.4 inches to 185.7 inches, all that growth goes right to overhang—an observation our bathroom mirrors are all too familiar with. Luggage capacity is up by nearly three cubic feet, to 22 total. Since the wheelbase is unchanged, it shouldn't come as a surprise that front and rear legroom change by just 0.1 inch (the front shorter, rear longer) and feel no different in the new model.

A few other dimensions have been massaged to boost aerodynamic slip. The GLC300's drag coefficient now measures 0.29, an improvement of two-hundredths over the outgoing model. Overall height is down a tenth of an inch, the front track grows by 0.3 inch, and the rear track is nearly a full inch wider than before. Weight is up a fair bit, to 4406 pounds versus the 4122 pounds we measured in a 2020 model.

Whether it's purchased with rear- or all-wheel drive (a $2000 upcharge), the GLC300 is now a 48-volt mild-hybrid. The integrated starter-generator bolts up to a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, producing the same 255 horsepower as before, but torque rises 22 pound-feet to 295. The electric motor can add up to 23 horsepower and 148 pound-feet, but not at peak. That motive force gets routed to the wheels by way of a smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission.

With nearly 300 additional pounds of mass being shoved around and only 22 extra pound-feet on tap, the 2023 GLC300's acceleration suffers, but not by much. The GLC300 reaches 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, 0.3 second behind the 2020 model. The story's similar in the quarter, with the 2023 model crossing the line in 14.4 seconds at 95 mph, a negligible difference to the 2020's 14.2-second run at 96 mph. These numbers remain superior to the last BMW X3 30i we tested, and they're about even with the Audi Q5 45.

Some of this comes from the tires, which on the 2020 model had 235/55R-19 Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Run Flats at all four corners; our 2023 example wears wider, staggered AMG wheels ($850) and rolls on 20-inch Continental EcoContact 6 summer rubber measuring 255/45 up front and a whopping 285/40 in the rear. That Rubenesque contact patch certainly helps explain our improved skidpad figure of 0.88 g, besting the old GLC's 0.85 g—not that impressive, though, when accounting for the transition from all-season to summer tires.

Mercedes's tweaks to the 2023 GLC formula boost EPA-estimated highway economy to 31 mpg, 3 mpg more than the outgoing model. The GLC300's newfound electrification also sweetens the SUV's on-road demeanor. This stop-start is among the smoothest on the market, reviving the gas engine with nary a shudder. Under deceleration, it's difficult to notice when the engine shuts off for low-speed coasting. This smoothness extends to the steering—banefully so, as it's devoid of off-center buildup and is just numb all around—and the brakes, which are easy to modulate for consistently smooth stops.

The remaining parts of the Merc's driving experience would be best summed up as "sport-adjacent." The GLC's standard adaptive dampers keep things nice and smooth over mildly uneven parts of the roadway, and body motions are well controlled, but more dramatic humps and bumps transfer a good bit of motion inside. If we were ordering our own GLC300, we'd stick with the standard 18-inch wheels, with tires that have thicker sidewalls and should deliver a better ride on Michigan's Martian roadscape.

Chuck the GLC into a corner and, sure, it'll lean more than a C-class, but it stays well sorted and makes a good case for taking the long way back from school drop-off. The four-banger sounds pretty good when you give it the beans too. It's a damn shame about that steering considering how well sorted the rest of this car is.

If your commute has more traffic lights than curves, you're in luck, because now you can appreciate just how much better the GLC300's interior is. The waterfall-like center-console shape remains, but the rest has been revamped to match the style found in other Mercedes vehicles, and it works well. Our sample GLC's dashboard was covered in natural-grain black wood with aluminum strips ($200). The steering wheel has been upgraded with a sharper design, but fans of physical buttons will find very few anywhere inside—a point of occasional frustration, as the capacitive directional pads on the steering-wheel spokes are way too easy to activate by accident. The panoramic roof ($1500) features a thinner cross-strut too, not that anyone would notice.

Do you love screens? Well, the GLC is a modern Mercedes, so you'd better. The old model's deep gauge binnacle has been trashed in favor of a 12.3-inch display with multiple layouts and the capability to display a full navigation map. The 11.9-inch standard center touchscreen runs the latest iteration of MBUX infotainment software, which is responsive, sufficiently easy to navigate, and includes wireless smartphone mirroring. The center display will pick up (and reflect) greasy fingerprints like nobody's business, so take your preschool instruction to heart and wash your hands often.

While the GLC300 4Matic's $50,250 base price is in line with the segment, things can get expensive in a hurry. We're staring down an as-tested price of $65,950. Some of that comes from the top Pinnacle trim's $4450 price bump, but standalone options sure aren't cheap either. More aggressive AMG Line styling will set you back $3450, although the Night package's blacked-out trim only adds $200 to the bottom line. The Driver Assistance package contains all the usual active and passive driver aids for an extra $1950. Even this specific shade of Cardinal Red Metallic is a hefty $1750.

Despite the bit of sticker shock, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic is a strong contender in the entry-luxe department. Its cabin is vastly improved over its predecessor's, while its new hybrid components add a dollop of smoothness to around-town duties. Yet it still can let loose and have a little fun—even with the extra junk in the trunk.


2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4MaticVehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICEBase/As Tested: $50,250/$65,950Options: Pinnacle Trim package (Burmester premium audio system, surround-view camera, illuminated door sills, ambient lighting, MB Navigation with augmented video, Digital Light headlights, head-up display, insulated glass), $4450; AMG Line package (AMG body styling, brushed aluminum pedals, MB-Tex-wrapped instrument panel and beltlines, sport steering wheel, AMG floor mats, body color wheel arch trim, upgraded perforated front brake discs), $3450; Driver Assistance package (adaptive Distronic cruise control, active steering assist, active lane-change and -keeping assist, Pre-Safe Plus, blind-spot assist, active brake assist with emergency stop and cross-traffic functions, speed-limit assist), $1950; Cardinal Red Metallic paint, $1750; Panorama sunroof, $1500; 20-inch AMG wheels with black accents, $850; ventilated front seats, $450; SiriusXM satellite radio with six-month trial, $350; Advanced USB package, $300; heated steering wheel, $250; Night package (high-gloss black exterior accents), $200; natural grain black wood trim with aluminum inserts, $200

ENGINEturbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injectionDisplacement: 122 in3, 1991 cm3Power: 255 hp @ 6100 rpmTorque: 295 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm

TRANSMISSION9-speed automatic

CHASSISSuspension,F/R: multilink/multilinkBrakes,F/R: 14.6-in vented, cross-drilled disc/12.6-in vented discTires: Continental EcoContact 6F: 255/45R-20 105W MOR: 285/40R-20 108W MO

DIMENSIONSWheelbase: 113.1 inLength: 185.7 inWidth: 74.4 inHeight: 64.6 inPassenger Volume, F/R: 56/49 ft3 Cargo Volume, Behind F/R: 59/22 ft3 Curb Weight: 4406 lb

C/DTEST RESULTS60 mph: 5.7 sec1/4-Mile: 14.4 sec @95 mph100 mph: 16.2 sec120 mph: 26.7 secResults above omit1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.6 secTop Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.6 secTop Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.5 secTop Speed (mfr's claim): 130 mphBraking, 70–0 mph: 161 ftRoadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.88 g

C/DFUEL ECONOMYObserved: 23 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMYCombined/City/Highway: 26/23/31 mpg


Cars are Andrew Krok’s jam, along with boysenberry. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009, Andrew cut his teeth writing freelance magazine features, and now he has a decade of full-time review experience under his belt. A Chicagoan by birth, he has been a Detroit resident since 2015. Maybe one day he’ll do something about that half-finished engineering degree.

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