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Mercedes-Benz Unveils Longer, Quieter GLC 300 SUV

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Mercedes-Benz unveiled a complete redesign of its GLC 300 SUV Wednesday as it works to solidify the crossover and SUV lineup that now makes up the bulk of its U.S. sales.

While the German automaker once relied on sedans for its sales foundation, roles have reversed, making the GLC family the company’s top vehicle globally and second best seller in the U.S. market.

“As the best-selling Mercedes-Benz model in the last two years, it is one of the most important vehicles in our product portfolio,” said Britta Seeger, marketing chief for Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

It is a big change. Back In 2013, Mercedes-Benz sold 88,252 C-Class sedans in the U.S. The sports sedan was Mercedes’ best seller that year. Mercedes sold just 32,553 GLKs, the GLC’s predecessor. Last year Mercedes-Benz sold 41,024 C-Classes while the GLC’s total came in at 47,784. The larger GLE SUV was the automaker’s best seller last year.

The new model is the second generation of the GLC. Though only the GLC 300 was announced today, a high-performance AMG GLC 53 and 63 versions and a plug-in hybrid will follow in the coming months.

A Bigger, More Efficient GLC

The new GLC 300 is longer than, has a wider driving track and includes new technology to improve fuel efficiency and agility.

The U.S. version will have a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gas engine with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, giving the powertrain output of 258 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque similar to the one in the new-for-2022 C-Class. Mercedes will provide the fuel economy numbers and price information closer to next year’s on-sale date. The powertrain has a nine-speed automatic transmission and is available with rear- or all-wheel-drive.

In another technology change, the new model has rear-axle steering that makes the crossover more maneuverable in tight spaces, Mercedes said.

With its 2023 GLC, the German automaker is following cues from U.S. consumers who are gravitating to larger vehicles. The new GLC is 185.7 inches, 2.4 inches longer than the previous generation. Its track width has grown by 0.24 inches at the front to 64.1 inches and 0.91 inches at the rear to 64.6 inches. But overall width is the same at 74.4 inches.

The new design increases luggage capacity to 21.2 cubic feet, almost 10% more than the previous model. The size change also further differentiates it from the smaller and more upright GLB.

An Understated Adventurer

The styling of the 2023 GLC features a redesigned front end with headlamps that connect directly to the radiator grille to accentuate width and emphasize the vehicle’s width. The new radiator grille has a chrome surround and a louver in matte grey with chrome trim.

In keeping with the “adventure” styling trend in crossovers and SUVs, Mercedes equips the new GLC with a chrome underguard, roof rails and optional running boards to provide an outdoorsy character.

At the same time, Mercedes designers have worked to make the GLC quieter. It has filled large parts of the upper body shell structure with acoustic foam. The plugged cavities noticeably reduce the noise level. Additionally, the metal sheets of the drive tunnel cover and flanks are lined with acoustic material.

The automaker also has an eye on buyers looking to take their SUV farther off the beaten path to remote trailheads and camping sites.

The new GLC has an off-road mode, which comes standard with the all-wheel drive. It creates a 360-degree camera view Mercedes calls a “transparent hood.” The display shows a virtual view under the front of the vehicle, including the front wheels and their steering position. It is designed to help the driver spot obstacles such as large stones or deep potholes more quickly. Additionally, the off-road display shows inclination, gradient, topographical altitude and geo-coordinates.

Updated Tech

Inside, the GLC has two LCD screens. One is 12.3 inches and sits behind the steering wheel to provide driver information. The other, 11.9 inches, is in the center dash for infotainment operations and navigation. They merge into a horizontal cabin design not dissimilar to that of the big S-Class.

The new GLC comes with the second generation of the MBUX, or Mercedes-Benz User Experience, infotainment system. It uses a “Hey Mercedes” voice command to access navigation and music and manage some controls.

Mercedes also worked to shore up its luxury image in the design of the 2023 GLC. For example, it made features such as the larger screens, smartphone integration, wireless charging and heated front seats standard equipment.

The automaker is also reworking its pricing structure by bundling frequently ordered functional features into equipment packages. The 2023 GLC won’t be on sale until late this year, and more detailed pricing information will emerge closer to its arrival at dealerships.

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