Entry price: $50,000
Price as tested: $62,275
This week, we’re behind the wheel of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz 300 GLC 4Matic Coupe, a best seller in North America and one of two GLC 300 models available. One looks like a small SUV, the 300, while one looks like a car, namely our test drive 300 Coupe. In either dress, these nicely designed, German built models are loaded with everything that makes a Mercedes-Benz what they are built to be.
The EPA classified “small SUV” class is where the GLC roams, even though its wheelbase is over 113 inches. The big difference between the two GLC models is our coupe looks like a car while the GLC looks like a hatchback, squared off SUV. Other than that, they are identical and both are powered by a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and feature Mercedes-Benz new SIRI infotainment feature, where all you have to say is “Mercedes, turn the heated seats on,” and your wish is Mercedes-Benz command. Your dealer will show you in person when you meet how well this new interface works.
Since we’re giving out immediate positives, one big negative is where the GLC transmission shift lever is. Unlike most all other manufacturers that use the front console for either a shifter lever or circular switch, Mercedes-Benz has its shift lever where the usual windshield wiper activity is on the small right hand lever on the steering wheel. Until I got used to it, I shifted the car out of drive to neutral about six times driving the freeway on a rainy day. I just can’t figure this one out as to why dash designers would do this.
New for 2020 is a new grille design, with either one bar(Coupe) or two for the SUV 300, an updated front fascia and rear bumper, and LED lighting. The cabin also receives nice upgrades with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) interface and a new 10.25-inch touch screen instead of the previous 7.0- or 8.4-inch displays. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard and able to access the aforementioned SIRI voice commands. I tried “Hey, Mercedes, can you lower the price to $25K for me?” but I didn’t get an answer.
Our GLC with total SUV underpinnings replaced the popular GLK fur years ago, so a bit of model letter history on how Mercedes-Benz utilizes its nomenclature. All of its SUV models utilize “GL,” immediately followed by the model’s class pecking order. The “G” is for Geländewagen (German for off-road) followed by the “L,” which is a bridge to the our “C,” resulting in the GLC being the SUV of the C-Class Mercedes-Benz family of vehicles.
There are also two other GLC models available in North America, namely the performance oriented GLC 43 AMG and GLC 63 AMG. Hoping not to confuse any further, whenever you see an AMG on any class Mercedes-Benz vehicle, it stands for high performance. To break this down, former Mercedes engineers Hans Werner Aufrecht (the A) and Erhard Melcher (the M) began the AMG group (the G) in 1967 building the race engines for the company race cars. It has evolved into the AMGs available on roads today, both daily driver and race track variations.
The brand utilizes high horsepower engines, better performance suspensions and strong looks, especially long front ends and large grilles. AMG models are available on most of the popular Mercedes-Benz classes worldwide. The GLC 43 puts out 385 horsepower from a turbo V6 while a V8 twin-turbo develops 503 horsepower for those who purchase a GLC 63 S Coupe.
Our tester’s new 2.0-liter turbo inline-4 produces 255 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque (up 14 horses versus last year) and connects to the Coupe’s standard 4Matic 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel mileage estimates are 21 city and 28 highway, decent but not outstanding.
Out on the highway, there was just a bit of turbo hesitation when we gave our tester a full-throttle test from zero to 60 mph, but when it did kick in the GLC Coupe moved with authority and reached 60 in just 6.2 to 6.4 seconds. On the highway and country roads GLC is an outstanding handler as its 4-wheel independent suspension features a 4-link front and 5-arm multilink rear setup that assists in every type of road we put in front of it. Overall, the ride quality is good and the cabin is quiet and we can’t forget the 20-inch Pirelli tires on AMG five-spoke alloy wheels that assist in the grip process.
Our tester came with several options that pushed the retail price past $60,000. One was $750 for a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, which is very nice but not necessary as a 10.25-standard display should suffice. Another option (not recommended) is a $2,300 AMG Line option that adds AMG imprint floor mats, brushed aluminum pedals, chrome grille and special brake calipers. None of this makes the GLC 300 faster, which is what AMG is supposed to represent.
On the safety side, all GLC models feature standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, along with driver inattention warning. However, a multitude of extra and/or more advanced features are added with the optional Driver Assistance Package that adds $1,700 to the price. I highly recommend it as blind spot warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning, enhanced forward collision, forward cross-traffic, and Distronic adaptive cruise control system that provides steering assistance, too. New for 2020 is an Active Lane Change Assist and Route-Based Speed Adaptation (slows the GLC down in sharper curves automatically when in cruise control).
The 2020 GLC 300 Coupe 4Matic starts at $50,000 and when adding all other options, including a recommended two-tone AMG leather interior for $1,620 and a few other pricey amenities, the final tally came in at $62,275 including $995 delivery.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 113.1-inches, 4,028 lb. curb weight, 38.7 ft. turn circle, 3,500 lb. tow capacity, 17.6 to 49.4 cu ft. cargo capacity, and a 17.4 gallon premium fuel tank.
We certainly enjoyed our week in the GLC 300 Coupe, as it’s a top choice among the competition.
So let’s end with this: “Hey Mercedes, when will I test drive the AMG GLC 43 or 63?”
Likes: GLC build theory, handling, interior, peppy turbo-4.
Dislikes: Automatic transmission controller location, so-so MPG, controls have learning curve.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.
Test Drive: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic Coupe
Entry price: $50,000