In second generation form, the Mercedes GLC promises to be an even more tempting proposition in the upper mid-sized premium SUV segment. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

Ten Second Review

The GLC brings a bit of Mercedes polish to the premium part of the upper mid-sized SUV segment and this second generation model is a significant step forward from the original. It's a very complete package.


The GLC has been quite a success story for Mercedes. This model line didn't even exist until 2015. Since then, more than 2.6 million of them have been sold and in 2021, the 'X253'-series MK1 version's last full year on sale, over 270,000 GLCs found new owners globally; enough to surpass the C-Class and make this model the brand's overall best seller.

So you can understand the high expectations in Stuttgart for the successor 'X254'-series design, which like its predecessor shares an awful lot with its C-Class showroom stablemate. This time, the GLC is bigger, all the engines are electrified and, like the 'C', there's a completely redesigned cabin that sets fresh segment standards. There's the same MRA steel and aluminium platform as the C-Class. And this GLC will be built in the same factories too - in Germany, China and Finland. Mercedes describes this 'as the most important car in our line-up'. Time to brief you on it.

Driving Experience

This time, there's a completely electrified engine range. As before, the line-up will mainly sell in 2.0-litre petrol and diesel forms, both units now embellished with mild hybrid tech. The GLC 220d diesel has 194bhp; the GLC 200 petrol has 201bhp; and the GLC 300 petrol uses the same engine to put out 254bhp.

Over the last few years, this model line has been increasingly popular in Plug-in Hybrid form. So there's a wider range of PHEV variants this time round. The GLC 300e and GLC 400e models use the 2.0-litre petrol engine and respectively develop either 309bhp or 376bhp. The GLC 300de, uniquely in-segment, uses a diesel mated to Plug-in power, that 2.0-litre unit, which in this form puts out 328bhp. The forthcoming GLC 43 and GLC 63 AMG performance variants will also get 2.0-litre four cylinder powerplants - petrol ones of course. As before, all models across the line-up feature 4MATIC all wheel drive and a 9-speed automatic gearbox.

Design and Build

You'd certainly recognise this as a GLC if you happen to be familiar with this model line. But it's sleeker than before - and 60mm longer, measuring in at 4,718mm. It's inside where existing GLC drivers will notice the biggest changes though. The dash adopts a large central portrait screen slightly canted towards the driver. The digital instrument display is borrowed from the C-Class too, but the GLC gets its own uniquely styled vents. And the seats are hugely improved, with more supportive cushioning materials.

Out back, this MK2 model's 15mm wheelbase increase has been put to good use in the slightly more spacious rear section of the cabin - mainly to improve legroom, not one of the previous model's strong points. The bench slides back and forth too, which aids cargo flexibility. Ah yes, boot space. That's up by 50-litres to a class leading 600-litres.

Market and Model

We can expect a small increase over the pricing applied to the previous generation model, which cost from around £45,000 in standard SUV form. With that previous generation design, there was a big price premium for the alternative Coupe version - around £4,000. Across the range, expect the same 'AMG Line', 'AMG Line Premium' and 'AMG Line Premium Plus' trim levels.

At least the standard equipment is generous, with things like smartphone integration, wireless charging and heated front seats standard across the range. Many GLC customers will want to look at the optional 'DIGITAL LIGHT' headlamps. These project in front of the car onto the road surface when driving at night, with things like guidance lines, symbols and animation, plus the system's intelligent technology highlights pedestrians that you might come across with a spotlight function. If you've extra to spend, you might also want to look at the 'Parking Package' with its 360-degree camera. If you specify that, the cabin screen offers a 'transparent bonnet' view when you're driving off road, which shows a virtual view under the front of the vehicle, including the front wheels and the steering position.

Cost of Ownership

Mercedes couldn't afford to return anything but a stellar set of efficiency figures with this MK2 model - and that's what we've got from the fully electrified engine range. Most customers will be choosing either the mild hybrid diesel GLC 220d, which returns up to 45.2mpg on the combined cycle: or the mild hybrid petrol GLC 200, which returns up to 32.2mpg on the combined cycle, as does the pokier petrol GLC 300.

If you want to do better, you'll need one of the Plug-in Hybrids. The two petrol PHEV variants, the GLC 300e and the GLC 400e, both are rated at up to 392mpg. The diesel Plug-in variant, the GLC 300de, is rated at up to 470mpg. There will also be four-cylinder petrol Plug-in powertrains for the C 43 and C 63 high performance AMG models.

What else? Well you get a comprehensive three year warranty that has no mileage restriction. And this package is built upon by Mercedes' Mobilo scheme which delivers breakdown cover for up to thirty years, as long as you continue to have your car serviced at a Mercedes main dealer. And it's worth knowing that your maintenance outlay can be kept a little in check by going for the optional Service Care package that takes care of routine maintenance, spreading the cost of regular servicing.


Of course, this car's two closest arch-rivals, the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5, both have strong followings. And beyond those cars, there are trendier-looking options - a Jaguar F-PACE, a Volvo XC60 or an Alfa Romeo Stelvio for instance. Others may want the seven-seat capacity of a comparable Land Rover Discovery Sport. As an all-rounder though, combining many of the qualities you'll find in all of those cars, the GLC remains a tempting package. A segment benchmark? You'd have to say so.


CAR: Mercedes-Benz GLC

PRICES: £50,000-£80,000 {est}



CO2 EMISSIONS: 125-165g/km {est}

PERFORMANCE: {220d} 0-62mph 7.8s / Max Speed 148mph {est}

FUEL CONSUMPTION: 45.2mpg {220d}

BOOT CAPACITY [litres]: 600 {SUV}