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      2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC First Drive Review

      Sagar Bhanushali

      Sagar Bhanushali

      Why would I buy it?

      • Premium interiors 
      • High performance 
      • Plush ride 

      Why would I avoid it?

      • Pricing could be high 
      • Fiddly touch-sensitive controls

      Engine and Performance

      Mercedes-Benz New GLC Engine Shot

      One can buy the new Mercedes-Benz GLC with either a 2-litre diesel or a 2-litre turbo petrol engine, which is what we have driven here. And right off the bat, I can tell you that this will be a properly relaxing car to live with on a daily basis. It may only be a 2-litre engine but it is high on refinement and quite powerful, too. Speaking of which, the way it delivers its power lower down the rev range, it feels like a bigger engine than it actually is, although I suspect that’s mainly because of the mild-hybrid setup that the new GLC gets. In fact, the setup adds another 23bhp and 200Nm of torque for times when this 2-litre engine isn’t producing its peak power. So, it basically gives the petrol engine a certain amount of boost to keep the power flow constant and smooth.

      Mercedes-Benz New GLC Infotainment System

      Coming to the GLC’s drive modes, it has the Comfort, Eco, Sport, and Individual modes. Naturally, Eco mode dulls everything so your throttle response, AC, and more are dialled down. It’s not exactly effortless and I think the GLC feels the happiest when you drive it in Comfort mode. Here, the engine is responsive, there is always enough power, and like every other Mercedes, it truly feels at home. Switch it to Sport mode, and Mercedes says the GLC can accelerate from 0-100kmph in just 6.2 seconds.

      Mercedes-Benz New GLC Infotainment System

      Besides all of this, the India-spec GLC also comes with an off-road package that adds hill descent control, an additional ground clearance of 20mm, and a really cool transparent bonnet view for times when you need to navigate across a narrow trail. However, this fancy camera-based feature works only if you drive below 8kmph. 

      Ride and Handling

      Mercedes-Benz New GLC Left Side View

      As for the ride quality and the overall driving experience, the GLC does a good job of cocooning you from the outside world. There is hardly any road noise and the ride quality itself is plush for the most part. It runs fine over smooth tarmac but you can feel the firmness when you're driving over rutted roads or going through a deep pothole. However, it doesn't feel cumbersome to drive in traffic or while parking as the GLC has 360-degree cameras and parking sensors all around.

      Exterior Design

      Mercedes-Benz New GLC Left Front Three Quarter

      The GLC’s looks haven't changed a great deal despite it being a completely new car. There are quite a few hints of the old model in its silhouette, but when it comes to the details, everything is new. Overall, it's pretty clear that this is a progressive and positive change. It's not a night-and-day difference and I think that's a good thing because the GLC has always been a good-looking SUV. For this new model, they have played around with the current family design, which is why you will see a bit of the EQC and the GLE in the GLC. In terms of dimensions, the new GLC is longer than the old model and has a slightly longer wheelbase as well. What has really improved though is the boot space. At 620 litres, its capacity is much larger than that of the old GLC. The boot, in fact, is massive and there is easily enough room for a big holiday's worth of luggage. 

      Comfort, Convenience and Features

      Mercedes-Benz New GLC Instrument Cluster

      You can tell that the old GLC belongs to the previous generation of the Mercedes Benz line-up once you are in it. It is nice and classy but nowhere as flashy as the GLB and the GLA, which are of course less expensive. There is nothing traditional or understated about its interior anymore. You get a large main display headlining the features list, which includes electrically adjustable leather seats, a 15-speaker Burmester sound system, wireless charging, a panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, rear window blinds, a highly configurable driver's display, and the latest version of the MBUX multimedia system. For safety, there are seven airbags, blind spot assist, active lane keep assist, active brake assist, and a 360-degree surround-view camera setup. 

      Mercedes-Benz New GLC Center Console/Centre Console Storage

      In terms of the overall look, it all adds up, and this is how the GLC’s cabin should look too, given how expensive this car is now going to be. As for the second row, there’s a reasonable amount of room. It is, of course, nowhere near as substantial as the GLE, which is sold as a long-wheelbase model here in India. But when you compare it to the GLB, which I think will end up being quite close to this car in terms of pricing, the overall sense of space that you get in the new GLC is much better and so is the actual seat comfort. 


      Mercedes-Benz New GLC Rear View

      So that’s the new Mercedes-Benz GLC for you. It may remind you of the old GLC when you look at it, but step inside the cabin and it’s a brave new world. Everything right from the design, technology, and comfort features are up to date, and I am glad the GLC can finally compete with the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5 when it comes to that feel-good factor. If you ask me, this car strikes a good balance between the two. After all, the X3 is on the sporty side and the Q5, I guess, is all about unassuming luxury.

      Mercedes-Benz New GLC Right Rear Three Quarter

      Ultimately, the petrol-powered GLC offers a good balance of performance and luxury. But there is the matter of price because now you have the GLB, which is sold at a price that the old GLC used to command. It would be safe to assume then that this much-improved 2023 GLC is going to be way more expensive than its predecessor now that it has moved up the SUV ladder in the Mercedes range. 

      Pictures by Kapil Angane

      Mercedes-Benz | new GLC | Mercedes-Benz New GLC