$27,610 - $56,667

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class was new.


Performance: 8.1

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC offers an array of turbocharged engines, all of which feel energetic when you’re behind the wheel. The slick-shifting transmission pairs well with all of them, and the composed handling means you don’t have to fear winding roads. Still, the handling can't match some of the sharpest entries in the class. Befitting a Mercedes, the GLC delivers a supple ride even over rough pavement.

  • "The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 shares 70 percent of its parts with the praiseworthy C-Class sedan, giving it a solid base of aesthetic appeal, driver engagement and maneuverability." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "The GLC's solid, substantial feel is enhanced greatly by its precise and communicative steering, confident linear braking and brisk acceleration. We can expect the latter to be even better as a result of the more powerful 4-cylinder engine slated for the North American market. The 9-speed automatic is seamless in operation and should deliver excellent highway mpg numbers thanks to the top three overdrive gears." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "The GLC may not be particularly exciting from the enthusiast driver's perspective, but driving excitement wouldn't seem to be among the top reasons people buy compact luxury-brand SUVs. The GLC is never sedating, either. It's up to whatever any driver is likely to ask of it, and it's a much better transportation appliance than the GLK." -- Autoweek (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The Mercedes GLC300 comes with a 241-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. This engine is responsive and has plenty of power even for high-energy maneuvers like highway merging and passing. You can also choose between five driving modes that alter throttle response and shift timing if you want a more athletic feel.

The 2018 GLC 350e – a plug-in hybrid – has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor that combine to make 320 horsepower. All-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters are standard.

There are also two performance-oriented options that have more power and faster acceleration. AMG GLC43 models come with a 362-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. The new-for-2018 GLC63 features a twin-turbocharged V8 engine that puts out 469 horsepower, and the GLC63S coupe’s twin-turbo V8 produces 503 horsepower.

With the base engine, the GLC gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Those ratings are average for a luxury compact SUV. The AMG GLC43 is less efficient, earning 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The GLC 350e plug-in hybrid is unsurprisingly the most fuel-efficient model in the lineup – but not by much when running on gas alone. It gets a combined 25 mpg city/highway. With gas and electric power, it returns 74 mpg-e city/highway.

  • "The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is smooth and has plenty of reserve for passing and climbing, and the 9-speed automatic transmission delivers seamless gear changes. When the Dynamic Select Mode is set to Sport or Sport+, those same shifts become much more noticeable, which is exactly what you want." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The four-cylinder engine packs plenty of power, yielding confident acceleration and authoritative passing power. The selectable drive modes alter the GLC's personality from leisurely to sporty by changing the throttle response and transmission shift points." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "It's a great engine for just getting around, and with the nine-speed tuned for short shifts, surprisingly responsive. … There are definite, useful changes in operation when the control program is switched from eco to sport." -- Autoweek (2016)

Handling and Braking

The GLC comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available. The sharp steering contributes to the GLC’s maneuverability, and this Mercedes is composed when cornering. The ride is cushioned over almost any road surface. The standard suspension includes shock absorbers that can individually adjust to road conditions, and Mercedes' adaptive air suspension (titled Air Body Control) takes comfort a notch further and is paired with the driving modes to adjust between a softer or firmer ride.

  • "From behind the wheel, the new 2018 Mercedes GLC 300 manages to feel substantial, but also small and maneuverable. The steering is light and quick, and acceleration is strong and steady, if not swift." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Whether navigating congested cities or logging serious road-trip miles, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 keeps its occupants well insulated from the noise and harshness of the outside world. The ride quality is impressively smooth and composed over rough surfaces. The 20-inch wheels transmit some unwanted jolts into the cabin, so for the best ride quality stick with the standard setup. … The selectable drive modes alter the GLC's personality from leisurely to sporty by changing the throttle response and transmission shift points. The optional air suspension takes it a step further by softening the ride for luxurious comfort or stiffening it for athletic handling. This range of adjustability gives the GLC a broad appeal for a variety of drivers." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "The steering is quick and responsive. There's play on-center, but it returns more feeling than we expect during evasive maneuvers. The ride is comfortable, exactly what you would expect in a crossover. It smooths most of the bumps and ruts, and there's more than enough ground clearance for daily use. Our most extreme endeavor was jumping a curb to pull a turnaround on a dead-end road." -- Autoblog (2016)

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