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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC First Drive

Who wouldn’t want a 469-horsepower grocery getter?

Apr 13, 2020
Would you believe us if we were to tell you that Mercedes-Benz's best-selling vehicle currently is a compact SUV? Well, it's true. Mercedes sold nearly 70,000 GLC SUVs in 2019, and this sales leader just received a refresh for 2020. Although it might not look like much at first glance, the 2020 GLC 300 has been treated to a new grille, new headlights, and new taillights, along with reworked front and rear fascias. The AMG model receives unique styling with a more aggressive look, as well as AMG-specific 19-inch wheels and cross-drilled front brake rotors, among other things.
Under the hood of the GLC 300 is a retuned 2.0L turbocharged I-4 that pumps out 255 hp, which is a modest 14 more than the outgoing model. Along with the horsepower comes 273 lb-ft of torque, which works to propel the GLC 300 from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds according to Mercedes' figures, anyway. From behind the wheel, perceived turbo lag is negligible, and the GLC scoots from a stop with only a minimal amount of throttle. The nine-speed automatic transmission fires off shifts with ease, though if you're looking for supercar-like shifting, you're in the wrong place (it is still a compact SUV, after all). Toggling to the more aggressive Sport or Sport+ drive modes firms up transmission shifting and holds gears longer, just as you would expect. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but a 4Matic all-wheel drive system is optional.
Photo 2/21   |   2020 Mercedes Benz Glc 300 Amg 63 First Drive Lineup
As one would expect from a Mercedes-Benz, the ride quality of the GLC 300 was outstanding. We found it to be firm, but in the good hug-the-road and grip-the-corners kind of way. Body roll was minimal, and the steering was light but responsive, making the GLC 300 an all-around blast to drive. It was easy to quickly forget we were piloting an SUV and not some sort of sports car.
Looking at interior appointments, the GLC does not disappoint. For 2020 Mercedes' new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system is standard. At its center is a 10.25-inch touchscreen that pairs nicely with the digital driver information center. Speech recognition works well, and users can control a myriad of vehicle functions by voice. However, the wake phrase "Hey, Mercedes" caused us quite a lot of headaches. This might just be an auto journalist problem, but talking about the vehicle with our co-driver lead the system to chime in constantly. We figure this was unique to our situation, unless you or your spouse are named Mercedes. Also standard for 2020 are Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (because they should be by now), along with safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and LED head- and taillamps.
Photo 3/21   |   2020 Mercedes Benz Glc 300 Amg 63 First Drive
We'd be remiss if we didn't talk about the AMG GLC 63 model. That's right, there's an AMG variant of even the compact GLC. Stuffed under the hood is a fire-breathing, hand-built 4.0L turbocharged V-8. The AMG GLC 63 produces 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard, as is a nine-speed automatic transmission. All told, the AMG GLC 63 will run from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. Want more? Well, you can have it. Move to the coupe version of the AMG GLC 63 S, and the 4.0L V-8 now churns out 503 horsepower and runs from naught to 60 in 3.6 seconds. Remember, compact SUV.
Photo 4/21   |   2020 Mercedes Benz Glc 300 Amg 63 First Drive Rear
The AMG GLC 63 is flat bonkers and loads of fun to drive. Thanks to an intelligent all-wheel drive and sticky Pirelli tires, the AMG GLC carves corners like it's on rails. Wet pavement is no match for it, either, as the hefty SUV accelerates surefootedly even on slick roads. We love the active exhaust, as the note emitted by the V-8 engine is simply heavenly. The transmission behind the AMG V-8 is perfectly tuned and fires off shifts that are quick and crisp, even in Comfort mode. Turned up to Sport+ or Race, things get rowdy in a hurry.
 
Overall, we found the GLC to be a joy to drive, in both 300 and AMG trim. And although the 2020 updates aren't earth shattering, they do help to propel Mercedes' best-selling vehicle forward in a good way.
Photo 5/21   |   2020 Mercedes Benz Glc 300 Amg 63 First Drive Red

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic

Vehicle type: Compact SUV
Base price: $44,500
Price as tested: $60,575
Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged I-4
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Horsepower: 255 @ 5,800 rpm
Torque: 273 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm
Curb weight: 3,977 pounds
Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds
EPA mileage rating: 21 city / 28 hwy
Photo 6/21   |   2020 Mercedes Benz Glc 300 Amg 63 First Drive Display

2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 63

Vehicle type: Compact SUV
Base price: $73,750
Price as tested: $87,445
Engine: 4.0L Turbocharged V-8
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Horsepower: 469 @ 5,000 rpm
Torque: 479 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm
Curb weight: 4,546 pounds
Towing capacity: 3,500 pounds
EPA mileage rating: 16 city / 22 hwy

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