Mercedes Benz GLC300 review

GLC Moving luxury upwards, in 4WD

₹ 73,50,000

As the best-selling Mercedes SUV globally, the GLC hit a sweet spot with brand loyalists and new customers. This new generation took its time to come to India but Mercedes ensured it was worth the wait by giving it the requisite luxe factor. Visually, it has grown in length and more importantly, in wheelbase, freeing up more legroom for the backseat occupants. Yes, the ones who would be paying for the GLC in most cases.


An all-new face looks fresh and edgier than before with sleek LED headlights almost fused with the new grille. The 19in wheels look super stylish and go a long way in lending a sporty character to the otherwise uneventful side profile. Changes to the rear are more subtle with 3D effect tail lamps, more chrome bits around the bumper and fake exhaust tips. A clear nod to knowing exactly what its customers want, Mercedes has generously included a running board as standard for more elegant ingress and egress and the sturdy looking unti also flares up towards the rear doors to clearly indicate who’s boss.

This in fact isn’t just a mere facelift with some new headlamps and exhaust tips but an all-new generation of the GLC. So besides the noticeable cosmetic makeover, more space has been opened up, both for the second row and in the boot storage capacity. 70 litres more to be precise! Picking up the cue from the new-gen C-Class, the new cabin boasts an 11.9in driver-focused portrait-style touchscreen running the latest NTG7 version of MBUX an it does have a few tricks up its sleeve. Materials, fit and finish leave no doubt that you’re entering a luxury car bearing the three-pointed star. The dashboard gets a layered effect with Maybach-inspired wood panelling that features fine metal strips for a yacht-like feel. Mercedes probably does the best ambient lighting of any luxury car maker and the 64 colour options continue that tradition, bathing the cabin in virtually any hue of your choice. Adopting a “floating panel” concept, it allows all the touchpoints and screens to be backlit and the window control panels and armrest on the doors look especially classy in this configuration.


The driver also gets a new 12.3in instrument cluster with a choice of four display styles, including a new Off-road mode that shows steering angle, heading, incline angles and music fun stuff. Like on the C-Class, the cabin can be entirely customised with biometric authentication. Just scan your fingerprint and the GLC will set up the seat height, steering position, ORVMs, climate control, ambient light and even the radio station that you prefer most! Hey Mercedes, the built-in voice assistant gets constantly updated too, along with a more drollery, but hey, if you want to use Siri or Google assistant, there is support for wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirroring. Adding to the wireless theme, a wireless charging pad is conveniently located near the cupholders too. USB-C ports all around make up for any wired requirements you may have and if you want the absolute best from the 15-speaker, 710-watt Burmester sound system, I would recommend plugging in your device for better lossless music reproduction. A personal sound profile tuning option lets you configure the system to your tonal choice and could be a better option than toying around with EQ settings all the time. As is expected from Burmester audio systems in most Mercs, this one too is expansive sounding with a real authority and detail to the bass and an airy top-end that simply fills up the cabin with music, letting you forget about all the speakers and electronics.

Another party trick is the new Transparent bonnet mode that uses the image feed from the front camera along with some clever AI stitching to show you a view of what’s exactly under the hood! It works in real-time and up to speeds of 8km/hr, displaying the tyre position too, making it easier to navigate through tough patches. It really makes a stronger case to take the GLC soft-roading, given that its 4Matic 4WD system is standard now. But what is even more impressive is the resolution from the 360-degree cameras on the Merc. It almost looks like a 4K feed and is easily the best camera set-up of any luxury car in the segment. 

Lane Keep assist, Blind Spot assist, Brake assist and Active Park assist are all standard, along with 7 airbags and car-to-X communication in case of emergencies.


Now, if only on a hot summer day, the GLC also provided cooled seats to enjoy Coolio in. Strangely though, Mercedes thought Indians need seat heating more often and that’s all you get on the GLC! No seat cooling, just heating! If it’s any consolation though, front passengers get the seat kinetics function though, which is At the back, the seat angle is a bit upright and the seat back and cushioning itself is too firm for my liking, but the under-thigh support has improved and so has the knee room. A nice touch is the two-step deployment of the cupholders from the centre armrest where the first step only opens up a little slot to hold your smartphone in place. Smart indeed. 

A powered tailgate makes life easy and an electric seat fold-down feature makes it even easier to move houses. Or LV luggage. But that’s not it. The front seats also move ahead ever so slightly to avoid impeding the second row’s complete fold-down, again a thoughtful and cool little touch that is fun to watch and easy to appreciate.


Behind the wheel of the GLC300, the first few meters of driving elicit a “wow”. The creamy delivery of the 4-cylinder turbo-petrol engine is aided by a 48V mild-hybrid system that practically makes turbo lag imperceptible. It also adds a potent 200Nm and 23hp to the already robust 400Nm and 258hp rating of the ICE engine for quick bursts of overtaking energy. Mercedes’ 9-speed transmission is buttery smooth and perfectly mated to this engine too, making for a serene driving experience out on the open, smooth roads of Hampi where we spent the day driving it. It even sounds sporty when you rev it hard and builds up speed rapidly, without ever making a fuss about it. Typically Mercedes. 

But hit a rough patch and the rear seat passengers will be the first ones to feel it as it doesn’t filter out the thuds and sharpness of imperfect surfaces quite as well as the Audi Q5. Up front though, things are much better behind the wheel as the GLC exhibits superb body control and remains flat and composed at any highway speeds, even through undulations. It’s a supremely capable long-distance cruiser and with the 20mm additional ground clearance over the previous gen, also a lot more forgiving on rogue, unmarked speedbreakers on country roads. With great steering that is weighty and precise, this is a driver’s SUV and I just wish Mercedes had shown a bit more commitment by offering larger paddle shifters that actually meant business…and the option of dynamic dampers, which would have given the GLC the best of both worlds.


There’s no doubt that Mercedes will continue its winning streak with this new GLC300. It’s posh, stylish, very well built and equipped and drives like a dream. There’s also a diesel variant (220d) which also gets 4Matic so clearly, the customers have all the choice. It may not have a class leading ride quality or the cushiest of back seats, which seems sort of counterintuitive for a Mercedes, but make no mistake…the perceived luxury, the perfectly proportioned silhouette, the tech and refinement it offers is simply outstanding, making this the obvious upgrade for existing tristar owners or swing those looking at the competition.

Stuff Says

Bound to be another winner for Mercedes and what a joy to drive and live with. The GLC300 is a no-brainer for the exec on the upward climb.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Drivetrain refinement is second to none

  1. Cool tech like Transparent bonnet and Burmester hi-fi

  1. Wireless everything works brilliantly

  1. Only seat heating option, no cooling

  1. Ride has a bite on the back seat

  1. Rear seat should have had a recline function

Engine: 4cyl turbo petrol w/mild hybrid
Power: 258hp/400Nm
Transmission: 9-speed auto w/paddle shifters
Acceleration: 0-100km/hr in 6.2secs
Fuel tank: 62 litres
Tyre size: 235/55 R19