German automaker’s new SUV is shedding its conservative skin

Mercedes-Benz has its hands full with its SUVs. Not only is it working on models like the GLE and GLS, but it’s also prepping for the arrival of the GLB-Class compact crossover. But before any of these models arrive, the GLC-Class is going to take its turn in the spotlight. Recently, new prototypes of the GLC have been spotted doing the test rounds, and the latest batch of photos show the SUV with barely any camouflage in it.

Exterior

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
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The facelifted Mercedes GLC-Class features a few design changes here and there, but it’s still recognizable as the GLC-Class.

Well, hello there, Mercedes GLC-Class. The German automaker made little to no attempts in concealing the face-lifted look of the SUV. That means it’s nearing its final production form, which suggests that a debut is imminent.

It is pretty clear that the biggest changes in the facelifted GLC can be seen in the front and rear sections of the SUV. The overall shape of the model remains largely the same, primarily because it’s only a facelift and any significant changes to its body would be too expensive for a facelift. So, the shape of the GLC remains the same.

What’s different, though, are the designs of the headlights and taillights. Mercedes barely covered the new lighting signatures, particularly in the front where the new daytime running lights come with a different design. Most of the front bumper is hiding in barely-there wraps, so it’s still easy to make out the indentations of the intakes on opposite sides of the bumper. The SUV’s front grille also looks to be in for some slight changes. At this point, it’s clear that while the facelifted GLC will pack a number of fresh design details, the SUV, by and large, will retain its current-generation design.

It’s the same story in the rear section where the taillights get updated graphics and the rear bumper gets a slight makeover. Even the blacked-out exhaust tips carry a slightly modified look compared to the ones on the current model.

Overall, the facelifted Mercedes GLC-Class features a few design changes here and there, but it’s still recognizable as the GLC-Class.

Interior

2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interior
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The SUV’s interior will come with some changes to reflect what Mercedes did on the facelifted C-Class

We don’t get to see the interior of the prototype GLC-Class, but it’s likely that the SUV’s interior will come with some changes to reflect what Mercedes did on the facelifted C-Class. That could include a number of different things, but our best guess includes the adoption of a more horizontal layout on the facelifted GLC. The stand-up display in the middle dashboard should come in two forms — a standard 7.0-inch unit and an optional 10.25-inch display. The GLC should also come with an option for a fully digital instrument display with multiple display modes.

As far as materials go, there’s a wide selection of trim options to choose from. Options on the C-Class include Natural Grain Walnut Wood and Natural Grain Grey Oak, two touches that we could also see on the GLC. Even the upholstery color options — Gray, Black, and Saddle Brown — should be available on the facelifted SUV.

Don’t expect too many changes to come in the interior of the GLC-Class. Fortunately, there are already enough new options available to make the facelifted SUV’s interior stand out compared to its predecessor.

Drivetrain

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
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Expect the facelifted GLC-Class to retain most of the engine options that were already available on the previous version

Speaking of its predecessor, expect the facelifted GLC-Class to retain most of the engine options that were already available on the previous version. That said, a number of new and updated engines should also be in the cards.

A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine sits at the heart of it all. The previous model generated an output of 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Popular convention dictates that a slight bump in power is expected, possibly to 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, the exact output the facelifted C-Class has at its disposal.

If form follows, the new GLC-Class should also benefit from this uptick in power, to go with all the other engine options that Mercedes will make available, including a plug-in hybrid version that will continue using the GLC 350e designation.

Prices

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
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The current Mercedes GLC-Class carries a starting price of around $40,000 for the GLC300 trim. That price goes up to $49,990 for the GLC 350e, $56,250 for the AMG GLC 43, and $69,900 for the range-topping AMG GLC 63.

Needless to say, a spike in price is all but certain for all versions of the GLC-Class. Mercedes hasn’t indicated how much the price spike is going to be, but expect the base model to cost a little more now, possibly around $42,000 to $44,000. All other trims should follow suit, including the AMG GLC 63, which is expected to now cost in excess of $70,000.

Competition

BMW X3

2018 BMW X3 High Resolution Exterior
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Without question, the BMW X3 sits as the chief rival to the Mercedes GLC-Class. To a lot of people, the X3 remains the standard-bearer in this segment, a status it earned for not only emphasizing versatility, efficiency, luxury, and BMW driving dynamics. More importantly, the X3 has sold so well that it has accounted for 1.5 million registrations from its first two generations alone.
The new X3 arrived last year, bringing with it a striking new look, a redesigned interior, and enough engine options — there are three — to give prospective customers a chance to choose power outputs ranging from 184 horsepower to 360 horsepower.

The X3 is the embodiment of what a premium compact SUV should be. That distinction has always given Mercedes pause, in part because it’s true. It’s that same mindset that BMW has used to catapult the X3 into the top spot among models in its class. How long it lasts - that is the big question. For what that’s worth, Mercedes will have a lot to say about it once the facelifted GLC-Class comes out.

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW X3.

Audi Q5

2017 Audi Q5 High Resolution Exterior
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The Audi Q5 is its own solid option, in large part because Audi has done a great job in keeping its SUV up-to-date with new tech offerings to go with a plethora of engine options that are impossible to resist.

Like the X3 and GLC, the Q5 benefits from this engine variety, giving customers the room to choose different output levels, ranging from 230 horsepower to north of 300 horsepower. It may not have the same level of esteem as the X3 and the GLC-Class, but it’s making its own waves in the segment, something that both BMW and Mercedes have come to know and understand.

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi Q5.

Conclusion

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
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The current-generation Mercedes GLC-Class has been around for a few years now, so it’s no surprise that we’re now seeing a prototype of the facelifted model in the streets. The good news is that judging by the number of covers on the test mule — there’s barely anything left — the facelifted G-Class is close to making its public debut. It’s going to be interesting how the public reacts to the new version, but based on recent history, it shouldn’t have any issues getting customers on its side of the fence.

  • Leave it
    • * How much of a price bump will it get?
    • * Maybe Mercedes could have done more in upgrading its looks
    • * Will always have to deal with the X3 and the Q5

Further reading

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class.

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Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

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