The Mercedes GLC 300 de is a diesel plug-in hybrid that brings Three-Pointed Star quality to the growing segment for premium-badged upper mid-sized luxury SUVs. The Mercedes-Benz GLC premium compact SUV was introduced in 2015. In 2019, the SUV was given a facelift for the 2020 model year. The GLC SUV includes two plug-in hybrid options, a petrol/electric and a diesel/ electric option. The GLC 300de we drove mates a 2.0-litre diesel unit with a 90kW electric motor that when fully charged is able to achieve up to 43.5km of WLTP-rated all-electric driving at speeds of up to 130km/h. If overall efficiency isn’t a priority, the GLC 300de can also be quite powerful, thanks to a total output of 306hp, enough to dispatch from 0 to 100km/h in 6.2s en route to 230km/h. There’s a substantial 400Nm of torque on offer and our test vehicle came with 4MATIC 4WD and the powertrain works through a 9-speed auto gearbox which works with the usual ‘Dynamic Select’ ‘Eco’, ‘Comfort’ and ‘Sport’ driving modes that alter drive response, steering feel and ESP settings.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC range starts off with the 194hp 2.0-litre turbodiesel rear-wheel-drive GLC 220 d model, which has a starting price of €54,425. That model comes with a standard interior and exterior, according to Mercedes. You can upgrade to a model with an Exclusive interior for €56,449, or one with an Exclusive interior and ‘Off Road’ exterior for €59,554.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloys, an electric tailgate, LED headlamps, a three-spoke sports steering wheel, synthetic leather seats called Artico upholstery, analogue instruments with a 5.5-inch colour digital display between them, keyless start, rain-sensing wipers, live traffic information for the navigation, a reversing camera and the smallest MBUX screen in the centre of the dash, controlled by a trackpad between the front seats.
Upgrading to the Exclusive interior gets you heated front seats, improved cabin trim, ambient cabin lighting and velour floor mats. The Off Road exterior pack adds cutaway bumpers which offer better approach angles when driving over rough terrain plus a lower protection panel finished in silver, heat-insulated glass and slightly raised-up suspension
The very popular AMG Line version starts at €60,763, which includes 19-inch wheels, visible exhaust pipes rather than under bumper on standard models, an AMG-style grille and exterior body kit, cross-drilled brake discs with upgraded calipers, and sports suspension and steering. The interior gets AMG-style contrast stitching, aluminium trim and piano-black lacquer. The GLC 220 d has CO2 emissions varying from 151g/km for basic models, up to 170g/km depending on the choice of wheels and optional equipment.
The next step is to upgrade to a 4Matic four-wheel-drive model, which starts from €57,090 in standard form; €59,114 for the Exclusive interior; and €62,299 for the Off Road exterior. The 220 d AMG Line 4Matic starts at €63,508. CO2 emissions run from 156- to 190g/km.
Following this is the more powerful 300 d model, which uses the same core 2.0-litre diesel engine, but has 245hp. That starts at €62,040 for the standard variant, rising to €71,025 for the AMG Line. All versions of the 300 d come with 4Matic four-wheel drive as standard.
There are petrol options too – a 258hp GLC 300 4Matic with standard interior starts at €71,825, rising to €76,820 for the AMG Line version. CO2 emissions are reasonable at 171-190g/km for this engine. If it’s power you desire, you can go for the €84,985, 367hp turbo V6 GLC 43 AMG model, with 4Matic and more than 191g/km of CO2, or the 510hp twin-turbo V8-engined Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S, with its €140,520 price tag.
For plug-in hybrids. These start at €66,420 for the petrol-based GLC 300 e, which has CO2 emissions of 51-80g/km, and 320hp or €66,540 for the diesel 300 de (50g/km) as tested here.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC 300de is an SUV ideal for family buyers with a green element. It would be possible to run this vehicle all the time on electricity if you were only driving short distances and plugging in appropriately. Even if you don’t, you still get a capable luxury vehicle with plenty of room for the kids in the back and the right badge on the bonnet if those sorts of things mean something to you.
Model tested: Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 de
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel with 90 kW electric motor
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic, four wheel drive
Power: 306 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
0-100km/h: 6.2 seconds
Top speed: 230 km/h
Combined Economy: 1.9 litres/100km
CO2 emissions: 49g/km
Motor Tax: €140 per year
Priced from: €54,425
Our test model: €62,843