The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class has been previewed ahead of its global debut undergoing intense cold-weather testing. Mercedes engineers took prototypes to testing sites in Arjeplog, Sweden to put them through durability testing when temperatures are below freezing. Additionally, the GLC-Class’s suspension got put through tough road conditions like icy hills with a gradient of up to 20 percent, test tracks with different friction coefficient levels, and sheer ice courses meant to push the vehicle to its limits.
In addition to evaluating handling and durability, engineers took the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and optimized the crossover’s level of comfort. An optional Driving package includes an air suspension, adaptive dampers, and rear-wheel steering to further improve the GLC’s ride and handling balance. In total, the prototypes will cover over 100,000 km or 62,000 miles several times over by the time final tests are done.
In addition to the turbocharged 2.0-liter engines featuring a new 48-volt system with a starter-generator making 23 hp and 194 lb-ft of torque, the GLC-Class will get three plug-in hybrid variants. Two of those will use Mercedes-Benz’s latest 2.0-liter turbo-four gas engine while the third is based on a diesel four-pot of the same displacement. They’ll be paired to a lithium-ion battery and new electric motor making 134 hp and 325 lb-ft. The latter was specially developed for this application and will be integrated within the nine-speed automatic transmission.
On its own, the 2.0-liter turbo-four makes 255 hp and 295 lb-ft in its most potent form. Should that be the basis for the higher output PHEV variant of the GLC, it could easily be as powerful as the current generation AMG GLC 43 with its twin-turbo V6. Since it’s closely related to the new C-Class, the next-generation GLC-Class will likely turn to electrification on performance-oriented models. With AMG developing incredibly powerful plug-in hybrid systems based on the brand’s new 2.0-liter turbo-four, there’s no doubt that hotter variants of the GLC-Class and C-Class will retain the V8 levels of power
According to Mercedes, the plug-in hybrid GLC-Class will be able to travel over 100 km or 62 miles in all-electric mode on the WLTP cycle. Expect that to be lower in the more conservative EPA cycle. Currently, the Lexus NX 450h+ and Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge Extended Range are the only luxury plug-in hybrid compact crossovers that can travel over 30 miles in all-electric mode. The Audi Q5 PHEV and Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring are good for 23 and 28 miles respectively. BMW’s X5 xDrive45e goes 31 miles in all-electric mode but is a size larger and competes with the GLC’s big brother, the GLE-Class.
The 2023 GLC-Class will introduce improved driver assistance features. Its adaptive cruise control system now responds to stationary vehicles at up to 100 km/h or 62 mph. Active steering assist’s operational window has been expanded to 210 km/h or 130 mph while its lane-centering component remains active at city speeds and on winding roads by using the surround-view camera system to detect road markings. This also improves its functionality during highway driving. Improved sensors should make parking and low-speed driving easier, especially with the rear-wheel steering system that turns the rear wheels by 4.5 degrees. A new Trailer Maneuvering Assist system will also enable you to execute 90-degree turn maneuvers when you back up into your trailer.
The 2023 GLC-Class will get the latest version of the MBUX infotainment system complete with a virtual assistant. It will feature a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and an 11.9-inch main touch screen as standard equipment. A special off-road menu and augmented reality capability will be available. The surround-view camera projects the hood transparently in off-road mode to show you what’s under the crossover’s front end.
Expect the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class to debut later this year. It will go on sale in Europe first with the U.S. following suit next year. In terms of powertrain availability, the standard GLC 300 with the 48-volt system should arrive first followed by the plug-in hybrid with the highest output, likely wearing the GLC 350e nomenclature. The AMG variants, which will also be plug-in hybrids, should follow six months to a year after the standard crossover goes on sale.