The GLC 300 comes standard in rear-wheel drive configuration with the Mercedes all-wheel drive system known as 4MATIC optional. In both cases, drivers will be working with a 255 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder paired with the “9G-TRONIC” 9-speed transmission. DYNAMIC SELECT, which is a standard feature, allows for selection of preset Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes or an Individual option for those that prefer to customize the throttle, shifting and chassis settings. This powertrain gets the 2021 GLC close to 30 MPG on the highway.
All GLCs come with LED headlights and tail lamps plus an optional intelligent lighting system. This feature will adapt the high beams to the ambient conditions and adjust the low beam light pattern to better illuminate bends in the road while reducing glare for other drivers. You can select the AMG Line Night package to achieve the sharp AMG model looks – 20” wheels, chiseled bodywork and gloss black trim – without the big bump in cost for the full AMG treatment. A truly useful exterior option is HANDS FREE ACCESS that will let owners “kick” under the rear bumper so that the tailgate automatically opens.
Inside you’ll find the high level of luxurious appointments expected of a Mercedes as standard equipment, with their signature MB-Tex upholstery, natural grain wood and genuine aluminum trim. While heated front seats and dual zone climate control are also standard, you’ll need to check the option box for things like Nappa leather, a panoramic sunroof and heads up display.
MBUX, which is the acronym for Mercedes’ infotainment system, now comes with next-generation voice control that utilizes AI to constantly learn and improve its responses. MBUX can also be controlled via the central touchscreen, console touchpad and steering wheel buttons. That aforementioned touchscreen is just over 10” wide and can be complimented by the available 12.3” reconfigurable digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration comes with all new GLC’s while higher end features like a wireless charging pad and Burmester Surround Sound audio are optional.
Newly standard this year is the PARKTRONIC with Active Parking Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, which uses an array of sensors to determine if the GLC can fit in a parking spot and will then assist with performing the maneuver. Other standard assistance features include adaptive braking with hill start assist, a crosswind assist that comes in handy on bridge crossings and a driver attentiveness monitor. There is a much longer list of optional systems that are bundled into the stand-alone $1700 Driver Assistance Package. The usual suspects of adaptive cruise control and lane assist are in there along with a clever route-based speed function that will change vehicle speed depending on upcoming curves, junctions, tollbooths, etc.
On the whole, this new GLC 300 is a solid SUV with plenty of power, a smooth ride and stylish design that is pure Mercedes Benz. Look for a blend of style, luxury and functionality inside, ample passenger space and soft supportive seats. On the downside, the MBUX touchpad can be frustrating to use and many of the higher end niceties are optional which can ratchet up the price. For more of George’s thoughts on the 2021 GLC, please check out the video above. Drivers Only scores the 2021 Mercedes Benz 300 GLC 4Matic a 98, please click here to see how it stacks up against the competition: Best Compact Luxury SUVs for 2020 & 2021.
Front-engine, rear- or all-wheel drive, 5-passenger SUV
16-valve DOHC 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-4: 255 hp, 273 lb-ft
Wheelbase: 113.1 in
Curb Weight: 2889-3977 lb
0-60 mph: 6.1 sec
¼ mile: 14.2 sec @ 96 mph
Top speed: 130 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY