Mercedes-Benz Updates GLC and GLC Coupe for 2020
Popular SUV Gets New Styling and Added Power in Midcycle Refresh
As the bestselling Mercedes-Benz in 2018 (and one of its bestselling ever since it was launched for 2016), the GLC family of SUVs is very important to both the company’s bottom line and its public image. After all, you’d want your most commonly seen model to be a worthy standard-bearer for the company, even if it’s not the most expensive.
Mercedes will bolster the GLC and GLC Coupe against competition from the BMW X3 and X4 (including first-ever M models for both) by giving them a modest update for 2020. As far as midcycle facelifts go, the GLC’s changes are fairly expected—new front and rear fascias, the latest infotainment tech, and a mostly academic bump in power courtesy of a new base engine.
Family RootsThe 2020 GLC’s face cuts a more aggressive figure than the model it replaces, with more angular headlamps that feature a slick, hoop-shaped LED light signature inspired by the AMG GT sports coupe. All GLCs now get standard LED headlights, ditching déclassé halogens and so-last-decade HIDs for a more sophisticated appearance even on base models.
The standard grille features double-louvered bisecting bars, while the AMG Line’s radiator opening, seen on the red GLC Coupe shown here, gets the company’s unusual and attractive diamond-block grille pattern. AMG Line gets an aggressive and on-road–biased sports bumper, while standard GLCs feature a polished, skidplate-aping lower grille that imparts a more rugged persona. Front air inlets under the headlamps on both the conventional GLC and the AMG Line recall the recently released 2020 GLE.
2020’s rear end is largely similar to 2019’s. New taillights with LED light rings are the most obvious change, although Mercedes says the rear bumper, exhaust outlets, and chromed skidplate are new. Both the GLC and GLC Coupe shown boast surprisingly robust-looking rocker covers, tying the polished front and rear skidplates together.
Avant-Garde AccommodationsAdmittedly, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC and GLC Coupe’s interior styling is mostly carryover from 2019, but the high-cowled cockpit has been revised with the company’s latest infotainment and convenience technology. That means the debut of Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX), which bundles such features as augmented-reality navigation, MBUX Interior Assistant, and more. MBUX allows the driver to use any of five different interfaces to control the system: the center touchscreen, through thumbpads on the steering wheel spokes, with a touchpad on the center console, via camera-monitored gesture commands, and with voice control.
MBUX is most easily controlled via voice commands—simply prompt the system with “Hey Mercedes,” then make your request. “Hey Mercedes” can change any of the climate settings, tune to a specific radio station or audio track, activate seat heating and massage functions, make phone calls, and search for navigation destinations. Its natural speech function is also very effective and intuitive.
Other tech-happy convenience features include an available Driver Assistance package that bundles Distronic adaptive cruise control, Evasive Steering Assist and Emergency Stop Assist, and Route Based Speed Adaptation. The latter feature helps the driver prepare for unexpected events on the road ahead, like surprise traffic jams, roundabouts, toll plazas, and other traffic-slowing obstacles.
Engine RoomThe 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 will come equipped with an all-new engine. With the same displacement as its predecessor, the 2.0L I-4 is twin-scroll turbocharged for 255 hp and 273 lb-ft, the former an improvement of 14 hp. As before, the power goes through a nine-speed automatic transmission on its way to the rear or all four wheels, and Mercedes-Benz claims the new engine will feature improved efficiency and emissions compared to the outgoing 2.0L turbo.
The company’s international media materials make mention of a 48V belt-start generator fit to the GLC 300, but such a feature isn’t included in U.S. info. Internationally, the 48V electrical system adds about 13 hp and improves powertrain smoothness and efficiency. We hope the U.S. gets a crack at the new tech sometime soon.
Overall, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC and GLC Coupe look good, even if they change little relative to the vehicles they replace. The all-LED lighting is a very pleasant concession to modern technology—who wants to live in a world where a base Toyota Corolla gets LED lights but a $45,000 Mercedes doesn’t? And the MBUX-heavy interior should significantly improve ergonomics compared to the outgoing COMAND system. Still to be confirmed are the updates to the AMG-branded 2020 GLC 43 and GLC 63, but we’re sure they’ll receive similar functionality upgrades and styling changes. Expect the 2020 GLC to hit dealers by late 2019, with pricing going up incrementally across the board.