The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC: A Luxury German CUV That Might Not Break the Bank
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is one of the hottest compact luxury crossovers on the market. The model has helped push the automaker’s sales to new heights in 2018. There are many reasons why the GLC is so popular with buyers, including its wealth of standard features, quality cabin materials, and variety of engines and body styles.
If you’re in the market for a compact luxury crossover and are considering the 2018 Mercedes GLC, here’s everything you need to know.
What’s Under the Hood: Two Tame Engines and Two Beasts
The GLC features four available engines. The entry-level GLC300 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The GLC300’s engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, the only transmission on offer. The GLC350e pairs the 2.0-liter turbo-four with an 85kW electric motor for a total power output of 320 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. It’s worth noting that the transmission on the hybrid GLC is only a seven-speed automatic.
The 2018 Mercedes GLC is also available in AMG-spec performance trims. The GLC43 packs a twin-turbo V6 rated at 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. That’s plenty of motivation for an SUV of this size, but those with a serious need for speed will want to consider the range-topping GLC63 with its twin-turbo V8 good for 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque.
The GLC is also available in a sleek “coupe” body style. It’s this style that features the model’s most-powerful engine. The AMG GLC63 S has a tuned version of the standard GLC63’s twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 under its hood. This engine produces 503 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Apart from the rear-wheel-drive GLC300, which offers all-wheel drive as an option, all GLCs come standard with AWD.
Despite what the wide range of engine options might suggest, there really is no “bad” power plant to pick here. The entry-level 2.0-liter turbo-four offers decent power and solid fuel economy for its class: 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined (city/highway). Somewhat surprisingly, the GLC350e is kind of thirsty. The plug-in hybrid averages just 25 mpg combined. As you might expect, the AMG models trade fuel efficiency for power. The GLC43 is rated at 18/24/20 mpg (city, highway, combined) and the GLC63 checks in at 16/22/18 mpg. The range-topping GLC63 S is rated at 15/22/18 mpg.
While there may seem like too many engine options to pick from, there are only two ways we recommend going here. If you don’t care all that much about winning drag races, the GLC300 and its turbocharged four-cylinder engine will provide all the power you need. The GLC43 is a solid choice for those who want to go fast on a (relative) budget. It’s 0-60 mph time is a second slower (4.8 seconds vs. 3.8 seconds) than the V8-powered GLC63, but it’s also $13,000 cheaper.
What’s Inside: A Luxurious Interior Filled with Standard Features
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC received high marks from reviewers for its interior quality and standard features. In its review, Car and Driver praised the cabin’s “top-notch materials” and “expensive-looking details.”
The 2018 GLC-Class comes standard with synthetic leather upholstery, a 14-way power adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, brown Ash wood trim and a seven-inch infotainment screen that’s controlled via touchpad. Standard safety technology includes forward collision alert, rain-sensing wipers, crosswind assist, trailer stability assist, a driver drowsiness-monitoring system, and collision preparation, which rolls up the windows and tightens the seatbelts when a crash is imminent.
When it comes to available features, you name it and the 2018 GLC probably offers it. There’s Nappa leather seating, heated and ventilated seats, a larger 8.4-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a cabin fragrance and air purification system, navigation, an air suspension system — the list really goes on and on. Available safety features include active parking assist, a 360-degree surround view camera, blind-spot assist, an emergency autonomous braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, speed-limit assist, and radar cruise control with steering assist.
Many compact crossovers are designed to fit five in that they offer five seat belts, not enough real-world space for five people. That’s not the case here. The GLC’s cabin offers enough headroom and legroom to fit five adults, although you will find a tighter squeeze if you opt for the GLC Coupe. The SUV offers 17.6 cubic feet of cargo space standard. That number jumps to 56.5 cubic feet with the second row of seats folded, while the GLC Coupe offers a max of 49.4 cubic feet of cargo space.
The GLC’s cabin quality and standard safety and luxury features are what set it most apart from competitors. Its wealth of standard features and luxury mean buyers don’t have to break the bank to get the true “Mercedes experience.” That said, those with money to spend can turn the GLC-Class into a luxury CUV capable of rivaling the refinement levels found in mid and full-size crossovers.
Pricing and Trim Levels: It Gets Expensive Fast
The entry-level Mercedes GLC300 starts at $40,050. Adding all-wheel drive to the mix costs an extra $2,000. The hybrid 350e checks in at $49,990. If you value style over functionality, the GLC300 Coupe, which comes standard with AWD, can be yours for a starting price of $46,600. These four non-AMG models are all reasonably priced for the segment. However, with options things can get pricey quickly.
If you want advanced safety features like radar cruise control and lane-keep assist, you’ll need to pony up $3,150 for the Premium Driver Assistance package. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support costs $350. Navigation, which ups the infotainment center screen’s size to 8.4 inches, runs an additional $2,200. The good news is that Mercedes offers many options a la carte, which means you don’t have to worry about having to pay extra for an options package when all you really want is a feature or two.
If you want power, be prepared to spend a pretty penny. The AMG GLC43 has a base price of $56,250. The price of admission for the V8-powered GLC63 is a whopping $69,900. Coupe models are pricier, as you’ve guessed. The GLC43 Coupe has an MSRP of $60,400, and the GLC63 starts at $73,150. The top-tier GLC63 S costs an eye-popping $80,750.
Of course, these AMG models don’t just pack a bigger engine. They also feature upgraded suspension systems and more stylish interior and exteriors. All-wheel drive is standard on the AMG GLCs. For most consumers, these models are too pricey to justify the purchase. That said, if you’re willing to spend over $50,000 on a 2018 GLC, your money is better spent on an AMG model as opposed to a GLC300/350e filled with options. As for which model you should choose, our vote goes to the standard GLCs, unless you value form over function to the point you’re willing to pay a few thousand more.
Competition and Final Thoughts
The compact luxury crossover space is incredibly crowded, but the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC only really competes with its fellow Germans, the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. The three are pretty evenly matched.
The Mercedes has a cheaper base price but both BMW and Audi offer more affordable performance models. While beauty is technically in the eye of the beholder, it’s safe to say that the GLC doesn’t stand out any more than the Q5 or X3. In fact, it might be a little more inconspicuous. For what it’s worth, the Mercedes does lead the pack in performance.
While the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC isn’t far and away better than its German rivals, it’s still one of the best buys in the compact luxury crossover space. It’s not outrageously priced, packs a good number of standard features into a luxurious cabin, and offers a variety of engine options. If you’re considering a luxury compact crossover we recommend giving the 2018 GLC a test drive.