- The Mercedes-Benz GLC-class crossover, the automaker's top-selling vehicle in the U.S. market, gets some upgrades for the 2020 model year.
- The new GLC300 adopts the inline-four engine also used in Mercedes-Benz's C-class cars, increasing the GLC's output by 14 horsepower to 255 hp.
- The new GLC will go on sale in late 2019 after a global debut at the Geneva auto show in early March.
Judged by popularity alone, it's a crossover world-we just live in it. Case in point: the Mercedes Benz GLC compact crossover. Mercedes says it's currently the number-one-selling Mercedes-Benz model in the United States, and the refreshed 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC has just arrived to capitalize on that heat.
The updates start with a mildly refreshed exterior, one claimed to telegraph a sportier personality. Standard LED headlamps housed in slimmer lens casings team with a significantly contoured grille intersected by dual louvers over a latticework mesh. Mercedes's Intelligent Light System, which adds active curve illumination and adaptive high-beam assist, is optional. The rear gets a revised bumper, LED taillamps, and exhaust tips; the chromed lower skid plate emphasizes its professed off-road roots and intent. Several new wheel designs are on offer, ranging in size from 18 to 20 inches. Two new exterior colors, Graphite Grey and Selenite Grey Magno, join the palette for 2020.
Opting for the AMG Line trim brings a slightly more aggressive front bumper and a diamond-block grille in front and angular exhaust tips in the rear. A set of 19-inch AMG split five-spoke wheels is standard, while 20-inch AMG Y five-spoke wheels are optional. Inside, sport seats with high side bolsters add a level of sporting character while helping to keep passengers in place during active maneuvers.
As in the related C-class, arguably the most significant upgrade to the GLC is the arrival of the newer M264 engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, as the base powerplant in the GLC300. It replaces the outgoing M274 engine, also a turbocharged inline-four. Rated at 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, the engine offers an additional 14 horsepower and 2 lb-ft of torque compared to its predecessor. Offering more than just a slight boost in output, the new engine is claimed to increase fuel economy significantly while reducing CO2 emissions. (Neither fuel economy or emissions have yet been released.) Both rear- and all-wheel-drive GLC300 models come with this engine mated to the carryover nine-speed automatic transmission.
Minor powertrain and safety upgrades include an updated version of the Dynamic Select system with expanded functions to handle individual requests from the driver related to handling and the requirements of unique road conditions. Mercedes-Benz's 4Matic all-wheel drive has also been advanced, Mercedes going as far as to say it "has been newly developed from the ground up" and stating that it now offers a wider spread of control for "even more dynamics in the Sport and Sport+ drive modes." (The usual lineup of drive mods includes Comfort, Eco , Sport, Sport+, and Individual.)
Our take is that both of these upgrades constitute a reasonably comprehensive software overhaul aimed at expanding the fun zone before the system steps in and blows the whistle.
Technology upgrades are a given, and the new GLC offers numerous redundant methods of interacting with it.. In the new GLC, users can connect by the touch control on the center multimedia display, by using the touch control buttons on the multifunction steering wheel, with the multifunction touchpad on the center console, by using the gesture/movement recognition of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) Interior Assistant, or by voice control, accessed either by button on the steering wheel or using the casual "Hey Mercedes” voice prompt. Although the MBUX acronym sounds like a private currency used only by S- and G-class owners, it actually debuted on the A-class. Additionally, Mercedes says the voice command system has been revised for more natural operation.
Widescreen displays dominate the dash. The 10.3-inch center multimedia display is joined, if you pony up for it, by an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. There are three individual formats to best suit the mood of the interior: Classic is an advancement of the familiar Mercedes- Benz design, Sport presents a stronger high-contrast look, and Progressive is meant to visualize high-tech modernity.
As before, the available Driver Assistance package offers a comprehensive suite of safety features including adaptive cruise control with braking, active steering assist with lane-change and speed-limit assist, lane-keeping assist, route-based speed adaptation (adjusts speed ahead of toll plazas, roundabouts, and other immobile inconveniences), blind-spot monitoring, active brake assist with cross-traffic alert, and Mercedes' Pre-Safe Plus collision-readiness technology.
The crossover segment shows no sign of slowing, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC compact crossover is sure to keep finding customers in record numbers. Interested buyers should expect to see it arrive in showrooms in late 2019. Pricing has not yet been revealed.
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