2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV Gets Roomier, More Efficient and Electrified

The second-generation Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV debuted this week showing off a familiar profile, high-tech features and new levels of efficiency. Mercedes first showed the model as the base GLC 300 though many more versions of the two-row model are expected to be shown soon.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 features compact compact luxury SUV proportions, a mild-hybrid four-cylinder engine, more formidable off-road chops, and the ability to stream music.

The new GLC 300 is 2.4 inches longer and 0.16 inches lower than its predecessor. The track widths have been increased at the front and rear. Overall width is the same, but buyers get an additional 2.5 cubic feet of cargo space over the previous generation and a power tailgate.

Mercedes designers have revised the GLC's body for the new model year. It comes with a redesigned front end with headlights that now connect directly to an AMG-Line Mercedes-starred grille with matte gray louvers. From the side, the GLC 300 only gets a few character lines, the upper of which meets new taillights that stretch across the rear. Wheel choices start at 18 inches and max out at 20 inches, with several options in color and texture.

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The 2023 GLC 300 uses its 2.0-liter four-cylinder power plant to deliver 258 horsepower (hp) and 295 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque (up from 255 hp and 273 lb-ft in the previous generation). The EQ Boost mild-hybrid system uses the battery and integrated starter/generator to deliver short bursts of 23-hp and 148 lb-ft of torque to enhance the passing and off-the-line experience.

A nine-speed automatic transmission continues as standard while rear- or all-wheel drive layouts are offered. No matter the drivetrain, the GLC 300 can get from zero to 60 miles per hour (mph) in 6.2 seconds, on its way to a limited top speed of 130 mph.

Once the pavement ends, the Mercedes-Benz GLC can use hill descent control (called Downhill Speed Reduction by the automaker) to control motion. Paired with multiple cameras offering a 360 view and a new "transparent hood" feature, the system shows a virtual view underneath the vehicle, including the wheel placement and position so drivers can avoid obstacles.

The 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster shows inclination, gradient, topographical altitude, geo-coordinates and a compass, as well as road and engine speed. The 11.9-inch infotainment touch screen shows the current position of the SUV in the terrain as well as the steering angle of the front wheels.

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Inside, the new GLC 300 comes with aircraft-inspired vents and dashboard structure that houses the two displays and connects to the armrest. There's only one physical button for driver's to push, the engine start/stop button on the dashboard. Everything else is controlled through the screen or with the steering wheel.

The door panels are simpler than before with seat controls sitting above a metal armrest with window switches. As with the previous model, ambient light strips are placed throughout the cabin. The GLC also has a new contoured, sweeping seat design with perforated leather and a few new open pore wood trims are offered.

A number of technology upgrades are designed to increase the vehicle's appeal. This includes a smarter adaptive cruise that can react to stopped vehicles on the road at speeds of up to 60 mph (it was 30 mph).

Mercedes says it has made the standard parking system easier to use and added a new one. The Parking Package adds the 360-degree camera and Active Parking Assist with Parktronic. That system helps the driver see what's around them when parking. Alternatively, Mercedes technology can take the wheel and park itself.

Digital Light headlights can target light distribution. The driver is able to see what's in front of them with the high beams, while the lights themselves can dim small portions so as not to blind drivers in the other lanes. It can also highlight pedestrians standing near the road to further safe travels.

The 2023 GLC will compete with the BMW X3 ($43,700), Audi Q5 ($43,300) and the Lexus RX ($45,920 for the 2022 model year). Mercedes didn't announce the price yet, but it is expected to stick close to its competitors. Only the Lexus still offered a V6, but the 2023 model will also ditch it in lieu of a more efficient four-cylinder.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC goes on sale in the U.S. in the first half of next year.