We expect a lot from a small crossover SUV. It’s one of the most competitive segments in the automotive industry, full of vehicles that offer elevated views, plenty of passenger space and large cargo capacity as an alternative to their sedan and hatchback counterpart. In the luxury category, expectations are higher because the crossover must be very quiet, smooth and powerful. Measured by this standard, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class managed to stand out.
Most of the 2018 GLC advantages come from its exceptional cabin design. Every detail, from metal speaker covers to the leatherette-trimmed dash and open porous wood trim, seems too much. The interior just feels more expensive than any other luxury crossover.
Attention to detail continues when you pick the high-performance AMG model. Not only do you get a powerful V6 and V8 engine that will skyrockets the GLC away, you also get upgrades such as bigger brakes, sport-tuned air suspension and summer tires to maximize the extra power. Pound for pounds, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is one of the best small luxury crossovers on the market.
For 2018, two new models join the lineup: the GLC 350e plug-in hybrid and the high-performance AMG GLC 63. Heated wipers are now standard, while the Smartphone Integration package now includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Mercedes has also renamed some packages to better convey the features added.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is a five-passenger small luxury crossover SUV that offered in four trim levels: GLC 300, GLC 350e plug-in hybrid, AMG GLC 43 and AMG GLC 63.
Standard equipment for the base GLC 300 includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension damping, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, power-folding and auto-dimming driver side mirrors, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, adjustable drive settings, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a power-adjustable driver seat with memory functions, simulated leather upholstery (MB-Tex), 40/20/40-split power-folding rear seats, Mbrace Connect with smartphone app integration, a 7-inch infotainment display and an eight-speaker sound system with two USB ports and HD radio.
The GLC 300 Premium package adds keyless ignition and entry, blind-spot monitoring, a 115-volt power outlet and satellite radio.
Except for electric motor and battery pack, the GLC 350e plug-in hybrid is mostly similar to what’s offered in the GLC 300.
The AMG GLC 43 adds 20-inch wheels, a sport-tuned air suspension, heated front seats, a sport steering wheel, simulated-suede seat inserts and the GLC 300’s Premium package contents. The AMG GLC 63 further adds LED headlights, a mechanical limited-slip differential, upgraded brakes, variable torque distribution for the all-wheel-drive system and a 14-speaker premium Burmester surround-sound system.
Most optional packages are available across the 2018 GLC lineup. The Driver Assistance package adds forward collision warning and mitigation with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and mitigation plus the GLC 300 Premium package contents. The Advanced Parking Assist package adds front and rear parking sensors, a top-down parking camera system, a hands-free liftgate and an automated parking system. The Advanced Lighting package adds automatic high-beam control, adaptive LED headlights, illuminated door sills and interior ambient lighting.
The Multimedia package gets you an 8.4-inch central display screen, a navigation system and touchpad controller. There’s also an option that bundles Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but it’s incompatible with the Multimedia and Driver Assistance packages.
Stand-alone options include 21-inch wheels, and the AMG Line (GLC 300 only), which adds GLC 43’s upgraded brakes, a flat-bottom steering wheel, interior and exterior appearance modifications. The Night package adds glossy black exterior elements.
Luxury features are also available, such as ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, rear side-window shades, a head-up display, a cabin fragrance and air purification system, various trim accents and multiple premium leather upholsteries. The GLC 300 can be added with the AMG models sport exhaust system, while an upgraded performance exhaust is available for the AMG models.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is offered with four different powertrains. All-wheel drive system (4Matic) is standard on all except the GLC 300, where it’s an option that replaces the rear-wheel drive. The GLC 350e get a seven-speed automatic transmission, and the other models use a nine-speed automatic. All engines also feature with an automatic stop-start technology, which shut off the engine in order to save fuel.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. In performance testing, a rear-wheel-drive GLC 300 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, while the 4Matic did it in 5.9 seconds, which is quick for vehicles in this class equipped with the base engine. EPA fuel economy is impressive at 24 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway) for RWD models and 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway) with 4Matic.
The 2018 GLC 350e plug-in hybrid 4Matic uses the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and 114-hp electric motor. This combination produces a total output of 315 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes-Benz estimates the GLC 350e will reach 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. EPA fuel economy is estimated to be 74 MPGe when starting with a fully charged battery and 25 mpg when operating in normal hybrid mode. The maximum driving range on electric mode is 10 miles with 87 mph top speed. Charging takes less than 2.5 hours with a Level 2 connection.
The 2018 AMG GLC 43 4Matic gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine good for 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. In performance testing, the AMG GLC 43 went to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, which is seriously quick. The EPA estimates it will earn 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway).
The 2018 AMG GLE 63 has a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that makes 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. It gets a sport-tuned version of the nine-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode. In track testing, the 2018 AMG GLE 63 S hit 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 174 mph. Fuel economy rating at 18 mpg combined (15 city/22 highway).
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class interior is almost the same as the C-Class sedan where it’s based, and it’s very good. The modern design features elegant central stacks wrapped in a single wood veneer when transitioning to the center console. Construction and quality of materials are exceptional. Only buttons and knobs appear, with a support system controlled through the infotainment system.
Despite its compact SUV size, the 2018 GLC interior is very spacious and comfortable. The front seat is padded and optimally shaped for long distance driving, and the rear seats easily accommodate 6-foot passengers. Cargo capacity is smaller than a rival luxury SUV, with 20.5 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 56.5 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. Although smaller, the cargo space is still very useful and sufficient for your needs. The standard power-folding rear seats and hands-free liftgate are convenient when loading large items.
Release Date and Price
Official pricing for the base GLC 300 starts at $41,045, (include destination fee). The GLC 350e start at $49,990, while the AMG GLC 43 has a price tag of $57,245. The range-topping AMG GLC 63 is priced at $69,900.