• 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

A well-rounded German SUV that is yet to receive generational upgrades but isn’t falling off the line either.

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While the other German SUVs are getting updated with new-generation models, the current GLC-Class is still a part of its first-generation model introduced back in 2016. Although the changes made to it for the 2020 model year did make it one of the best-looking to date, some would argue that it’s still not as compelling as the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. Apart from the standard feature upgrades, there aren’t many changes. So should you opt for GLC-Class or maybe wait for a new generation?


2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Exterior
- image 1027393

The GLC-Class is a very reliable compact SUV in its class, and it holds the “comfort first” philosophy. Despite the fact that it’s coming up on seven years old, it does not feel all that lacking. The interior doesn’t have a fully digital instrument console fitted as standard, though and the general design is starting to feel dated. Side-by-side, the BMW X3, and the Audi Q5 feel new and polished. That said, the mechanics stay the same as per trim selections. A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine comes fitted as standard but there are two more engines available with the higher trims which are the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 and the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8. Don’t worry, all three engines are fairly capable and won’t be a lazy cow in front of the competition.

This generation of the GLC Class won’t be around much longer as a new-gen model is scheduled for launch in 2023 with all of Mercedes’ new features and more futuristic interior just like we have seen with the new C-Class. Want to take a look at a detailed review? Click here for more. The new 2021 GLC-Class has a few updates with the driver assistance features which now include rear cross-traffic alert, parking assist, and keyless go as standard. There are loads of optional features, and the standard set of features are not lacking either so it is a good thing.

Trims and Features

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Exterior
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Similar to the outgoing model year, the GLC-Class gets four trims: GLC 300, GLC 300 4Matic, AMG GLC 43, and the monstrous AMG GLC 63. The GLC 300 is the standard one out of the four and, from the mechanical point of view, it gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine with rear-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission. The GLC 300 4Matic has the same set of features but the availability of Mercedes’ 4Matic AWD makes it a bit pricier. The AMG GLC 43 and 63 are performance-oriented trims that come with 4Matic AWD and the same nine-speed automatic transmission as standard. What varies, though, is the engine in which the former sports a twin-turbo V-6 and the latter sports a twin-turbo V-8. Here’s a quick breakdown of the trims and specifications.

GLC 300
Price: $43,200.

  • LED headlights, DRLs, and taillights.
  • 18-inch wheels.
  • 8-way power-adjustable driver seat and 6-way power-adjustable passenger seat.
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control.
  • Power-folding side mirrors.
  • Keyless ignition and entry.
  • Remote start via smartphone.
  • Simulated leather upholstery.
  • Heated front seats.
  • 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display with MBUX.
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Standard driver assistance features include:

  • Forward collision mitigation.
  • Blindspot monitoring.
  • Rear cross-traffic alert.
  • Automated parking system.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Exterior
- image 1027380

The GLC has a Driver Assistance package available for all four trims and that includes:

  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Lane-keeping system.
  • Enhanced blindspot monitoring.
  • Lane change assist.
  • Enhanced collision-avoidance braking.

Other standalone features that are available as an option are as follows:

  • 360-degree camera system.
  • Leather upholstery.
  • Panoramic sunroof.
  • Heated rear seats.
  • Heated steering wheel.
  • Heads-up display.
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control.
  • Ventilated front seats.
  • Wireless charging pad.

GLC 300 4Matic
Price: $45,200.
Except for the all-wheel drive, the trim has the exact same features as the GLC 300.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Exterior
- image 1027308

Price: $59,900.

  • 385 hp, 384 lb-ft.
  • 20-alloy wheels.
  • Upgraded interior trim.
  • Customizable ambient lighting.
  • Sport-tuned air suspension.

Price: $73,900.

  • 469 hp, 479 lb-ft.
  • 4Matic+.
  • Enhanced exhaust system.
  • Navigation system with augmented reality video directions.
  • 13-speaker Burmester premium audio system.
  • 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster.

Exterior: Post-facelift looks are quite promising

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Exterior
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The 2020 facelift brought the updated front fascia with a much wider grille and modern-looking LED headlamps. The bumper is all-new too, making the GLC look one of the best among the competition. While the side profile and rear changed little, the taillights got a bit sleeker with the chrome-surrounded twin exhaust pipes. The 2021 GLC comes with 18-inch wheels as standard and can be equipped with up to 20-inch if you go for one of the AMG models only. The AMG trims get the best exterior treatments, which is expected considering the price tag. The wider Panamericana grille at the front along with bigger brake cooling vents, rear sports quad-exhaust pipes, and a rear diffuser make the trims truly appealing. To sum it up, the 2021 model year has had no changes since the facelift but, its new sleeker aesthetics make it look bold and you wouldn’t even notice its age. A few of the exterior features include:

  • LED headlights, DRLs, and taillights.
  • 18-inch alloys.
  • 20-inch alloys. (AMG trims only)
  • Wider Panamericana grille. (AMG trims only)
  • Twin-exhaust tailpipes.
  • Quad-exhaust tailpipes. (AMG trims only)
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Exterior
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The dimensions of the 2021 GLC are somewhat similar to other German SUVs like the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and the Porsche Macan. Compared to the Lexus NX, the GLC is slightly bigger. The GLC has a total length of 183.3 inches and a 113.1-inch wheelbase is what it sits on. It has a slightly shorter height than the X3 at 64.7 inches and is 74.8 inches wide. A 5.0-inch of ground clearance ensures that the GLC is not the one you would prefer for off-roading. The curb starts at 3,889 pounds with the base trim and it goes all the way to 4,546 pounds with the AMG 63.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Exterior Dimensions
Model 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
Curb Weight  3,889-4,546 pounds
Length 183.3 inches
Width  74.8 inches
Height 64.7 inches
Ground Clearance  5.0 inches
Wheelbase  113.1 inches

Interior: This is where the GLC shows its age but is no less opulent

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Interior
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With the 2020 facelift, Mercedes has improved the GLC’s cabin to some extent and has added modern touches to it. The dashboard gets a refreshed look along with a high-quality fit and finish, just like any other Mercedes. But there are a few things that could’ve been better. Things like the 12.3-inch driver information display, ambient lighting, and wireless charging pad are not fitted as standard. You have to purchase them separately as standalone features or else you have to opt for the top-tier trims. Side-by-side, both the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 have a big fully digital instrument console along with a few features that are available as an option with the GLC. Keeping the missing things aside, there are plenty of standard features inside the cabin like heated and power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, leather steering wheel, and faux-leather upholstery. The AMG trims have an overall better cabin with some sportier touches like the flat-bottomed steering wheel, blacked-out dashboard, and a fully digital instrument console. The trims even get wooden inserts on the center console and an updated Burmester audio unit to enhance the experience.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Interior
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In terms of seating comfort, the GLC is on par and sometimes even better than the competition. As standard, the leatherette seats are very comfy in the front and rear with ample headroom. The cabin can easily fit four people and up to five if you really want to give up back-seat comfort. The legroom available at the rear is 37.3 inches which is decent for a compact SUV and won’t be troublesome for the average American. The BMW X3, Audi Q5, and the Lexus NX offer better headroom than the GLC. The Lexus stands out in terms of front row legroom with a big difference, but when it comes to the rear row, the Q5 and GLC take a slight lead over the remaining two. If you are worried about the cargo capacity, well in that case neither the GLC nor the NX is good. The latter is even worse if compared to the other SUVs. The X3 and Q5 are the best in terms of cargo capacity offering up to a whopping 28.7 cubic feet. A few of the interior features that truly stand out with the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class are as follows:

  • Tri-zone automatic climate control.
  • Leather upholstery.
  • Multi-level power-adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation options.
  • Rear seat heating options.
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with heating options.
  • Wood, leather, and aluminum trims on the interior.
  • Panoramic sunroof.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Interior Dimensions
Model 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
Seating Capacity 5
Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches) 37.8/57.3/40.8
Second Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches) 38.5/56.5/37.3
Cargo Capacity  19.4 cu. ft.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Interior
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An updated Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) makes its way to the GLC-Class with the 10.25-inch touchscreen unit. While the interface is quite straightforward, the screen positioning can make the driver feel distracted while driving. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay can make things better and they can be wirelessly connected. Other available features include a 13-speaker Burmester audio unit, satellite radio, ambient lighting control, navigation system with AR, and a high-output power socket. A few of the key features are as follows:

  • 10.25-inch touchscreen with MBUX.
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
  • Ambient lighting control.
  • 13-speaker Burmester audio system.
  • SiriusXM.
  • Two USB ports.
  • 115V power outlet.
  • Navigation system with augmented reality.

Performance and handling: A perfect family hauler in the fast lane

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Drivetrain
- image 1027553
The GLC-Class is offered in three engine options. The standard one is the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four along with the other engines including a turbo V-6 and a V-8.

The GLC-Class is offered with three different engines, and the base engine is the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged one that is capable of putting out 255 horses and 273 pound-feet at a mere 1,800 RPM. The GLC 300 is equipped with RWD as standard. Throughout the trims, the nine-speed shiftable automatic transmission remains constant. The AMG GLC 43 sports a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine under the hood. Bury the throttle, and it will put down all of its 385 horsepower and 384 pound-feet through all-four wheels. The last of the bunch is the big-block twin-turbo V-8 engine available with the AMG GLC 63. This engine has a capacity of 4.0-liters and can put out 469 horses and 479 pound-feet under 2,000 RPM.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Drivetrain
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Now that we have completed talking about how much raw performance each engine produces, let’s focus on their real-life behaviors. The base 2.0-liter engine is the smallest among the bunch and is not at all sluggish and with Car And Driver tests, the GLC 300 with its AWD does 0-60 in 5.4 seconds and takes up to 14.2 seconds for a quarter-mile run. If you compare the engine and performance of the X3, the latter not only has slightly less power but also is about a second slower in the 0-60 MPH and about 0.7 seconds slower in the standing quarter-mile timings. The Q5 on the other hand has better raw engine power but is on par with the GLC 300 4Matic in terms of accelerations. The twin-turbo V-6 and V-8 engines are considerably more powerful in real-world performance too. According to Car And Driver, the AMG GLC 43 does a knot to 60 in just 4.7 seconds. If this is not enough for you, the AMG GLC 63 does the same in 3.8 seconds.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Drivetrain
- image 1027533

Being a comfort and luxury focused compact SUV, the base GLC offers a decent handling experience but the balance was not maintained like that of the Bimmer or the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Still, the GLC is not lackluster and does offer a great driving experience. The steering feedback could have been better but this is where its bigger brothers step in. The GLC 300 4Matic improves driveability in challenging conditions as it has a center differential system. The AMG trims are the best in terms of handling as they both sport air suspension, meaning that the suspension travel will rely automatically on the driving conditions while the driver will taste the fruitful drive. The top-tier GLC 63 gets a torque-vectoring AWD which makes the drive more sophisticated and even safe if you drive it in extreme weather conditions. But then, if you are not a driving enthusiast, all these functions will barely come in handy. The GLC-Class does brake quite well and that applies to even the base GLC 300. Car And Driver claim that the GLC 300 takes about 172 feet to stop from 70 MPH which is not bad at all. The GLC 63, on the other hand, with upgraded brakes, does the same at 159 feet. So, the gap isn’t much but the standard brakes feel a bit stressed after undergoing high-speed braking.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Performance Stats
Model 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300/ GLC 300 4Matic 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63
Engine Type 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 3.0-liter Bi-turbo V-6 4.0-liter Bi-turbo V-8
Transmission 9-speed shiftable automatic 9-speed shiftable automatic 9-speed shiftable automatic
Power  255 hp @ 5,800 RPM 385 hp @ 6,100 RPM 469 hp @ 5,500 RPM
Torque  273 lb-ft @ 1,800 RPM 384 lb-ft @ 2,500 RPM 479 lb-ft @ 1,750 RPM
0-60 (MPH)  5.4 seconds 4.7 seconds 3.8 seconds
Quarter-mile 14.2 seconds 12.9 seconds 12.0 seconds
Top Speed 131 MPH 157 MPH 157 MPH
Front Brake Rotor Size (inches) 13.5  14.2 15.4
Rear Brake Rotor Size (inches) 12.6  12.6 14.2
70-0 (feet) 172 - 159

Fuel Economy

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Exterior
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While most of its rivals have hybrid powertrains, the GLC-Class is based on gas-only engines that might make it look a bit inferior but they are good for starters. The GLC 300 acquires an EPA rating of 22/29/25 for city/highway/combined and the 4Matic variant gets a mile less in both the city and highway. The standard GLC can deliver up to 500+ miles per full tank and that is because of its 17.4-gallon fuel tank capacity. The AMG trims get lower mileage figures and that is quite obvious because of their higher engine power. The GLC 43 gets about 18/24/20 for the city/highway/combined while the GLC 63 takes it down about 2-3 miles in both city and highway. There’s a detailed table for your reference just below.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Fuel Economy
Model 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300/ GLC 300 4Matic 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63
MPG (City) 22/21 18 15
MPG (Highway) 29/28 24 22
MPG (Combined) 25/23 20 17
Tank Capacity (Gallons) 17.4 17.4 17.4
Range (City, Highway, Combined) 382.8/504.6/435.0 365.4/487.2/400.2 (4Matic) 313.2/417.6/348.0 261.0/382.8/295.8

How safe is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class?

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Exterior
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If you are someone who cares a lot about car safety ratings, the GLC-Class will not disappoint you. Both the NHTSA and IIHS rates the SUV with maxed-out 5-star and “2021 Top Safety Pick”. An updated safety suite makes its way to the 2021 model year, which includes an automated parking system, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision mitigation, and blindspot monitoring. There is a Driver Assistance package which includes features like:

  • Enhanced collision avoidance.
  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Lane-keeping system.
  • Enhanced blindspot monitoring.
  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Lane-change assist.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Exterior
- image 1027393

Other safety features that come bundled with the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class are as follows:

  • Dusk-sensing headlamps.
  • Pre-collision safety system.
  • Dual front side-mounted airbags.
  • Post-collision safety system.
  • Remote anti-theft alarm system.
  • Tire pressure monitoring.
  • Stability control.
  • 4-wheel ABS.
  • Front and rear ventilated brakes.
  • Passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation.

Should you buy the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class right away?

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Exterior
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Mercedes did not give a damn about making the GLC a sporty SUV and it is rather a perfect family SUV. The luxury and comfort have blended quite well with it and while it is not having the latest and greatest Mercedes tech, the consumer numbers see an increase. There is the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, both having better practicality and up-to-date cabin tech but the Merc has a slightly better cabin quality. The performance right out of the box, be it the base or the top-tier AMG line, are great. The GLC-Class is a good car altogether but it is not the best at the moment, considering it is in its first generation. If you don’t want to wait for the new generation, you can opt for used options which can save you a few thousand dollars.

Amreetam Basu
Amreetam Basu
Automobile Journalist
After working predominantly as a freelancer at CarHP/CarIndigo, Amreetam joined the TopSpeed team as a journalist in September 2021. In a world where SUVs are booming, he favors sedans and adores BMWs and Mercedes, with a special spot for Lexus and Genesis. He is currently pursuing Master of Arts in History and is 23 years old.  Read full bio
About the author

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