The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 Doesn’t Fix What Wasn’t Broken

The new 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 packs a bevy of screens inside and an updated powertrain aimed at efficiency.

byAaron Cole|

Mercedes-Benz would like you to know that it won’t sell as many models as before, for prices that aren’t as low as they’ve been. Mercedes-Benz would also like you to know those plans have nothing to do with the new GLC. That’s because the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 revealed Wednesday eventually will come with the same menu of variants as the model it replaces: a plug-in hybrid powertrain, “coupe” body styles, and hot AMG versions. Frankly speaking, the 2023 GLC looks like its predecessor, too—why mess with success. 

For now, the 2023 GLC300 is the only mid-size SUV from Mercedes-Benz coming to the States, with or without all-wheel drive, which Mercedes calls 4Matic. The lone powertrain initially on tap for U.S. buyers is relatively straightforward, with a key addition this time around. The GLC300 will be equipped with a turbo-four paired with an integrated starter-generator for off-the-line acceleration and efficiency. The total system power output is 258 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque if any potential GLC300 buyers are interested.

Not many will be because the specs that matter more to GLC300 shoppers are what’s in front of their faces—literally. In front of the driver is a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, and an 11.9-inch touchscreen is at their fingertips for infotainment and vehicle settings. That setup was plucked from the S Class, as were the sound-deadening materials, digital light display, interior materials, and a trick rear-wheel steering system that won’t be offered in the U.S. 

The wall of screens, dubbed MBUX by Mercedes-Benz, adds streaming music services, news delivery customization, and a fingerprint scanner to log in to your settings. Neat. MBUX also can be configured for the type of mood you’re in, according to Mercedes. There’s “Classic” for when a drive is just a drive, “Sport” for when it’s more than that, and “Understated” relays the bare minimum of information and bathes the interior with ambient color lighting. The “Navigation” setting focuses on what it says, “Service” for individualized info, and “Assistance” can be switched on when you’re curious about how long you’ll be stuck in traffic, toggling through the different modes. The last and newest mode, “Off-Road,” underscores the GLC’s usability when the pavement ends. It also turns on the GLC’s off-road party trick, a “transparent” hood to see under the GLC’s front feet—also helpful when parking, too. Other automakers such as Land Rover have offered the feature, but we’ll see what Mercedes’ spin on the camera tech will be when the car arrives later this year. 

Beyond screens and more screens, the GLC hits a familiar note with all the luxury trappings: available Burmeister sound with 15 speakers, head-up display, driver-assistance technology with adaptive cruise control and lane control, and navigation with augmented video. For 2023, Mercedes upgraded its emergency braking system to react at speeds up to 60 mph for vehicles stopped ahead, and the GLC will stop itself if it doesn’t detect driver input for long enough. 

Are you still wondering about that powertrain? I’m skeptical that’s true, but since you asked so nicely: The GLC300 pairs the turbo-four with an integrated starter-generator to a nine-speed automatic only. It’s a familiar pairing, and the second generation of starter-generator motors promises more efficiency and more refinement, according to Mercedes. The GLC300 will be available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and ride on up to 20-inch wheels. 

The automaker confirmed a plug-in hybrid was in the works for the U.S. but didn’t specify any details. The same goes for the AMG-massaged versions of the GLC, which have been available as a mild AMG GLC43 and a wild AMG GLC63. Those were all but confirmed by Mercedes, with the automaker touting that there’ll be more to discuss with the GLC later. There’s a battery-electric-sized elephant in the room, but Mercedes isn’t talking about it too much. The electric-only EQC was based on the outgoing GLC and not sold in the U.S. This time around, Mercedes is almost definitely bringing an electric, mid-size luxury SUV to the States, but the automaker says it won’t have anything to do with this newest GLC. 

Even without an electric-only variant, the new 2023 GLC is almost guaranteed to be a best seller. 

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