Mercedes GLC 300 4MATIC Coupe — A delightful SUV

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Through the years a coupe in auto parlance meant a vehicle with two doors. German automakers have revised that definition in recent times labeling anything with a fastback design a "coupe." In particular Mercedes-Benz and BMW have introduced a line of fastback crossover SUVs — with four doors — as coupes.

We were skeptical at first about turning a crossover into a fastback. It seemed incongruous. What's the point? No argument, cargo room and perhaps some rear passenger headroom are lost, but then we saw the German results first-hand and discovered that swoopy styling paired with most of the SUV traits of the standard crossover can work in the format if done correctly. And both auto companies have accomplished this transformation with eye-catching vehicles.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe manages to be both comfortable and engaging, and with a long list of driver-assistance features. Introduced as a replacement for the midsize GLK-Class, the GLC-Series has become the most popular SUV in the Mercedes-Benz stable in just four years, outselling even the company’s much-admired, entry-level C-Class sedans and coupes. Available as standard SUV as well as the coupe, GLC-Series sales in the U.S. were 73,650 for 2019, up 5.6 percent over 2018 and over 24,000 more units than the C-Class.

Mercedes-Benz has given the GLC coupe a number of updates for the 2020 model year. The LED headlights, grille, and bumpers have been revised, and some new color and wheel options are available. New fascia front and rear, and part halogen – part LED taillamps are new. Within the cabin, a larger touchscreen has been added that operates Mercedes-Benz's new infotainment system. And the list of available driver-assistance features has been expanded.

Along with the updates is an enhanced plug-in-hybrid model with a bigger battery and a substantial torque increase. Gas-only GLC models feature a new 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an increase in horsepower — up from 241 to 255 — and now delivering power through a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Available models include GLC 300 and 300 4MATIC SUV and coupe, GLC 350e 4MATIC plug-in hybrid SUV, GLC 43 AMG SUV and coupe, and GLC 63 AMG and GLC 63 S AMG coupes.

We drove the GLC 300 4MATIC and found it a solid performer that should please everyone except possibly the need-for-speed guy. The revised turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder now makes 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.

The 300 was well-mannered, solid and sure-footed on our usual winding back-road "test track." All models come with five driving modes, and this allows the driver to tailor the GLC coupe's handling to suit his or her mood and driving conditions. Acceleration is agreeable and overall performance will satisfy a majority of drivers. One downside — the engine was noisy under full throttle but quieted down as soon as we reached our cruising speed. According to Mercedes, the 2.0-liter can sprint from 0-to-60 in a scant 6.2 seconds, and we think that number could be just a bit conservative.

At the same time, the GLC 300 4MATIC returns acceptable gas mileage EPA-rated at 21 mpg city, 28 highway and 24 combined on premium gas. With rear drive only, mileage improves slightly to 22/29/24.

If you want to step it up in terms of price and horsepower, Mercedes has you covered — in a big way. The AMG GLC 43 comes equipped with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 making 385 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. Taking it even a step further, the AMG GLC 63 is propelled by a 469-horsepower turbocharged V-8. The AMG GLC 63 S gets even more horses at 503.

The interior is extremely attractive and upscale with exceptional luxurious appointments and supreme build quality. Leather upholstery is top rate, switchgear is made from finely crafted metals, and veneer appointments include two new wood trims — natural grain grey oak and natural grain walnut — that are nothing short of eye candy. Available upgrades (which are too numerous to mention) include head-up display, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and more. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities are standard, but the upgraded audio system and wireless smartphone charging cost extra.

One of the highlights about the GLC’s technology is its operational redundancy, meaning the driver can control most things like the climate, audio system, and navigation through either the touchscreen, the center-console-mounted touchpad, voice assistance, or steering wheel controls.

Standard safety features include forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, blind spot assist, and rearview camera. Lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control cost extra.

This handsome package of automotive goodies does not come cheap. The GLC 300 4MATIC starts at $50,995 including destination charge. Our test vehicle with about a dozen options carried a bottom line of $65,575. A couple options we highly recommend are the Driver Assistance Package that includes about every safety feature on the market for $1,700; and the Multimedia Package that includes Mercedes' excellent navigation system for $1,250.

If you opt to go for more horsepower and advanced features, the AMG GLC 43 starts are $63,995 and the AMG GLC 63 begins at $85,095 including destination.

Both the basic bumper-to-bumper and drivetrain warranties are 4 years/50,000 miles.

2020 Mercedes GLC 300 Coupe


Base price: $50,995; as driven, $65,575
Engine: turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 255 @ 5,800 rpm
Torque: 273 foot-pounds @ 1,800 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Drive: all-wheel
Seating 2/3
Wheelbase: 113.1 inches
Length: 183.3 inches
Curb weight: 4,028 pounds
Turning circle: 38.7 feet
Luggage capacity: 17.6 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 49.4 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 17.4 gallons (premium)
EPA rating: 21 city, 28 highway, 24 combined
0-60: 6.2 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Porsche Macan, BMW X4, Jaguar F-Pace

The Good
• Excellent base engine
• Agile handling
• Elegant interior design

The Bad
• Less cargo capacity than standard GLC

The Ugly
• Options can drive price up