We expect a lot from small crossover SUVs. This class, one of the commanding forces in the automotive industry, is chock full of vehicles that offer an elevated view, plenty of passenger room, and superior cargo capacity to their sedan and hatchback counterparts. In the luxury category, expectations are even higher because crossovers also have to be exceptionally smooth, quiet and powerful. Yet even measured against these standards, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class manages to stand out. It's that good.
Much of the GLC's superiority comes from its expertly crafted cabin. Every detail, from the metal speaker covers to the leatherette-trimmed dash and open-pore wood trim, seems to have been obsessed over. The interior feels justifiably more expensive than even those of most other luxury crossovers.
The attention to detail carries over when you move from the standard GLC 300 to one of the high-performance AMG models. Not only do you get throaty V6 and V8 engines that rocket the GLC away from a stoplight, you also get upgrades such as a sport-tuned air suspension, bigger brakes, and summer tires to make the most of the extra power. And we haven't even touched on the GLC's roomy cabin, which will fit four tall adults with ease. Pound for pound, this is one of the best small luxury crossovers on the market.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is a small luxury crossover SUV with seating for five. It's offered in four trim levels. Most buyers will select the four-cylinder GLC 300 since it's the most affordable and can be ordered with a wide range of luxury and safety enhancements. There's also the GLC 350e plug-in hybrid (late availability) that pairs the four-cylinder with an electric motor. Performance enthusiasts will enjoy the AMG GLC 43's turbocharged V6, while the AMG GLC 63 (also late availability) turns up the wick even more with a turbocharged V8.
Note that though the GLC 300 comes with standard rear-wheel drive and offers all-wheel drive (called 4Matic) as an option, the rest of the lineup comes with all-wheel drive. The GLC 350e uses a seven-speed automatic transmission, and the other models use a nine-speed auto.
The base GLC 300 comes equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (241 horsepower, 273 pound-feet of torque), 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension damping (not driver selectable), a power liftgate, a rearview camera, power-folding mirrors (with auto-dimming on the driver side) and automatic wipers. Inside, you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power-adjustable steering wheel, adjustable drive settings, a power-adjustable driver seat with memory functions, 40/20/40-split power-folding rear seats, simulated leather upholstery (MB-Tex) and keyless ignition.
Tech features include a 7-inch infotainment display, Mbrace Connect (includes smartphone app integration), and an eight-speaker sound system with HD radio and two USB ports.
Select the GLC 350e plug-in hybrid and an electric motor and battery pack will be paired to the four-cylinder for a combined 315 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. Its EV-only range and standard equipment have not been made public, but the features and options should be similar to what's offered in the GLC 300.
The AMG GLC 43 is quite different from the above two trims. In addition to a potent turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (362 hp, 384 lb-ft), the GLC 43 is further equipped with 20-inch wheels, a sport-tuned air suspension, a sport steering wheel, the contents of the GLC 300's Premium package (blind-spot monitoring, keyless ignition and entry, satellite radio and a 115-volt power outlet), simulated-suede seat inserts and heated front seats.
The most exciting trim is the AMG GLC 63. Besides its turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 (469 hp, 479 lb-ft), you also get upgraded brakes, LED headlights, a mechanical limited-slip differential, variable torque distribution for the all-wheel drive system, and a 14-speaker premium Burmester surround-sound system.
Some features on the upper trims can be ordered on lower trims, though most extras are grouped into packages that are available across the GLC lineup. Safety-minded buyers might consider the Driver Assistance package, which adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and mitigation, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision warning and mitigation (with automatic braking). It also adds the contents of the Premium package to the GLC 300.
There's also the Advanced Parking Assist package. It includes a top-down parking camera system, front and rear parking sensors, an automated parking system and a hands-free liftgate. For the ultimate night cruiser, check out the Advanced Lighting package, which adds adaptive LED headlights, automatic high-beam control, interior ambient lighting and illuminated door sills.
For the techies out there, a Multimedia package is offered, with a navigation system, touchpad controller and an 8.4-inch central display screen. There's also an option that bundles Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but note that it's incompatible with the Multimedia or Driver Assistance package.
Some of the features in the above packages can be ordered as stand-alone options. There are a number of separate items that buyers might also want to add. Styling upgrades include 21-inch wheels, the Night package (glossy black exterior elements) and the AMG Line (GLC 300 only, adds interior and exterior appearance modifications, a flat-bottom steering wheel and the GLC 43's upgraded brakes).
Luxury enhancements are also available, such as a cabin fragrance and air purification system, a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, rear side-window shades, various trim accents and multiple premium leather upholsteries (paired with adjustable passenger thigh support and memory settings). A performance exhaust system is available exclusively for AMG models.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 9-speed automatic | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current GLC-Class has received some revisions, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which became available just this year. Our findings remain applicable to this year's GLC-Class, however.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.